"There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate's loot on Treasure Island." - Walt Disney

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

August Scribbler Box: the Good and the Bad

I just received my fifth box from Scribbler. You can learn about previous boxes, and why I subscribed by clicking the "Scribbler" link in the labels below.

As before, the first thing you see upon opening the box is a writing exercise postcard. Each month provides a new challenge for writers to practice.

The "Curated Writerly Gifts" this month included a box of mint and lavendar loose leaf tea from Royal Treatmint, a small blue hardback binder full of various size sticky notes and a cover with the words Write On, a book light, and a decorative card with text from THE GREAT GATSBY (which I'm currently teaching).

This months new release novel is THE FIRST GIRL CHILD by Amy Harmon - a New York Times Bestselling Author. I mentioned last months book did not come with an autograph plate as the previous books had. That's because it had already been stamped inside as this months is as well.

As usual, there is an inside look at the publishing process for this months author, an exclusive invitation to chat with Adrienne Procaccini, a senior editor for 47North, and the collectible 'Writing Passport' with the author discussing this months theme of STORYTELLING.

This box came with a few bonus items I paid extra to add. I bought some of the earlier passports from before I joined since I was interested in the interviews for that month. I also added a fabric clutch or cover to keep the passports inside.

So, after five months what do I like and dislike about this service:

1) Looking forward to my monthly gift box.
2) Learning about new authors, or books, I didn't know before this service.
3) The invitation to chat with a publishing professional.
4) Some of the extra goodies are cute, or useful.
5) Additional purchases from the store come with free shipping for members.
6) Anything I don't want to use or keep can go to family or students.
7) The two times I've contacted customer service, they've been very prompt and kind in their response.

1) I'm not interested in every book I've paid to receive.
2) I don't particularly care for many of the extras as I don't drink coffee/tea, or wear buttons/stickers.
3) I don't always get something out of the chats with the professionals.
4) When I bought additional material from the store, it didn't ship until the following months box so I had to wait more than a month to receive it.
5) I don't always feel I'm getting my money worth.

I'm breaking even on the why I should, or should not, keep this service past another month. I'd love to hear your thoughts on the matter. 

To learn more about this monthly box service: https://www.goscribbler.com/

This months book description:

From the New York Times bestselling author comes a breathtaking fantasy of a cursed kingdom, warring clans, and unexpected salvation.
Bayr of Saylok, bastard son of a powerful and jealous chieftain, is haunted by the curse once leveled by his dying mother. Bartered, abandoned, and rarely loved, she plagued the land with her words: From this day forward, there will be no daughters in Saylok.
Raised among the Keepers at Temple Hill, Bayr is gifted with inhuman strength. But he’s also blessed with an all-too-human heart that beats with one purpose: to protect Alba, the first girl child born in nearly two decades and the salvation for a country at risk.
Now the fate of Saylok lies with Alba and Bayr, whose bond grows deeper with every whisper of coming chaos. Charged with battling the enemies of their people, both within and without, Bayr is fueled further by the love of a girl who has defied the scourge of Saylok.
What Bayr and Alba don’t know is that they each threaten the king, a greedy man who built his throne on lies, murder, and betrayal. There is only one way to defend their land from the corruption that has overtaken it. By breaking the curse, they could defeat the king…but they could also destroy themselves.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

5 Myths About Published Authors

1. Writers make a lot of money - yes, it's happened for a special few...Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, James Patterson, Nora Roberts... However, the average writer may only make enough for a nice meal or two when they get paid for a single piece.

2. You can only write what you know - If we all only wrote what we knew, then there would be no fiction.

3. You can only write in one genre - hogwash! Many authors have published in various genres. However, you will more than likely discover your strengths, or appeal to readers, may be greater in one genre than others. Never be afraid to try something new. R.L. Stine started out writing comedy!

4. Don't read other writers' work - many believe you'll end up copying them, and lose your own voice. This may happen to some degree for a time, especially when first beginning or fighting the dreaded writers block. However, reading widely is essential to expanding your skills. Studying the craft in a multitude of formats and styles actually aids in honing your skills and finding your TRUE voice.

5. Once you publish, it's easier in the future - it's not unusual for published authors to receive multiple, if not many, rejections between publications. Writing one good piece does not guarantee all future work will be good. Even when you have created a wonderful piece, it's not always easy to find the right publisher for that piece.

My first publication came while I was still in high school. Some manuscripts get published upon first submission - my record for acceptance so far is a matter of minutes after hitting submit. Some pieces receive multiple rejections and/or sit in a drawer for many years before finding a home - my record for this one is 20 YEARS later.

The truth is - nothing is certain. You can't control anything other than your willingness to create. So find your joy, embrace the ride, and learn to be happy regardless of the amount of publication and pay received along the way.

Are there any myths that you want to debunk? Any of them absolutely drive you crazy?

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

IWSG: Writing Surprise

It’s time for another group posting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh. Time to release our fears to the world – or offer encouragement to those who are feeling neurotic. If you’d like to join us, click on the tab above and sign up. We post the first Wednesday of every month. Your words might be the encouragement someone needs. You can also join us on twitter using the hashtag #IWSG, or on the Facebook page.

Now, IWSG hosts have changed up the format in an effort to make it more fun and interactive.Every month, they will announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG Day post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say. 

Don’t forget to visit others that day to see their answers. Want to join, or learn more? Visit our - Sign-up List.

AUGUST QUESTION: Has your writing ever taken you by surprise? For example, a positive and belated response to a submission you'd forgotten about or an ending you never saw coming?

MY ANSWER:  My writing has taken me by surprise several times when I almost felt like someone else (my muse) took over and shared a tale so perfectly that I needed very little revision later. This has only happened a few times and I'm still in awe of those experiences. I think that is why I connected so deeply to Elizabeth Gilbert's BIG MAGIC (see my previous post). She addresses those experiences and how to deal with their lack of frequency. I highly recommend this book!

I've also been surprised by a few of my readers who contacted me to share their own reactions to my writing. To realize you've created something so powerful to not only yourself, but to others as well, is a truly humbling and magnificent experience. It reminds me how connected we all are, even when caught up in the idea of our own life.

How about you? Have you ever been surprised by your own writing, or someones response to it?

Friday, August 2, 2019

Big Magic and Book Clubs

I've fallen so far behind on my TBR pile. Luckily, this read was definitely worth my time. The "Insecure Writers Support Group" Book Club recommended this one months ago, but the Spring was unbearably hectic for me and I just got to it this summer. I highly recommend it to anyone practicing, thinking about, or struggling with their craft.

From the worldwide bestselling author of Eat Pray Love and City of Girls: the path to the vibrant, fulfilling life you’ve dreamed of
Readers of all ages and walks of life have drawn inspiration and empowerment from Elizabeth Gilbert’s books for years. Now this beloved author digs deep into her own generative process to share her wisdom and unique perspective about creativity. With profound empathy and radiant generosity, she offers potent insights into the mysterious nature of inspiration. She asks us to embrace our curiosity and let go of needless suffering. She shows us how to tackle what we most love, and how to face down what we most fear. She discusses the attitudes, approaches, and habits we need in order to live our most creative lives. Balancing between soulful spirituality and cheerful pragmatism, Gilbert encourages us to uncover the “strange jewels” that are hidden within each of us. Whether we are looking to write a book, make art, find new ways to address challenges in our work,  embark on a dream long deferred, or simply infuse our everyday lives with more mindfulness and passion, Big Magic cracks open a world of wonder and joy.

"A must read for anyone hoping to live a creative life... I dare you not to be inspired to be brave, to be free, and to be curious.” —PopSugar

I'm so thankful to the IWSG Book Club for recommending this one. To learn more about them, or to join this amazing and supportive book club, see here.

Are you a fan of Gilbert? Have you read this one? Are you a member of a book club?