What is green?

Back in high school my English teacher asked “What is green?” as a kind of imagination activity in all of his classes to see what people would say. I wrote this recently with that old prompt in mind.


It’s funny how different I am now, now with the poison in my veins.
A poison only because in time, it would destroy me, but for now it is paradise.
Green, indeed, is obvious.
Green is nature.
Green is leaves, trees, and brilliant miles of meadows.
To live without hearing the birds chirp and smelling the fresh rain,
to never feel the heat of the sun on your skin or taste the fresh berries,
would be unthinkable, to me.
Green is peace.
It is about avoiding conflict, deflecting the negative thoughts.
Be quiet, just listen.
Shhhhh.
Listen. Hear the world around you.
Relax.
Breathe. Just exist.

How to Run a Book Review Blog

books

So, there are a few things you need to do in order to run a book review blog. The list below should help out anyone new to blogging or who thinks their blog could use some improvement.

First, start a blog. I happen to be partial to WordPress.

Second, read a book. Preferably nothing by Ayn Rand, but that’s just me.

Next, review the book with a clear rating, either through a number of stars (which you explain the meaning of somewhere) or simply whether or not you would recommend it to other people.

Make it easy for authors to contact you. Either put your email address up or use a contact form thing on a designated contact page. If you run a book review blog, you can get free books. If you didn’t know that, you do now. It makes it easier for authors to spam tell you about their book they’re giving away for free. All they want in return is an honest review (and if they say “give me five stars or else” just ignore them).

A note: if you do want free books but not a certain genre, make that clear. Some authors will still ignore that, but if you don’t want to receive erotica and you’re under eighteen, usually stating that clearly will reduce the probability that authors will send requests to read their naughty things against your wishes. (However, I’m not sure if stating that you’re underage could welcome other safety problems as I’m 21 and haven’t thought about cyber security in a while… but yeah, don’t be Catfished by pedophiles. And stuff. I’m off topic.)

Finally, post book reviews regularly. It doesn’t have to be every day, but post often enough to make sure your blog looks active. This may also encourage you to read more, which is obviously a plus.

Random Writing Prompts

Anyone out of ideas for a story? Anyone tired of their current project and want to get sidetracked for a few hundred words? Well I’ve got some writing prompts for y’all. (I’m trying out this whole y’all thing. I’m not from the south but it’s such an efficient way of saying “you guys.”)

  • Write a story in the POV of an inanimate object. (Alright so this is just because I wrote a story in the POV of a banana but whatever.)
  • Write a story with only dialogue.
  • Write about something that happens in the great outdoors.
  • Write about something that happens in a fast food restaurant.
  • Write about someone being in incredible pain. (Emotional or physical, whichever.)
  • Write a character who swears every time they talk. (This may be me. The other night at work I called a chicken sandwich a “son of a whore.” Don’t be afraid to get creative.)
  • Write a story that starts off angry and ends up happy.
  • Write a story featuring two people with sexual or gender orientations you’ve never written about before.
  • Write about an argument such as dogs vs. cats or Pepsi vs. Coke. Kill off the loser.
  • Write about a serial killer doing the things in his mundane life.

Go crazy, guys. Make sure you post to your story below if you end up writing one.

Wildflower Crown is now available for purchase!

wildcolorsteaser

Wildflower Crown is available on Amazon in eBook and paperback! Until Amazon gets around to joining the pages, here is the eBook link and here is the paperback link.

I’m super excited to share this with the world. I really like the story and I think you guys will too!

For those of you without money who are interested, I’m looking for reviewers and will give a free PDF or MOBI of Wildflower Crown in exchange for an honest review to be posted on Amazon, Goodreads, and your blog. You can comment below or use the contact form on my “contact” page to ask about getting a copy.

My Bookshelf: The Enterprise of Death

Title: The Enterprise of Death

Author: Jesse Bullington

Genre: Fantasy/Historical Fiction

Amazon Summery:
“As the witch-pyres of the Spanish Inquisition blanket Renaissance Europe in a moral haze, a young African slave finds herself the unwilling apprentice of an ancient necromancer. Unfortunately, quitting his company proves even more hazardous than remaining his pupil when she is afflicted with a terrible curse. Yet salvation may lie in a mysterious tome her tutor has hidden somewhere on the war-torn continent.

She sets out on a seemingly impossible journey to find the book, never suspecting her fate is tied to three strangers: the artist Niklaus Manuel Deutsch, the alchemist Dr. Paracelsus, and a gun-slinging Dutch mercenary. As Manuel paints her macabre story on canvas, plank, and church wall, the young apprentice becomes increasingly aware that death might be the least of her concerns.”

Jeers:

  • The start was a bit slow and like all historical fiction I had trouble with all the names.

Cheers:

  • Everything about this book was brilliant.
  • The characters were wonderful.
  • The plot didn’t drag on even though it was a long book.
  • The magic was very well done.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes, to everyone! Disclaimer though, there are some weird bits people might have a problem with, like dead lesbian sex and murder and all that. However, I still loved it. It’s now one of my favorite books and I can’t wait to read the rest of the author’s novels.

Amazon link:

http://www.amazon.com/Enterprise-Death-Jesse-Bullington/dp/0316087343

Proofreading, Writing, Getting Snowed On, and Chocolate Chips– Author Update

authorupdate

There hasn’t been much activity going on here because I’m graduating in two weeks. I don’t actually have that much school work to do  anymore, but I’ve been working on writing and creating medical emergencies. (Alright, well, it’s not an emergency. My tooth just hurts, but still.)

On the proofreading front: I’m at chapter seven of Wildflower Crown, which is a little over halfway through. It’s slow work since I don’t want to speed the text-reading software up and miss a mistake, so once I start wishing death upon the voices (there are three: David, Hazel, and Zira) then I have to take a break, which leads us to the next point.

On the writing front: I’ve started my next novel which doesn’t have a title. I’ll be writing it all summer while finishing the edits on Wildflower Crown and starting the edits on Only in Whispers. It is very, very loosely based on Rapunzel (as in, there is a tower), and that’s all I’ll say for now.

On the snow font: Yeah, it snowed. In April. Two days before it snowed it had been 70 degrees (21 C for you non-Americans). This isn’t some kind of record and none of it stuck, but I’m still unamused.

On the teeth front: Did you know that chocolate chips are named literally? They are chocolate that chip. I bit down on one at a weird angle while eating a cookie and it chipped my tooth. I don’t know whether to call it a crack or a chip because it’s a molar that chipped off into the gum (so it’s still there) but either way I get to go to the dentist. Yay.

-Charlotte Cyprus

Things I Don’t Understand About Blogging

So I’ve been blogging for almost a year now, and I feel like I’ve learn a lot in that time. However, there are still some things I don’t understand. Maybe some of you can help me out.

1. I don’t understand people who follow everyone they can.

I mean, I get the concept. If you follow people they may follow you back, and that can increase your audience. That’s great. Only, who cares about the numbers? A good number of my followers are fashion bloggers and lifestyle bloggers that clearly were just following to try to get a following of their own, but I didn’t follow them back. I don’t care about fashion. I don’t need posts like that showing up in my reader. If you follow me, it doesn’t mean I’m going to follow you back. If it seems like you blog about writing I may check you out, but it still doesn’t mean anything, and if I follow you I can still unfollow you if all you blog about is your grandpa’s dentures despite claiming to be a writing blog.

2. Why wordpress changed the stats page.

This really bugs me. I like the old one. At least move the “go to the old page” button to the top so I don’t have to scroll down each time. Seriously.

3. How to find bloggers who interest you.

I’m pretty sure that like half of the blogs I follow are Australian. Nothing wrong with that, but I’m American. I found one Australian blogger and that just led to more of them. I’ve looked for tags like “writing” and such, but I don’t want to follow blogs about poetry, I want to follow blogs similar to my own. The blogs wordpress suggests are useless, in my opinion. I don’t want to follow a blog with 10,000 followers. What are the chances of actually starting a conversation when 100 other people comment on their posts as well?

4. Why people keep trying to buy my kidney.

I’m not joking. And most of the comments get sent to spam. These are all ones that made it through.

5. Why so many writers write blog posts in purple prose.

My fingers caress the keyboard as my thoughts dictate the keystrokes of this post. The cars pass by my apartment as unaware of my life as I am of theirs, paths crossing but never intertwining. The small red line snakes under the word, and they greet each other like old friends. It is apparent that I am unable to correctly spell the word intertwining on my own. My face crumbles. Even as a writer, I struggle to arrange my letters in the correct order dictated by the dictionary.

I just… don’t get it. I’m want to read you blog for information, not poetry about your cup of coffee or your recent publisher rejection. I try to be eloquent, yeah, but sometimes being eloquent means saying, “I’m done with this shit.” It’s all about getting your point across while making it easy for the reader to understand… and that means no waxing lyrics about the deep web of depression that a spider of grief spun from your heart when your favorite novel series ended.

6. Whether or not my blog matters.

Is this something the rest of you have trouble with? As an author, I would love it if my blog promoted my book like crazy and I got rich, but that’s not really why I’m doing this. Now I just want to connect with other writers and share advice. I want to be able to help others who had the same self-publishing problems as I did, or to get marketing advice for someone who’s been self-published for a few years now. I expect my blog to keep growing, but how much will the numbers matter? Will I continue finding followers who interact with my blog, or more “I’m a hot model/musician/actor who’s following everyone I find, buy my stuff!”

What confuses you about blogging?

 

You know not the level of my hatred for 50 Shades of Grey

Alright, folks. Cosmo is running a 50 Shades of Grey fanfic contest on Wattpad. Or something. Found out about it from here.

Because I do so love writing weird fan fics, I entered as well. I titled it “Train Wreck” because that’s just what it is. My boyfriend thinks I’m crazy now, but here’s my entry. If you want to assist in derailing the contest, feel free to write your own piece.

Just Because You Can Write Doesn’t Mean You Should

I’ve known I would be a writer since I was in first grade. My teacher asked us to write three double-spaced pages about a class trip to the moon, and I wrote 10 single-spaced pages (which may be why she always hated me, I hadn’t quite mastered pronoun use at that stage of my life). I wrote “novels” until I was in high school, and then the more reading I did the better my writing got. My high school English teacher praised my writing and encouraged me to keep going, and I continue to improve now.

Writing isn’t easy, and it isn’t supposed to be. If it was, everyone could do it. Writing is a skill like anything else. You don’t expect to be good at basketball the first try or for everyone to be able to swim like an Olympian, so why does everyone seem to think that if you want to write, you can?

I’m not saying that writing should be exclusive. If you want to write, go crazy. Enjoy yourself. However, know that you might not be good enough to get published. I love soccer, but I knew I wasn’t good enough to play for college (and I was only good enough for high school because we had a no cut policy and we were constantly in need of players) so now I can only play for fun. It doesn’t bother me, because I don’t need validation as a soccer player. I know I’ll never be one of the best, but that doesn’t stop myself from enjoying the game when I play.

One of the problem with self-publishing is that it’s so easy that everyone thinks they can become an author. They devalue writing with that kind of attitude. If you like writing, that’s great. Write all you like and take criticism gracefully to allow yourself to improve, but until you honestly believe that you’re a good writer and other people agree, don’t self-publish. You would profit much more from posting your writing on a free site for people to offer helpful critiques, rather than making unsuspecting readers buy a piece of work that should have never been published and making them angry over wasting that money.

I worked in the writing center of my school and let me tell you, I saw some terrible papers. One, of them was, written. Like this. And when, I asked the, girl. Why she, was using. Unnecessary. Punctuation. She said. “I didn’t know sentences could be that long.” Another person’s phrasing was absolutely terrible, and some guy’s paper was so boring and tedious it made my eyes bleed to revise it. These people knew they were bad writers, but there are some people out there who write just as bad but want to be a writer, so they convince themselves that they’re good and that other people are wrong.

Someone asked for feedback on their book, saying that it had been rejected a bunch of times and wanted to know if it was them or the publishers. I read it, couldn’t bare to finish it, and gave her my notes on what was wrong (which was a lot of things, from characterization to plot to grammar to being unrealistic). She ignored me, bashed me for being rude, and then went on to self-publish. Do you think that that book will help the author? She’s not going to make any money on a bad book, and she’s not going to improve in her writing when the reviews will say “don’t buy this book” rather than “maybe if the characters showed some sympathy in chapter five” or “the plot needs to be wrapped up better at the end.”

General Tips to Improve Your Writing:

  1. Take criticism. If someone says “your plot is weak,” they are not being rude. If they say “THIS SUCKS” and nothing else, then they’re being rude. Ignore them and seek more specific reactions.
  2. Write more. The more you write the more you’ll improve.
  3. Read more, especially in your genre. It will help you understand how plots and sentence structure works.

Now, the title of this is a little misleading. If you like writing, I’m not telling you to stop. However, I want every self-published novel I read to be just as good as the traditionally published novels. I want the stigma of self-publishing to go away. The stigma is there because of the people who think writing is for everyone. I want everyone who self-publishes an amazing novel to be able to get the pubic to read that novel, but they can’t do that if those readers first find a terrible self-published book and now won’t touch them.

This post isn’t just criticizing bad writers, it’s just some tough love. Wouldn’t you want someone to tell you that you were a terrible singer before you went on American Idol? (Although, some of those people don’t graciously accept Simon’s decision when they’re told that they’re terrible, just like some people don’t accept that they’re bad writers when they’re told.) A general rule of thumb should be that if you can’t find at least two unbiased non-friends and non-family members who themselves are writers that say you’re a good writer, you probably need to keep practicing.

Writing is a gift, just like musical talent or athletic skills. We need to keep treating it as something special, not as something everyone can do.

Free Amazon Promotion Results

Books given away: 534

Free eBook ranking in my genre: 24 (may have gotten higher, but I forgot to check till the second day)

Books bought since the giveaway: 1

I think that’s pretty good for what small marketing I was able to do. I’m super excited that someone bought my book right after the promotion. I’m assuming that it was still ranked high somewhere, even though it was still ranked in the thousands of it’s genre (the non-free one).

I got a few people who said they started reading and liked it and would leave a review (plus I left a note at the end asking for reviews for anyone who finishes it) so I should get some reviews out of it. I think the promotion went pretty well, and I’ll be sure to update you guys if I get a million reviews or something.

I just got surgery on both my feet, so I might not be blogging for a few days. I was given some pretty serious pain meds, but I’m hoping not to have to use them. I hope you’re all enjoying the holiday season!

What was your experience with free giveaways?