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Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Advice to a Young or New Writer by Janice Seagraves

Hi, my name is Janice Seagraves.

This is my advice to writers just starting out.

First of all you need to finish your story. Don't call it a book. It's not a book yet. Until it’s finished, it's a work in progress, or what we call a WIP.

Nifty huh?

We have all kinds of lingo in the industry, and if you want to be a writer you'll need to learn all of them.

When you finish your story then you can call it a manuscript. If you have your manuscript edited and polished until it shines, crafted the perfect query letter-blurb-synopsis and send it to a publisher/editor who is in the right mood, he/she might offer you a contract for it, but it’s still a manuscript.

Then after all the contracts have been signed and after the edits are all done . . . finally it’s a book. Or an ebook, but it’s still a book.

Okay? Still with me.

Here's the next thing and it hard to hear, but don't show your WIP to anyone right now. It's not finished, or you might not have developed your voice yet.

That takes time.

But you have time, right?

I don't mean to discourage anyone, but it took me ten years of working toward publication to finally see one of manuscripts turned into a book. But hey, I was going to be ten years older anyway, right? And it may take you a shorter period of time than it did me. You never know. *shrug*

Here's what you’re going to have to do to help develop your voice and your story telling ability, which will turn you into a writer: (BTW, if your writing a blog, you are a writer. )

First: take some classes. If you can't afford to take a night class or go back to college, don't get discouraged. You can take them online. Or: take a workshop: a workshop is similar to a class, but it's of a shorter duration. And you can take it online in the comfort of your own home. I like taking workshops because they're much cheaper than a class at your local college, but in some cases more intensive. There are some groups or websites which offer free workshops, like Romance Divas which is also free to join. Or Savvy authors that cost the last time I check about $30.00 a year, but joining cuts the price of the workshop classes down a lot or sometimes to free.

The best thing that happened to me was joining some yahoo groups. Sure there are a lot of groups that are just for promo, but there are some that can really help you learn a lot about the publishing industry. You'll have to really seek these out, but it’s well worth it. Most are free to join and the lessons there are invaluable. You can also check on Facebook.

If you want someone to help with your work, you can join a critique group. I'm on Roses critique group, and the Romance Critique Group or you can take an editing class.

You'll also need to decide what genre you’re going to write in. There are many to chose from: contemporary, science fiction, fantasy, paranormal, and historical. And all of these can be a sub-genre of romance if that is what you’re interested in.

Once you know what genre you want to write in, you'll need to read it and study it. You'll need to know the market and how to promote it too. Your blog can also be your platform, which will help you build an audience, which in turn will help to sell your published books.

But if you decide to write romance, then you'll need to have a have a happily-ever-after (HEA) ending or at least a happy-for-now (HFN). Life could go smash-bang at any time, but readers will want their fantasy ending. Give it to them.

Remember to take your time. Don't be in a hurry to send off your manuscript. Make sure it's as finally polished as possible.

If you want to write well--make every word count.

After all Hemingway didn't do it over night and neither did Stephen King, Anne McCaffrey, Andre Norton, Laura K. Hamilton, Jim Butcher, or Kim Harrison.

Or me. *smile*

But to be successful as any of these people, you'll have write a lot, read a lot, be dedicated to your craft and have a lot of luck.

And all these people have one thing in common---they were all once an unknown writer with a dream, just like you.

Good luck and keep writing.

Matrix Crystal Series

Blurb: Team Alpha Three’s spaceship is out of power after fighting a wormhole, and parked on the primitive world of Zenevieva. With half the team sick from radiation poisoning, the team commander entrust geologist, Maya Gladstone, to find enough matrix crystals to power up their spacecraft, so they can go home to Earth.
Vach Namaste of the powerful Clan Namaste, a native of the planet, has desire the lovely Maya since she stepped off the spaceship on that astonishing day a year ago. He’s hounded her every step since. As Hymeneal Night approaches, he makes plans to take her as his bride… willing or not.
Excerpt: As promised, Maya bought another cheap tote so she wouldn’t damage her prize. Then she worked her way through the bazaar, buying supplies for the next day’s trip. As she went from tent to tent, hunting down the few veggies, fruit and other types of food that she could digest, she caught glimpses of the Zeeman following her. She tensed. What does he want with me?
She stalked completely round one of the tents to come face to face with him. Now’s my chance. “Why are you following me?”
“What? I don’t know what you mean.” He took a step back.
Maya grabbed a fistful of his dark brown robes. “Yes, you do. You’ve been dogging my steps from moment I set foot on your planet.” She suddenly noticed that the young man was bigger than she’d thought. His chest was deep and his shoulders broad. His arms were larger than Bobby’s and he worked out. And here I am, holding him by his clothes.
He stared at her hand. “I like you and want to get to know you. If you were one of my people, I would woo you.”
She realized his robe wasn’t made from the rough, homespun fabric used by the common Zeeman. Is he a clan lord?  Maya loosened her grip on the silky material. “Who are you?”
He moved back and swept his arm down in an elaborate bow. “My name is Vach Namaste of the Namaste clan. It would please me if you remembered it.”
With a flutter of his robes, he hurried away, weaving through the crowd. It wasn’t until he had disappeared that Maya realized that he’d been speaking to her in English.
Vach finally reached the edge of the bazaar, where he had tied up his steed. He patted its thick neck. “Hey, Brawley.”
His mount woke up with a snort, then lipped at his hand, demanding a treat. It was still standing in the same place that he left it and no one had bothered it. No one would dare touch a sherakey, not even this sleepy fellow. Reaching into a pouch, Vach dug out a sweet lump for his mount. Giving him the treat, Vach turned to see if the human female had followed.
She hadn’t.
He felt disappointed. But she wasn’t of his race and didn’t understand the proper way to act. If she wanted him to woo her, she should have followed him. If she didn’t, then she should have knocked him on his well-bred butt, just like the human guard had suggested.
Vach had wanted this human female since he saw her step out of the spaceship on that astonishing day a year ago. Her blue eyes drew him closer. Her long, red hair made him want to run his fingers through it. Her curves sent flames of desire flickering through his body. He’d taken to coming into town regularly to stroll by the compound, just to see if she would be there. Today had been one of those rare good days when she was there to follow. He learned a little more about her each time. Now he knew she wanted to find something. If he knew what it was, maybe he could find it for her.
Climbing up on the saddle, Vach clicked his tongue and his mount started down the dusty road toward the Namaste bachelor compound. He contemplated his plan for Hymeneal Night. Vach already knew from eavesdropping at the map seller’s tent that Maya would be out on the desert, all alone.
And then he’d get his chance to have her.
My Christmas book is available in paperback for the first time.
Matrix Crystal Christmas is made up of two short stories. I wrote this collection for the fans of my novel, Matrix Crystal Hunters.
In Crystal Flower Christmas: Vach and Maya are on a mission to undam the Laonooco River for the drought stricken region. As heartache fractures their marriage, will the gift of a crystal flower mend their relationship or break it beyond repair?
In Crystal Clear Christmas: Plague has struck the village of Zama and the citizens blame the only human left on Zenevieva, Maya. Will Vach make the ultimate sacrifice to save his wife?
Excerpt from Crystal Flower Christmas:
After she rolled up the futon, Vach walked in, picked it up and took it out. The sexy way he smiled at her reminded her of how they’d met five years ago on a trip to a dig site, looking for matrix crystals on Hymeneal Night.
She’d desired him then. After they married, she’d longed to have babies with him and now look at the result. They’d lost their one and only child.
It’s my fault. If I had accepted what had been given to me and not wanted it all, perfect husband and children, we wouldn’t be suffering now.
After pulling on her coat and a tugging knit cap over her head, Maya dragged herself out of the tent. Vach brought her breakfast a flat bread sandwich made with tama cheese and lightly fried winter veggies. She nodded her thanks and took the food, then sat by the fire and stared into it.
Vach knelt down to look at her. “What happened? You were fine just a little while ago, and now you’re not.”
She pulled away and shook her head. “Never mind. It’s not important.” She gazed into the fire. “Nothing important.”
“What’s wrong?” Xeno asked.
Vach stood. “I don’t know.”
After breakfast, the tents were struck down and the snags loaded up. Vach pulled a winter riding cloak around Maya, and then directed her to a rock so she could mount Brawley. She was glad that the aging sherakey would follow the other animals and all she’d have to do was sit in the saddle.
Once she was astride her mount, her husband checked the stirrups like he always did. He stopped and looked up at her. “I have something to give you that I was saving for
Winter Solstice or your Earth Christmas.”
He took out a wrapped item out of Zareth’s saddle bag and brought it to her. He pressed the gift into her hand. Something about the feel of the present seemed familiar.
She unwrapped the gift. It was one of her missing crystal flowers. She tightened her jaw and glared at him. “It was you!”
“Yes, it was.” He smirked at her and ran to get on his mount.
She took the reins and kicked Brawley so she could get closer to Vach. “You’re the one who’s been stealing the flowers I made?”
“Yes.” He gave her another one of his smug smiles. Vach urged Zareth into a canter, leaving her and Brawley in the dust.
“It took hours to make those flowers, you jerk!” Maya shoved the flower in her coat pocket, then dug her heels into her steed’s sides and took off after him. “Move it, Brawley. I know you can go faster than this.”
“Hey, wait! Where are you two going?” Xeno yelled from behind them.
Maya chased her jackass of a husband all day. Every time she got close to him, he’d smile back at her in that insufferable way. “So, what are you going to do about it?” he said each time.
Then he’d leave her in the dust again.
For the kindle:
For the Nook:
On Smashwords:
This book is about Vach and Maya’s son River, and it is called Matrix Crystal River.
My first two books in the series are now only 0.99 cents. The latest in my series is $2.99, so you can literally buy my entire series for less than $5.00.
After twenty-five years, the Earthlings were back. River Namaste swears he’ll never help the humans find matrix crystals, until he meets, Winona Miracle, Team Alpha Six’s geologist. Shy and vulnerable, the black haired, dark eyed beauty is all he wants.
But is she ready to put aside her goals for him?
At a rest area, Winona was left behind with River and Ori. She prayed that no one would wander into the spot while they were there. The men fed the animals and waited.
Walking around the area, she tried to get the kinks out of her legs. The woodlands looked different than the conifer forest back home. The leaves were mostly in burgundy and bright greens. She picked up a white-and-pink stone and turned it over in her hands. Quartz with some thick, dark silver veining. If I had a smelting setup, I could produce silver.
“Winona,” River called softly.
She went to him. “Yes, what is it?”
“You seem nervous.”
“Well, of course I am.” She glanced around. “Did you see the dirty looks we got from that fishing village?”
“You needn’t worry. I’ll watch out for you.”
“Gee, thanks. And who will protect you?”
He laughed. “I don’t need anyone to keep me safe.”
“Oh, sure. No one will attack a big hunk of man meat like you.”
“Man meat? What does that mean?” One side of his mouth curled up.
Jeez, why did I say that? She turned to walk away. “Never mind. It’s just an expression.”
He hooked a hand around her arm. “Don’t go.”
His wonderful spicy male scent was almost too much. “River, I—”
He pulled her up against him. Before she knew it, his lips were on hers. Once he swept his tongue into her mouth, she was lost. She slipped an arm behind his head and pressed herself against him.
“River,” called out Ori. “They’re back.”
He abruptly dropped her on her feet and stepped away.
When did I get lifted off the ground? She turned away, wiped her mouth, and pulled up her scarf, trying to hide whatever damage his rough kiss might have caused. God, what a kiss. Her panties were soaking wet.
The Kindle:

Janice Seagraves’s Amazon page:
“Mom.” Rain waved at Maya. “Someone is here to see you.”
“Oh?” With one last swat at her clothes, Maya marched over.
“He says he’s a merchant.” Rain gestured at Steen.
Maya scanned his attire and snorted. “Tell your commander, nice try.”
His stomach dropped. “Huh? What did I do wrong?”
“Whoever coached you was misguided. For one thing, your clothes are the wrong type. Merchants don’t wear rough weave.” Maya rubbed the fabric of his sleeve between her thumb and forefinger. “That’s for peasants. Too fine a weave would be clan, so you’d have to find something in-between.” She stared at his eyes a moment. “Are those contacts?”
He rubbed his eyelids. “Implants. I can tolerate the bright sun with them.”
She gave a nod. “You’ll need it here. Nice touch with the hair, by the way.”
He fingered a braid. “At least I did something right.”
“It’s a little long for so many braids. And the skin tone… Is that a skin dye?” She stared at his face.
“DNA treatments.”
“How about the Zeeman dual belly buttons?”
Steen pulled up his shirt.
“Wow. Which is fake?”
“The top.” He handed her his tote. “I brought a gift for you.”
She cocked her head to the side and sighed. Taking the tote, she nodded toward the house. “Will you come in for some tea?”
“Yes, thank you.” He bowed low, hiding a smile.
Maya led the way up on the porch. He did what she did, removing his shoes, washing his feet in the basin then pulling on a pair of house slippers she handed him.
“Nice. You invoked guest privilege,” Rain said in his ear. “Mother is human but practices the ways of the Zeeman.”
“I know.” He smirked at her.
With a reluctant expression, Maya held the door open for him. “Tea won’t be but a moment.”
“Goddess tea.” He bowed again.
“Of course.” Maya disappeared into the kitchen.
Rain showed him the dining table. “My father and brother probably won’t be as nice as my mom.”
He sat on the richly carved black ironwood chair next to Rain. “You’re an attractive young female. Maybe I should have said I came here to woo you?”
Interest lit her gaze. “And then you’d have to answer a lot of questions from both my parents. We take wooing very seriously here in Zama.”

Matrix Crystal Rebels:
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Cara Marsi said...

Good advice, Janice. I would add to read as much as you can in your chosen genre. It also took me 10 years of hard work to see my first published book.

Janice Seagraves said...

Hi Cara,

It took me ten years, too.

But I was going to be ten years older anyway. *shrug*


Melissa Keir said...

Great Advice! Too often people think just writing is enough, it's really just the first step!

ELF said...

Excellent advice (of course I think the editing part is VERY important, lol) and fun excerpts, thank you for sharing!

ELF said...

p.s. I tried to send an e-mail to your website link, but it came back as undeliverable, so you may wish to check that.

Jerry Marquardt said...

I can't wait to read the whole Matrix Crystal Series. I always appreciate a great series to read, and I appreciate the opportunity after reading the awesome review.

Janice Seagraves said...

Hi Melissa,

I agree. There is a lot to it. The finished product is just the tip of the iceberg.

Hi E.L.F.,

Oh, I believer editing is very important too.

I'll check on the link, but I don't think you can send an email to a website link. Of course, I could be wrong.

Hi Jerry,

Thank you so much. You really just made my day. :)


ELF said...

It was the e-mail link on your website. I don't use FB or most of the social media, so it's tough to send a private message to folks like you who don't have an e-address listed. Of course, by now, I've forgotten exactly what it was I wanted to tell you, lol, but I'm pretty sure it was a typo in one of your blurbs or excerpts above (0;

Take care,

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