Hi. My name is Vivienne Sang and I write under the name of V.M.Sang
When did you start writing?
That’s a difficult question. I remember writing a story when I was quite little. Perhaps about 6 or 7 years old, but don’t remember much else until I wrote a very bad romance in my teens. When I was at school, I always enjoyed creative writing classes and once wrote a story that went on for at least ten pages. What my English teacher thought about having to wade through it is unknown. When studying at teacher training college, I wrote a few poems, only one of which is still in existence. That poem was my first published work, I suppose, as it was published in the University magazine. I begun writing my first novel towards the end of the 90s, but it took a very long time to come to fruition as I was teaching full time. I self-published it, and the second part of the series, but when I found a publisher for another book I’d written, they wanted to republish my first two as well.
What motivates you to write?
All the people that jump into my head begging (no demanding) I tell their stories. The very first time it was a name that came into my head. I figured out her story, but I’ve not yet written it. She’s gone a bit quiet recently, so I’ve not told her tale yet.
What genre do you write in and what made you chose this particular genre?
I write in two genres–Fantasy and Historical fiction. I chose fantasy because I’m a fan of the genre. I wrote a scenario for the Dungeons and Dragons club I ran at the school I was teaching in. Then I thought how it would possibly make a good story. I was inspired by reading (and playing the scenarios) the Dragonlance Saga by Weiss and Hickman. I thought that if they could make their scenario into a book, perhaps I could do the same. But it wasn’t just one book! It morphed into a series. I’m now writing Book 4. Historical sort of chose me. When I was a teenager I went to Derbyshire (in the UK) with a friend and her family. We came upon a ruined house. It had obviouslyt been a grand mansion at one time, and we wondered about it. What was its history and how had it come to be in ruins? This image of the house stayed with me for many decades until I decided to write about it. This, too, has become a number of books, two of which are now published. I decided to trace the family who ultimately built it from a young boy coming to Britain as a slave, with the Romans. The second book follows a young Viking girl; a descendant of the boy from Book 1.
What is your goal in writing? Do you have dreams where your writing should take you?
I don’t have dreams of hitting the NYT best seller list. (Although that would be nice.) Nor do I think about becoming the next big thing. I just want people to enjoy my stories. And to actually know they exist!
Do you ever suffer from writer’s block and if yes, how do you deal with it?
I’m unsure what writer’s block is. I’m part way through one story that I’m stuck on. It seems to be going nowhere, but I don’t consider that to be writer’s block. I’ve put it away for a few months while my subconscious considers it. This, I think, is the best way to deal with it, and if no inspiration comes, then that means that story is a non starter. I’ve not yet run out of ideas for stories, but if I do, I’ll consider it no big deal. I’m retired, and although I enjoy writing, and treat it as if it’s my job, I’m not reliant on my earnings from it. (A good job!)
What advice would you like to give new, hopeful authors?
Stick at it! It takes time to get people to know your book is out there. And most important is to connect with other authors. I’ve made lots of online friends who are extremely helpful. Also, when you are marketing your book, please don’t simply say ‘Buy My Book’ and nothing else. Making contact with people is important. People are more inclined to buy your book if they know a bit about you and like you. I know that’s true of me. I’ve found many excellent books by buying a book because I have had contact with the author and think of them as friends.
Please, tell us about your work.
The first series is called The Wolves of Vimar. It tells how a group of disparate folk who call themselves Wolf help to save the land of Grosmer when an enemy invades. They first have to find a long-lost artifact which is prophecied to be the only thing that can kill the man in charge of the invaders, then they discover who he is and what his plans are. They face dangers and near death, and all are changed by their experiences.
The second is a duo called Elemental Worlds. The Crown Prince of Ponderia is behaving strangely. His best friend, Pettic, discovers the princehas been captured and a doppleganger put in his place. The only way to rescue the prince is to enter the four worlds of Earth, Air, Fire and Water and find a gem in each world. Before he can find the gem, Pettic has a task to perform. And he cannot leave the Elemental World without the gem’s magic.
There are three prequels to The Wolves of Vimar published that tell a bit more about the people in the main series.
The two historical novels are Vengeance of a Slave and Jealousy of a Viking. In each of the books, which are standalone novels, the protagonist has to overcome a problem. As the tiles suggest, the first. the young man. Adelbehrt, has to overcome his desire for vengeance on the Romans, and in the second, the young woman, Helgha, has to overcome her jealousy of her lover’s wife.
Thank you for being my guest. It was such a pleasure to have you here!!
It was a pleasure, AJ. Thank you for having me.
Connect with Vivienne:
V.M. Sang was born and lived her early life in Cheshire in the north west of England. She has always loved books and reading and learned to read before she went to school.
During her teenage years she wrote some poetry, one of which was published in the magazine of the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST). Unfortunately, that is the only one that is still around.
V.M. Sang became a teacher and taught English and Science at her first school. Her main subject was science, though, but she also taught Maths and what was then known as Computer Studies.
She did little writing until starting to teach in Croydon, Greater London. Here she started a Dungeons and Dragons club in the school where she was teaching. She then decided to write her own scenario.
The idea of turning it into a novel formed in her head, but she did little about it until she took early retirement. Then she began to write The Wolves of Vimar Series.
Walking has always been one of V.M. Sang’s favourite pastimes, having gone on walking holidays in her teens. She met her husband walking with the University Hiking Club, and they still enjoy walking on the South Downs. They also bought a kayak and have done quite a lot of kayaking in Brittany along the river Vilaine and the Oust.
Quieter things that she enjoys doing are a variety of crafts, such as card making, tatting, crochet, knitting etc. she also draws and paints.
V.M.Sang is married with two children, a girl and a boy. Her daughter has three children and she loves to spend time with them.
As 2023 gets underway, it’s time again for Writer Beware’s annual look back at all the schemes, scams, pitfalls, and publishing industry craziness we covered in 2022.
A Big Change for Writer Beware
A New Home for the Writer Beware Blog: After many years, Blogger (our previous home) finally got too small for us, and we transitioned to WordPress. How that came about–and the benefits thereof.
Some important publishing industry initiatives kicked off in 2022.
The AALA (Formerly the AAR) Revises Its Canon of Ethics: The Canon of Ethics is the professional standard to which the AALA expects member agents to adhere. In updating it to keep pace with a changing industry, the most significant revision is a detailed set of guidelines for agents who also offer paid editing services, intended both to guide ethical practice and to prevent the kinds of abuse and conflict of interest that gets reported to Writer Beware.
The Copyright Claims Board: A New Option for Copyright Disputes: Established by the US Congress, the Copyright Claims Board allows creators to bring lower-dollar infringement claims without having to hire an attorney or make a court appearance. It’s a great new option for creators, who until now have only had access to the prohibitively expensive process of pursuing infringement claims in federal court.
Issues to watch out for in your next publishing contract.
Keeping Moral Rights: A Wattpad Contest Controversy: Moral rights–the right to have your work published with your name, and the right to have it published exactly as you wrote it–are unfamiliar to most US writers, but they are important in the rest of the world (and most publishing these days is international). Writers are strongly advised not to relinquish them. When Wattpad launched a contest requiring winners to waive their moral rights, an uproar ensued. Wattpad took notice…but change is hard.
Publishing Contracts 101: Beware Internal Contradictions: Your publishing contract shouldn’t include clauses that directly contradict one another, should it? Nevertheless, some contracts do–such as requiring a transfer of copyright in the Grant of Rights clause yet also requiring the publisher to register copyright in the author’s name. It’s a major red flag.
IAPWE is the International Association of Professional Writers and Editors.
The ‘About’ page on their website says:
The IAPWE or International Association of Professional Writers & Editors is an organization dedicated to providing helpful resources to writers and editors and disseminating helpful ideas and resources across the greater professional community in the form of outreach, blogging, networking and thought leadership.
In addition to providing free resources for our members, we are always seeking talented writers and editors to help create engaging, locally relevant, educational and inspirational content to help support our outreach efforts. We believe in paying our writers and editors a competitive wage, unlike many of the “content mills” and comparable low-paying clients and/or companies.
The IAPWE is also dedicated to bringing the most updated, legitimate and vetted writing and editing job opportunities to its members.
Currently, there are many different websites containing both legitimate as well as illegitimate writing and editing job opportunities and we make available, in one place, all of the opportunities that have been determined to be legitimate across over 100 different websites.
In addition to this, the IAPWE provides helpful tools, resources and networking opportunities for professional writers and editors, as well as making all members aware of potential writing job scams.
We are currently seeking members to take on administrative roles to help us identify and verify additional writing and editing job opportunities for our members. If interested, please send an email to email@example.com for more information.
Lately, I have been looking for an opportunity to extend my writing to a ‘more professional way’ by adding articles to my fiction writing, and I saw that IAPWE is looking for professional article/Blog Post/Content writers.
I contacted them, gave them my contact information, and samples of my work, and waited for their approval, which they did, not long after.
It was a short and easy process. After my approval and acceptance as a future professional article/blog post writer, I signed up as a member. The membership gives me access to their courses, writing tools, articles, and posts, and also to their open tasks.
Also, as one of their writers, you’ll get a discount on the membership fees, which is an additional bonus, and with writing for them, you’ll get the membership charges back within a heartbeat.
As their writer, I can choose to write as many or few articles as I like. The open tasks are often giving instructions on how the client wants to have them written, i.e., subject, length (in words), font, pictures, etc. It’s very important to follow these rules, otherwise, the client isn’t going to accept the article/post, no matter how much effort you put into it.
Also, it’s essential for the writer to get clean and traceable research done. Of course, being writers, doesn’t necessarily mean we’re experts on every aspect of life, science, technology, and other things. It just means, we will have to do our ‘homework’.
Each piece of information I provided with the article had the source right below, connected by the respective link. Since the articles mostly are limited in word count, this also gives the reader the opportunity to read more on the subject.
Most articles demand the writer to address the reader directly and encourage a certain ‘sober’ form of including the writer’s own opinion. That needs a little diplomacy, but since this is part of my nature, I think I mastered that quite well.
After I wrote the article, I submitted the task on the freelancer Writer’s platform of IAPWE. They demand one task at the time, which means, don’t write another until the submitted one is accepted. Shortly after that, I was informed that my article was accepted. The entire process is uncomplicated and efficient.
I like the challenge of non-fiction article writing. To me it’s new, and a task that I hadn’t before.
Now, my last provided article (which is for a client, and I, therefore, am unable to provide you with that one.) has been quite technical, and I rather pick another topic here as an example…
The task would be:
Write about art, their forms, and provide the reader with your honest opinion about them. 300 words, do your research, provide sources and at least 3 free pictures (in a certain size).
(Or Painting, Sculpture, Architecture, Poetry, Music Literature and Dance) It depends on where you’re looking for the 7 forms of art) ((Source))
I agree that all of them are art, of course one could debate about ‘poetry’ being a part of ‘literature’, and ‘Dance’ a part of ‘Theater’, but I’ll leave this decision gladly to the reader.
Is ‘Architecture’ a form of art? If I look at the left picture, I definitely have to say no, but seeing the building on the right, I’d gladly change my mind.
(Left: Lincoln Plaza, by Architect Ike Ijeh – Source) (Right: Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany – Source)
In my opinion, dance is a wonderful expression of art. And who can say it’s not art when you see something like this?
I have seen the worst and the best of art in very different ways and means One of the best comparisons I can deliver at this point is the ‘Zentrum Paul Klee’, the building in Bern, Switzerland, which houses Paul Klee’s life work. Paul Klee was a Swiss artist, who created mostly, what’s generally known as ‘Naïve Art’, and what I call ‘no progress since Kindergarden’-art. Even the building is irritating and mutilates the entire area.
On the opposite side, here on the left, I’ll give you ‘The Louvre’, the breathtakingly beautiful museum in Paris, France, which not only exhibits the most famous painting in the world, but also a vast number of phenomenal paintings and sculptures from long forgotten artists, each one of them an expert, bringing taste and beauty to countless generations of admirers. If you have a chance, go there, enjoy, drink a glass of champagne and think of me. You won’t regret it.
(Both images source: Google.com)
Now, this is clearly a short, 300-word article, but definitely not perfectly suited for a client (in particular not one who’s a fan of Paul Klee). However, it is absolutely essential that the writer of these articles does detailed research and clearly states where the information comes from. This is not only valid for articles and blog posts for clients and IAWPE! It’s necessary for all posts and articles, even for private blog posts.
Writer’s Treasure Chest wouldn’t have existed this long if I didn’t take care what I’m doing. Pictures and images for promotional posts, of course, are provided by their respective authors.
All other pictures need to have information about where they come from, preferably a link to their respective website or post, depending on where it was taken from.
The same thing applies to information that’s used for the own blog/article, such as ‘quotes’ or even entire paragraphs or posts.
Articles, as compared to blog posts, are preferably written in a sober, reporting manner, giving strictinformation, as compared to the authors own opinion. This is completely different from writing blog posts, where I can freely express my view on things, show my preferences or share my personal taste.
Let me give you an example with a blog post I published here on ‘Writer’s Treasure Chest, precisely April 10, 2017, about how ‘I Never Wore A Ballroom Gown’.
For a moment I considered telling you my life was dabbling and boring and nothing exciting ever happened, but that’s simply not true. I had many highlights in my life. And if they weren’t there, I produced them. I had ups and downs, some of my decisions were good, others not so much, but I was never bored in my life, not even for one minute.
But there is one thing I’m missing until now: I never had the chance to wear a ballroom gown. Yes, I know, there’s prom… but unfortunately not for me. The reason for that will be staying in the shadows. It just didn’t happen. So, no prom, no gown.
Lately, I was thinking about the gown I would have probably picked. I mean, we agree that every girl and woman once in her lifetime wants to feel like a princess, right? I therefore very much suspect my prom gown would have looked something like this:
I know… it couldn’t be more opulent and flamboyant, right? I still think the dresses are somehow cute. But not for me. I think the blue one would have been closest to my choice back then. It’s cute, I love the cold color palette, and I had been enthusiastic about the different layers of fabric. I would have looked like the strolling version of a sparkling mosquito net, but I had been happy.
Well, my prom age is a few years back. (I love the expression ‘a few.’ It’s extendable). Would I pick one of these now, or did my taste completely change?
You bet it changed. Should I ever have the chance of going to a ball, soiree, dance party where evening gowns are demanded, I would more pick something like this:
But most likely, and because I am who I am, I’d show up in a dress very similar to this one (with different shoes of course since I like my ankles too much to sacrifice their wellbeing to some murderous instruments like these):
Yes, I know. My taste has significantly changed within the past decade (or more). I got more adult, started preferring more the ‘modest’ and classic style, but with a tiny extra that reveals the noble elegance of what I wear.
But I simply doubt I’d ever be invited to some ball, neither today nor tomorrow and probably not even in the next two or eight months.
What am I going to do to fulfill my personal dream of once in my lifetime looking and feeling like a princess?
Aaaaahhhhh…. my wedding! I love to look at wedding dresses, just like every other woman does too. At current times (April 2017) this article does on no account mean I will get married anytime soon.
At this point, looking at possible future wedding dresses, I found out pretty quickly, my taste has changed here as well.
Haven’t I been dreaming of wearing a dress like Empress Elizabeth of Austria, with wide, expanding crinolines and layers and layers of tulle, silk, lace, silver or gold and an enormous train?
This would not be too comfortable, but at least I ensured that I’d spend the day more or less alone since guests, family, and groom would politely stay at least 6 feet away not to endanger polluting my wedding dress nor stepping on it.
Breathtaking, aren’t’ they? And about as comfortable as spending the night on a bed of nails. Fifteen years (or a few more) ago, I had picked one of these without hesitating. Nowadays, I’d rather let my fingernails be pulled out than being forced to get married in such a monstrosity. I’m not saying they are not beautiful. More the opposite. I’m only saying, they would look awful on me.
Then I found two other extravagant wedding gowns which made me burst out into laughter. They’re hilarious. I’m trying to imagine how I’d be looking in this dress below on the left: probably like some exploded cotton candy.
And how about the one on the right? AJ costumed as the walking bird flu.
What would I pick now to get married in? Yes… the same simple, classically elegant dress I think would best show who I am.
And should you ever see a wedding from far, where the bride is blond and wearing this dress, then it’s most likely going to be me, taking my last chance ever to wear a beautiful gown. (And promising the love of my life everlasting support, faithfulness, confidence amongst a few other things).
In this particular post, where the main factor is ‘taste about fashion’, I could freely express my opinion about ballroom gowns, my former taste, and how it had changed over time.
Writing for a ‘client’, blog post or article, is not giving me that freedom. I am strictly to deliver the facts, and nothing more (unless the client clearly expresses that this is part of the article, which so far hasn’t happened (yet).
Writing blog posts on my personal blog like ‘Writer’s Treasure Chest’ is different again. Mainly, the entire blog is particularly a writer’s blog. However, it’s also my personal blog, and I take the freedom to write a few private articles now and then, where I can share an experience, an event, or a happening, clearly say what I think about it and express my personal point of view.
At this point, let me share a former blog post published on my friend’s blog:
Written by A. J. Alexander – Copyright, September 2021
Sex is overrated. Yes, I can easily imagine the confused looks on surrounding faces. Would I stand in a room and proclaim that fact, but there’s nothing I can do about it. I’m talking about the fact that I tried it, and my current opinion is the result of my experience a while ago.
We keep thinking, that’s like in the movies, where the violins cry (meow-meow-meow) and the candles spend warm light (flicker-flicker). It’s a miserable attempt at physical exercise. You hit your skull on the headboard, the nightstand lamp crashes onto your temple, and every five minutes, Mommy comes in and brings cheese sandwiches, now there.
And that’s not even it! I’m beslobbered from head to toe, what am I? A popsicle? And then, afterward… afterward they want to talk! You have to praise them! I only want to turn around and sleep, but no! And, dear gentlemen, talking about ecstasy – HAHA! Just for your information: If you have 210 pounds laying on you… of course you’re groaning!
Well, it didn’t work out with that guy; one would think a woman gives up, right? No, we girls hope it will be better with the next one. And where do we find that next one? Oh yes! Of course, on the world wide web! Yes, I admit it. I did it; I was on the internet.
That’s unbelievable! You open a website, and you find men; men galore – and all so sporty! Golfers, sailors, scuba divers, hikers, marathon runners, a country full of well-trained ham hock heroes. No wonder you never see them on the streets. They’re all on the internet!
Immediately I was chatting with one of them: JamesBlond007 – what a hunk! And from the first second on, it was clear – we were destined to be together, oh yes.
We immediately set the first date – in the next Home Depot, aisle 4, where the hammers are. And he immediately recognized me! That was important because I didn’t notice him at all. Wait! How can that be that someone gains like 45 pounds within three days? First I thought, he had sent his Dad ahead, that much older he suddenly looked. Well, he admitted, the picture was a wee bit older. It was taken in ’96 on the Bermudas – during his honeymoon. Oops!
Oh, yeah, he forgot to tell me that he’s actually still married. That’s why our first date cannot take too long. His wife is outside in the plant and garden center.
Now, ladies, here is a tip for the guy search on the internet: Get yourself an Alfred. An ‘Alfred’ you recognize by the profile picture right away. That’s the type of man who lounges on the sofa. Actually, it’s the ‘slouch on the couch,’ in one hand the beer can, and a half-smoked cigarette in the other. An Alfred is a man who wears his sweatpants with the certainty that he’ll never ever fit into any of his other clothes again, so why even try?
Then I looked at some of the women’s profiles. That’s not too funny either, oh, yes. It’s not amusing what men have to look at. It starts with the names: MagicKitty, SweetMouse, LittleFairy, SunFlower2568, Cuddlekitty, come on! That’s an esoteric petting zoo. Compared to that, a Barbara Cartland novel is a hardcore thriller!
Oh, please, it’s true! And the pictures? Lying on a piggy pink cuddle blankie, holding on to ruffle curtains, or next to man high cat scratch trees. How can a woman, searching for the man of her dreams, stand next to a man-high cat scratch tree? With a hairstyle which they obviously had carved into shape in Salon Gretchen around Happy Hour. That’s not a good idea!
And then they all love animals, yes! But only when it’s really cuddly. Everything that crawls or scrambles scares them.
My-oh-my! Some things scare me far more! For example that men could actually like that!
Because if they do, at the end, all that will be left for me, is – an Alfred.
Okay – after looking at the different forms of posts and articles, of course, we will have to look at the work of a fully-fledged published author, in this case, preferably mine.
Writing ‘sober,’ neutral, and reporting articles isn’t particularly easy when you’re a fantasy and paranormal romance author. But there is a way to get it done, and I have proven myself to be able to do that.
This does not mean that I would ever neglect my work, notably the award-winning ‘The Council of Twelve’ series, currently published with five books:
After long years in the line of duty as a ‘Soul Taker,’ Kate is worn out.
When she gets a new job offer from the ‘Powers Above,’ she accepts her new job as a Guardian gratefully without knowing that her teacher is one of the most powerful beings in existence, the Archangel Raphael.
Along with Raphael, she takes on her new task and the connection between them grows.
Raphael helps, protects and supports Kate, but suddenly, she becomes a target for the Demons of Hell.
Raphael realizes that Kate means more to him than he expected, which causes him to fight furiously against danger. If he fails, Kate’s future will contain eternal darkness, Evil, and torture.
Sundance is a promising young Warrior Angel, the first in centuries to join the Divine Army. With the help of one of the most powerful Archangels, her skill and talent develop, allowing her to master some of the most difficult tasks that face her kind.
Sundance, under the supervision of the ‘Council of Twelve’, seeks to prove that she deserves her unusual gifts in the eternal fight between good and Evil. Follow her adventures as she discovers love, fights the good fight, and finds herself in the heat of battle trying to keep her wings from being singed.
Zepheira is the best Demon Tracker working for the Good side. With her unusual looks, her phenomenal sense of smell, and her bravery, she quickly draws ‘The Big 7’s attention to her talent. They hire her to find one of them. Leaving her familiar surroundings and regular work environment unsettles Zepheira at first. But the challenge to prove herself and to increase the reputation of her infallibility tempts her. She is convinced she will be a great asset to ‘The Big 7’. Little does she know she will be a much greater asset in Heaven’s fight against Evil. Zepheira suddenly becomes more than a hired tracker. She finds herself an important pawn in the game of love, heat, and fire. Will her courage and sacrifice be sufficient to dance with the flames?
When Centriel roams the Earth in a dark mood and atypical despair, in a mountain clearing, far from humankind, he unexpectedly discovers a runner, followed by a petite hunter. The way the woman treats the giant fugitive amuses the Archangel, but he quickly learns that neither of them are what they seem to be.
Simin Arnatt is an extraordinary woman. Her occupation as a Bounty Hunter takes her all over the world, as she follows her prey to the most unusual places. She would have never expected to meet the famous Centriel while on a hunt. When he offers to help her, she feels the enormous attraction, but she knows, with the secret she holds, she could never dare to hope for love.
Neither of them could guess that with her next assignment, Hell is breaking loose…
Koyu thought she had done her duty, but deep inside she knows it will never be over. She is bound to her master forever and will have to execute his every command. But when he demands she’ll invade his sworn enemy’s dreams, she chooses to rebel.
Koyu risks her existence to help the ‘other side’ by purposely disobeying her master’s orders.
Koyu knows she’ll pay with her life for her impertinence. Is there, indeed, no hope for her?
What is your experience with writing articles as compared to blog posts? Where do you see difficulties, or what is easy for you writing as an assessment? Let us know in the comments. We’re curious.
How many times have you met a person again, after a long time not seeing them, and you think by yourself: “I have no clue what we talked about, but I do remember this person making me feel really uncomfortable”, or “this person humiliated me”, or “I was very down that day for whatever reason, and this person really encouraged me…”
Very often we remember how we felt in a person’s presence, and how friendly (or rude) that person was.
We might remember a face, and we might remember a feeling, but we might not remember words…
Sometimes we remember actions…
But not always are our experiences good with people, not always do we feel right about their words, their actions, and how they make us feel.
How do you think, bullied people feel when they see someone who has given them a horrible time when they were younger? In particular at a certain age, when we’re still ‘becoming’, we are particularly sensitive to outside influence…
The tragedy and drama that we can experience when we’re within a certain time frame of our lives can make us remember other people in a way that sours our entire young adulthood until the present day.
I belong to those people who seem to be bullying victims wherever I go. It started at a very young age in school, until I learned how to defend myself.
It re-started in high school, again, until I finally defended myself.
And again, during my adulthood in several jobs bullying was almost common for me…
But there were a few people who always had a good word for me, encouraging, empowering, helpful, supportive, and caring. And these are the people who are still in my memory, the ones who made me feel good, valuable, happy, and proud of myself.
The others arent’ important anymore… but the positive people are vivid, in my memory, and in my heart!
Maya Angelou (Marguerite Annie Johnson) April 4, 1928 – May 28, 2014) was an American memoirist, popular poet, and civil rights activist. She published seven autobiographies, three books of essays, several books of poetry, and is credited with a list of plays, movies, and television shows spanning over 50 years. She received dozens of awards and more than 50 honorary degrees. Angelou is best known for her series of seven autobiographies, which focus on her childhood and early adult experiences. The first, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969), tells of her life up to the age of 17 and brought her international recognition and acclaim.
She became a poet and writer after a string of odd jobs during her young adulthood. These included fry cook, sex worker, nightclub performer, Porgy and Bess cast member, Southern Christian Leadership Conference coordinator, and correspondent in Egypt and Ghana during the decolonization of Africa. She was also an actress, writer, director, and producer of plays, movies, and public television programs. In 1982, she was named the first Reynolds Professor of American Studies at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. She was active in the Civil Rights Movement and worked with Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. Beginning in the 1990s, she made approximately 80 appearances a year on the lecture circuit, something she continued into her eighties. In 1993, Angelou recited her poem “On the Pulse of Morning” (1993) at the first inauguration of Bill Clinton, making her the first poet to make an inaugural recitation since Robert Frost at the inauguration of John F. Kennedy in 1961.
With the publication of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Angelou publicly discussed aspects of her personal life. She was respected as a spokesperson for Black people and women, and her works have been considered a defense of Black culture. Her works are widely used in schools and universities worldwide, although attempts have been made to ban her books from some U.S. libraries. Angelou’s most celebrated works have been labeled as autobiographical fiction, but many critics consider them to be autobiographies. She made a deliberate attempt to challenge the common structure of the autobiography by critiquing, changing and expanding the genre. Her books center on themes including racism, identity, family and travel.
Angelou died on the morning of May 28, 2014, at the age 86. She was found by her nurse. Although Angelou had reportedly been in poor health and had canceled recent scheduled appearances, she was working on another book, an autobiography about her experiences with national and world leaders. During her memorial service at Wake Forest University, her son Guy Johnson stated that despite being in constant pain due to her dancing career and respiratory failure, she wrote four books during the last ten years of her life. He said, “She left this mortal plane with no loss of acuity and no loss in comprehension.” (Source: Wikipedia.com)
This quote is as much true as it is funny. Of course, when we’re on a deadline, most of us will ‘suddenly’ get more and more creative, the closer we get to the deadline. Of course, there are some of us whose nature is similar to the one of Douglas Adams who famously said: “I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.”
But I would say, most of us work hard to keep deadlines, and the shorter the time, the more the pressure grows. Some writers need that pressure, and some others won’t be able to write a word under it.
It started in school already, when we had to study for a test, didn’t it? Some students were the ones who studied every day, to internalize all the knowledge, while others, me included, allegedly studied ‘better’ the higher the pressure and tension. (You could also say, we just really didn’t want to waste any more time studying, as we had to and rather enjoyed doing whatever we found more enjoyable and interesting than working for the school.
Later on, in my professional life, there was no ‘flying by deadline’… If that would have happened more than once in my career, the very same would have been over faster than I could have apologized.
Now, setting my own deadlines when it comes to writing, I am very determined to keep them. It’s absolutely impossible to be successful in writing without keeping deadlines, be they set up by us or by the publisher, or literary agent, or, who else has the right to pressure us to move our pen for work.
Bill Watterson has it right… creativity cannot be turned on and off like a faucet. I cannot ‘decide’ to be creative on a Thursday, and not so creative on Saturday. Bill Watterson had his own deadlines, and being a phenomenal creative writer and famous comic illustrator, he knew what ‘last minute panic’ meant.
My creativity nudges me gently when it’s time to write books. But it’s not always there when I’m supposed to write blog posts. That means, I’m taking notes, wherever I am and have an idea for a new blog post. This one, actually, showed up while I was working on my newsletter!
I’m always anxious to keep my readers interested and therefore want to make sure that I’m publishing my posts on time and keeping them diversified and on time. Blogs are not followed if the posts are not showing up, and I have invested a lot to keep ‘Writer’s Treasure Chest’ up and running. Now I would like to build a stable fan base for my books and blog. So, no lack of deadlines for me.
How do you keep creative? What do you do if you have the feeling your creativity isn’t flowing? And what do you do to tickle your muse? Let us know in the comments, we’re curious!
William Boyd Watterson II (born July 5, 1958) is a retired American cartoonist and the author of the comic stripCalvin and Hobbes, which was syndicated from 1985 to 1995. Watterson stopped drawing Calvin and Hobbes at the end of 1995, with a short statement to newspaper editors and his readers that he felt he had achieved all he could in the medium. Watterson is known for his negative views on comic syndication and licensing, his efforts to expand and elevate the newspaper comic as an art form, and his move back into private life after he stopped drawing Calvin and Hobbes. Watterson was born in Washington, D.C., and grew up in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. The suburbanMidwestern United States setting of Ohio was part of the inspiration for Calvin and Hobbes.
Does it happen to you, that, writing a story, you have a scene in your head and try to describe what you’re currently seeing, you realize, the location, despite the nighttime and the darkness, is occasionally ‘enlightened’ by nature? Lighting bolds give your protagonist a quick, clear view of ‘the body’ in the alley. Thunderstorms often come with heavy rains, maybe it just started raining… So, what’s next? How do you describe the weather in your book, in your story, or in that particular scene?
I did quite some research about it and found, that some expert writers have blogged about it before. I therefore will lead you to their hard work:
Bryn Donovan did a phenomenal job with this list which will be of enormous help for many of us. (I do hope, she’ll forgive me for showing the entire list here.) Thank you, Bryn!
I realized, in my books, the weather does play a particular role, when I want to describe scenes. Sadness or happiness, enthusiasm or indifference can ‘dictate’ how I describe what is happening, and fog, wind, sunshine, or thunderstorms can very much help to accentuate the vibe of the scene.
Do you ‘play’ with the weather in your stories? Does it help you to describe a scene or happening in a better way, or is it easier to ‘feel the vibe’ of something thrilling coming up when the weather plays an additional role? Let us know in the comments.
Last week, authors logging into the Parliament House Press Facebook group found a surprise announcement: Parliament House had a new owner, and a host of other changes were in store.
In its current form, Parliament House Press will be dissolved due to a combination of personal and economic considerations from our founder, Shayne Leighton. Shayne has spearheaded the publisher since 2016 and has been a force in bringing this small indie press to a larger stage. Shayne will continue to work with our team in a design capacity. In her stead, Malorie Nilson will take over as the CEO of a reincorporated Parliament House Press. Business will continue uninterrupted, but several essential changes will transpire during this transition.
All existing author contracts will be dissolved and replaced with new contracts, as is required by law, but there will be no interruptions to the day-to-day functions of the house. Unfortunately, due to the increasingly competitive landscape of the industry, we will not be able to offer contracts to all existing authors. Many of our current projects were brought on under a different team and different leadership, forcing us to take stock of where we are and what we are able to accomplish. We want all our authors to be successful, including those who will no longer be with us. Unfortunately, we are currently unable to serve the entirety of our catalog, so we are forced to downsize to ensure that we can give every book the attention it deserves. If you are not offered a new contract, please know that it is not because we don’t love your work, but rather that we do not have the capacity to give everyone the attention and care they deserve. We are working hard to bring more opportunities to our authors, which means narrowing our enterprise’s scope.
We will continue our partnership with IPG for digital distribution, as well as our work with the Seymour Agency to sell subsidiary rights. Furthermore, we will be moving our entire print catalog to Ingram, which will give brick and mortar stores the ability to purchase books through Ingram’s distribution program. Finally, we have revised our contracts to align with industry standards as we begin working more closely with literary agents for future acquisitions. As we invite authors back to the Parliament House Press, we will review the new contracts with you (which we have updated to reflect industry standard for royalties and terms) to ensure that each of you is comfortable moving forward. Of course, with the dissolution of the existing contracts, you are free to part ways with the Parliament House Press and seek other opportunities if you wish.
The abrupt announcement was a shock. But it didn’t come entirely out of the blue.
Founded in 2016 by Shayne Leighton and Chantal Gadoury, Parliament House Press (PHP) is “a small traditional publisher, working with authors to produce brilliantly bizarre, original, and moving stories with an edge.” It has better-than-average distribution via the Independent Publishers Group, and its subsidiary rights are represented by the Seymour Agency.
Brand awareness refers to people’s ability to recognize you and your creative work. It is the very first step in your marketing funnel. Brand awareness also helps you achieve your goals as an author by expanding your target audience, building brand affinity, and improving brand identity.In this guest post, Andre Oentoro simplifies the process of using YouTube videos to grow awareness for your author brand and business.
Brand awareness is very important for any author because it not only entices readers to buy your book but also keeps them coming back for more.
People are more likely to buy goods or use services from a business that they trust and as an author, your ‘business’ is no exception.
Your brand – how people perceive you and your creative work – is one of the first things that will draw readers in when they are searching for a solution to a problem they have or to fulfill an experience they desire.
In addition, if their experience with your brand is enjoyable, they are more likely to tell other people about your work which helps spread the word, further increasing your visibility and reach.
So, how can you build your brand awareness, and what is the best platform?
According to this post by Ahrefs.com, YouTube is the most visited website in the past few years. It is also the second-largest search engine, proving that people are crazy about video content.
Anyone and everyone has the opportunity to entertain, engage, and rank.–Ahrefs
YouTube videos get good rankings on Google searches because Google has owned YouTube since 2006. This will certainly provide a huge opportunity for you to get noticed, to be known more widely in your topic area or genre, and thus help you increase brand awareness.
If you’re writing a conversation between two or more characters, you may run into the issue of characters talking at the same time. This is an easy thing to pull off in a TV show or a movie, but slightly trickier in a novel or a short story, so I thought I’d address it!
(By the way, I’m going to share a related post next week on how to write a great, believable argument between two characters. If you don’t want to miss it, be sure you’re subscribed to the blog—there’s a signup on the lefthand side of this page.)
Let’s look at some examples. You’ll notice that the solution to this issue usually involves just telling the reader that the characters are talking at the same time.