Thursday, February 28, 2013

Women in the Arts: Su Lute

What is the name of your business and what do you tell other people you do? (such as author, teacher, designer)
When I meet new people I always tell them I'm an author...and a nurse. I don't always wait until they ask, lol.

When did you know it was time to stop treating your art as a hobby and start it as a career?
I never considered writing a hobby. I was always very serious about it, even in high school writing stories for English class. And I made conscious decisions about whether or not writing could fit into my life, especially when I had a young family, was working the night shift at a hospital and bringing home a steady paycheck. Once the kids were older and I had a long bus commute into Portland I decided to see if I could finish a full length novel. I did and have not looked back.

What are some of the aspects of your job that people don’t see? For example, most people don’t understand how much marketing is done by the authors themselves instead of a publisher, and most audience members don’t see how costumes and props are designed/chosen.
I don't really look at writing as a job. For me, most of the time it's one of those fun things I do, like designing the book covers, telling a story that moves the reader to look at their life differently, setting that story free and hoping it flies high. When you are an Indie author there is so much that goes into making a finished, salable book, even I was surprised by the amount of work it takes, and the number of hours. I guess that's what I would say readers don't see. Hopefully they enjoy the results of all that work, which for me is a labor of love.

Who inspired/inspires you on those inevitable rough days?
This is going to sound corny, but my mother, who's still with us thank goodness, and now moving back to the place of her heart – Hawaii. Her life and how far she's come is an inspiration. The saying, you've come a long way, baby, what coined just for her.

Su - that truly is a fantastic cover!
Name a few of your current projects. For example, conferences, publicity, design process, what you have for sale.

I always have a long list of “things” to do, but of course my current projects are books in progress. I just released the first Dragonkind novel, Dragon's Thief – with my favorite cover, by-the-way – and have started the second book in the series, Dragon's Keeper. I'm also in the middle of writing the second Falling For A Hero novel, Bear's Full House. In the back of my mind, I'm thinking of starting a series of novellas, not necessarily connected; one of them Daniel and Abigayle's story (from the Dragonkind Chronicles). I'm investigating Scrivener as a writing tool, and organizer for my crazy way of writing a story. And I'm decluttering my life and how I go from day to day. Does that count as a project?

This question is a chance to meander or talk in greater depth if you’d like. Here you can talk about what hobbies you pursue, how you refresh your well of ideas, what you would recommend to other women interested in a career in the arts.
Thanks Linda, so much for having me. All I can add is...we are each of us a work in progress. Pursue yourself, your best nature, love and passion as you would that perfect latte, or dark chocolate, athletic goal, or race for the gold. That perfect moment when everything comes together as it should. When you are in that moment, whether in the arts, business, or just as a human, you will have made it and your life will have been worthwhile. You can find me at all the usual watering holes and at Come visit. I love to chat.

Thank you so much, Su!

Monday, February 25, 2013

A love letter to you.

I'm a big fan of Alexandra Franzen (over here).  She wrote this challenge on her website:

The premise: what if instead of writing a traditional “sales page” about your latest product, service, event, project, workshop or offering … you simply wrote your customer a Love Letter?

And this was what came out. :)

I want to live in a world where women are not shamed for what they read, what they watch, and their sexual choices.

I'm so tired of women's tastes being diminished and belittled.

I want you to have books that highlight women asking for what they want, and then being encouraged and supported by her relationships instead of struggling to be heard.

So I've created a series of sexually explicit, adventurous books filled with strong thoughtful men and powerful women.

Right now, I want to you click on the link to read a sample chapter of each book!

Dracula's Secret
Dracula's Desire
Dracula Unleashed

It all begins NOW.

With all my love,

Linda Mercury

Sunday, February 24, 2013

More Best of....

Captain America - one of my favorite fictional heroes.
To continue celebrating the 4th anniversary of my blog, here is another post from 2009.

Surrounding yourself with heroes.

Books on writing are full of advice - some of it life-changing. Some are, how do I say this nicely?

Utter rubbish.

And sometimes, advice starts as one and turns into the other.

For example, when women try to lose weight, they are told to paste a picture of a slim person on the inside of their cupboard or on their refrigerator. I have always found this to be nasty, belittling, and condescending - yet another way of telling women that they are not beautiful and they will never measure up.

But we all need heroes. That's why we write, that's why we watch movies/TV, that's why we read. Everyone needs someone to show us that what we want is possible and how to get there.

So this week, I found pictures of my creative heroes and I've seeded them around my writing stations.

Obviously, I have a love for mythology and for the band Queen. Freddie, Brian, Roger, and John now live in glorious color on my laptop's wallpaper. Their music, politics, and courage never fail to lift me up when I'm feeling sluggish or stuck.
The magical Jayne Ann Krentz
Emma Holly

Jayne Ann Krentz, a wonderful best-selling author (and former librarian with a background in history!) is another of my heroes. I've met her in person a few times and she is down to earth, intelligent, and has great insights on our craft. If you do not own Dangerous Men and Adventurous Women, you are shorting yourself some great discussion on Romance!

Emma Holly writes beautifully sexy and emotional fiction.

I've got lots. Who inspires you?

Friday, February 22, 2013

Countdown to Dracula's Desires

Allow me to introduce you to my introductory offer - a short horror story called Predator and Prey.

It is currently .$99 through Amazon - right HERE!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Cheap reads!

So perhaps you have been short of funds. Or perhaps you are the cautious sort and would rather not buy a book from a new author without a test drive first.

Either way, you can sample my writing with my short short horror story  - yes, straightforward horror, no sex -
Predator and Prey!

Normal, Illinois was the perfect place for Stuart to live. A college town surrounded by corn fields was the perfect hunting ground. And he has found the perfect victim right next door.

 For a mere .99, you can sample a taste of my writing!

 Buy HERE!

Also, my first book, Dracula's Secret, is currently on sale for $1.99 over at Amazon, right HERE!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Women in the Arts: Maggie Jaimeson

I have known Maggie Jaimeson for many years before our New Year's Resolution blog tour at the beginning of the year, but I really enjoyed getting to know her better. So you bet I was excited when she said she would answer my interview questions!

What do you tell people you do?
I tell them I’m a novelist.  This is something new for me. Though I’ve been writing novels for publication for almost 10 years now, until recently I referred to myself as an Academic (professor, instructional designer, or administrator depending on the time in my career). In October 2012, I decided it was time to “retire” and do what I’ve wanted to do for 30 years—write full time.  I do occasionally take on an educational consulting gig when the write opportunity comes up. But now I consider myself a full time writer.

When did you know it was time to stop treating your art as a hobby and start it as a career?
  Prior to that I had written and sold short stories, the occasional poem or essay, off and on since the late 1970’s.  I did write two novels during that time, but never submitted them or felt they were good enough to submit.  But when I turned 50 I realized that if I was going to become a full-time writer I better get cracking, because who knows how much time I would have left in my life. Seven years later, with six novels completed, I sold my first novel to a small press. 

What are some of the aspects of your job that people don’t see? For example, most people don’t understand how much marketing is done by the authors themselves instead of a publisher, and most audience members don’t see how costumes and props are designed/chosen.
The thing I believe most people don’t see is the amount of editing, re-writing, re-thinking, re-editing that authors do.  Most people seem to think that an author writes a story from beginning to end then goes back over it once or twice and sends it out for publication.  I wish it were that easy.   

Once the first draft of a novel is completed, the writer usually goes through an editing process which may have her editing the entire book five, six, or even fifteen more times before it is published. I wrote a guest post on this titled How Deep Editing Changes Everything.

Name a few of your current projects. For example, conferences, publicity, design process, what you have for sale.
On the writing side, I am branching out to Young Adult fantasy. I have completed 1-1/2 books in a seven book series that I’ll start shopping when the second book is done. I’ll still be continuing my romance series with Sweetwater Canyon book 3, Heartstrings, and book 4, Two Voices, scheduled to publish this year. I’m also considering how to continue my two suspense books. I wrote them with series potential and I’m evaluating when and how I want to pursue that.
This question is a chance to meander or talk in greater depth if you’d like. Here you can talk about what hobbies you pursue, how you refresh your well of ideas, what you would recommend to other women interested in a career in the arts.

I do have three recommendations for women, and men, who are interested in a career in the arts. The first is, only pursue a career in the arts if you can’t do anything else. If you can find another career and still be happy, then don’t choose the arts as a career.  Keep it as a hobby. To pursue a career in the arts requires full commitment. This means it is something you HAVE to do, not just something you want to do. It means that doing anything else would be useless because you would always be thinking of your art and how to get back to it.

The second recommendation relates to the first. It is okay to choose a career other than the arts and then change your mind.  The type of commitment the arts require may be a commitment that you are unable to make when you are young. That was the case for me. Don’t worry, if it calls to you enough, you can still have that career later in life.  Choose art only when you can truly commit.

The final and most important recommendation is:  Believe in Yourself!  It is the hardest thing to do, but the most important. Whether it’s writing, painting, sculpture, dance, or theater, you are judged on the product you produce. For most people that critical judgment is the most difficult part of art because art, in my opinion, requires you to share something of yourself in a most intimate way. When we are judged on our art, we can’t help but take it personally.

To survive a career in the arts you must believe that what you are producing is the best it can possibly be at that moment when it’s released to the world.  This is not to say that what you produce is perfect.  It is also not to suggest that you should never listen to feedback.  But it is belief in yourself and your work—belief that your point-of-view is important—that allows you to accurately filter feedback and reject that which doesn’t fit with your direction. If you don’t believe in yourself and your point-of-view, you will fall into the quagmire of competing views that can only end in defeat.

A career in the arts is not easy. Most often it is not very financially rewarding. However, the intrinsic rewards are limitless. What you learn about yourself, and your relationship to the world beyond yourself, is never-ending. For me, that is the reason to pursue a career in the arts.  I will always be learning, and therefore I am living life to its fullest.

Find  Maggie on the web: Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter

Friday, February 15, 2013

Countdown to Dracula Unleashed!

This bracelet marks you as mad, bad, and dangerous to know!
As promised, every Friday until March 21st, when Dracula Unleashed gets released, I am hosting a give-away or other teaser.

Today's give away is this truly bad-ass vampire bracelet, a $15 value!

Comment here, at my Facebook page, or at my Twitter, and I'll pick a random person!

Dracula's Secret, Blood Wings #1
Dracula's Desires, Blood Wings #2
Dracula Unleashed, Blood Wings #3, to be released March 21, 2013

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Best of...

I'm celebrating four years here at! And as part of the good times, I'm re-posting some of my earlier posts.

Today's post is, "Hands On Research" from April 15, 2009.

By training and preference, I love research through the writer's traditional resources - print, photographs, online ready-reference.

This week, though, I got down and dirty with first hand experience. There are some things a girl just can not learn through other people's words.

Like how to shoot a firearm.

My good friend, a former Marine, graciously took me to a pistol range on Monday. There he patiently explained the handling of the four different pistols I ended up renting and shooting.

I learned what single action and double action meant, what the hammer did, how to hold the weapon, how to aim it, and finally, how to shoot it.

First came a revolver, the .38 Special. Next came two 9mm, a Sig and a Glock. Lastly, .45 Smith and Wesson.
The .38
The 9mm Sig

Whenever I learn something new, the oddest things stick out at me. I didn't expect to be tossed around as much as I was. I'm not small, nor am I weak. But my thumbs and wrist still feel like they've been gnawed on!

The 9mm Glock

Second, I was struck by the difference between the slow, accurate firing of the revolver and the faster, "throw a lot of bullets at it" feeling of the semi-automatics.

This one felt like it ripped my arms off.
Handling something that has the sole purpose of killing something is an interesting mixture of fear and power. It's not unlike getting behind the wheel of a car, but with a less ambiguous reasoning. After all, a car is also transportation.

Will I ever own one? Unlikely.

Will I fire them again? Most likely.

Will I try other firearms, such as rifles? Again, most likely.

This is information I need to make my writing vigorous, strong, and real. Lots of times, writers put in characters who are not affected by their ability to kill, who almost seem to seek it out.

I've already learned this is not truthful. Those who understand the kind of power and responsibility that come with holding life and death in their hands are more likely to never want to use it.