September 28, 2015

Writers Learn Everywhere (and a Special Offer!)

This past weekend, I got to visit with some old college friends, and while we do our best to make time to talk, somehow few conversations are as enlightening as the ones we have in person. On this trip, we've discussed human nature when it comes to rooting for the "home team," differences in perspective on dating and relationships, the fundamental psychology behind certain behaviors, and more.

I realize I'm being vague, but the conversations themselves were quite complex, and private, and the bigger point is unrelated to the particulars: every interaction we have with people teaches us something, about a specific person of course, but also about the human condition (makes it sound like an illness, doesn't it?).

As writers, it's our responsibility (or perhaps cheat code) to take those moments and integrate them into our work, both showcasing different perspectives and types of people and lending believability to our writing.

Whenever I write, I try to create genuine, realistic characters, so I love seeing reviews like these (on Amazon) from readers: 
"Glazki writes about romance in way that encapsulates all the realities of a relationship that is sometimes sexy and playful, sometimes frustrating, and sometimes fulfills holes in our lives that we didn't know were there."
"Their romance was so earnest that I couldn't stop smiling the entire time I read it."
It makes me feel like I just might be doing something right.

And to thank all of you for reading and bearing with me on this journey, I've decided to have a special offer just for those who read my blog! Through October 11th, you can get a copy of Mortal Musings on Smashwords for just $0.99 using the coupon code: VF98U

Friendly reminder that you can also request free autographed trading cards for you and the readers in your life through this form!

September 21, 2015

Letting Go of “Perfect” in the Cover Design Process

Designing the cover might be my least favorite part of book publishing. It isn’t that I don’t love the cover for Mortal Musings (I do), but I firmly believe it’s almost impossible to create the “perfect” cover, so we all have no choice but to compromise.

Part of the issue is just reality. The perfect stock images with models that actually do match our vision (and exact description) of the character might not exist. In fact, probably don’t exist—or so countless hours of scouring multiple stock photo sites have taught me. Of course, some small features like eye color could be manipulated, and it’s certainly possible to come close.

But how many book covers have you seen where the cover model didn’t quite match the way you pictured the character while reading? S/he probably didn’t match the author’s vision either. It’s pretty much like casting the story for a movie — the actor who looks just right might not exist unless the author wrote with a specific actor in mind for the character. And for movies, they have casting calls where they can choose the actor and then give him/her a makeover.

September 18, 2015

Flash! Friday: Prompt #3-41

So it's been a while since I participated in Flash! Friday, and it's my first time trying this new format. Rather than a photo prompt, the contest has switched over to using elements pulled from a book. Today's was Cry, the Beloved Country, requiring two of the following elements in a 150–200-word story.

  • Conflict: man v man (not gender specific)
  • Character (choose at least one): old priest fighting to hold on to tradition, father searching for his son, young man accused of murder, a civil rights activist, a pregnant girl
  • Theme (choose one): reconciliation, racism, injustice, repentance
  • Setting (choose one): a decaying village, a wealthy city in moral decline

I included a few different ones, as you'll hopefully see in the story below. As always, I'm interested in hearing your thoughts!

September 7, 2015

#PitMad Pitch Practice—With Critiques from Touchstone Editing!

It may be a holiday (in the US, at least), but time doesn't stop for querying writers! The Twitter pitch party #PitMad is happening once again this Thursday (September 10th), and since people have found it useful in the past, I'm happy to open up my blog for everyone to receive feedback on & perfect their pitches.

Plus, I have a special surprise to help you prepare:

The absolutely lovely ladies at Touchstone Editing have offered to critique pitches in the comments on this post! Learn a bit more about Jennifer and Anya here, and please read these guidelines before posting: 
  • #PitMad is a Twitter pitch party, so your pitch needs to be 140-characters max, including the hashtag. 
  • Jennifer and Anya will be dropping in and out until Tuesday night to help you with your pitches.
    • Recommended: Show your gratitude (and benefit from their wisdom) by following them on Twitter!
  • Constructive comments on each others' pitches are encouraged! The whole point is to help everyone have the best chance possible on Thursday to catch that agent or editor eye.
  • Destructive comments will be removed at my discretion.
    • "I don't like XYZ about your pitch, and here's how to make it better" = good. "You're an idiot" or "How stupid would you have to be to think this is a good pitch?" = bad. Please be polite, as everyone has been to date (because you're all awesome)!
    • If I have to remove one of your comments on someone else's pitch, I may also remove your pitch if you posted one. Please don't make me police your comments.
  • Questions? Feel free to ask, and otherwise good luck everyone!