One day, Sam will move to the beach…

Tag: writing (Page 1 of 2)

Blackbird in the Reeds

Here it is, the cover of the first book in my new modern fantasy series. It’s the first of nine planned books, coming in 2018.

Blackbird in the Reeds is scheduled for release on January 4th

Blackbird in the Reeds

Devon Murphy has never believed that there were fairies at the bottom of the garden, but when he’s in an accident on his way to his grandmother’s house and comes face to face with the biggest, baddest, most preternaturally intelligent wolf he’s ever seen, he’s forced to reconsider.

When his grandmother asks him to look into a string of suspicious accidents, he finds a much bigger mystery to unravel. From his childhood best friend to the too-attractive Deputy Wade Hunter, everyone in Rowan Harbor seems to have something to hide. Devon has to get to the bottom of it all before the accidents turn deadly.

Stories may well be lies, but they are good lies that say true things, and which can sometimes pay the rent.

-Neil Gaiman

Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.

-Anton Chekhov

NaNoWriMo Again!

I’m sure the idea that I’m taking part in National Novel Writing Month is shocking for everyone, but I’m just going to take a minute to sing its praises.

There are a few haters here and there who complain that a lot of bad novels are written during November, but they’re one hundred percent to be ignored. A lot of bad novels are written every month, but so are a lot of good ones, and the only way to know which yours will be is to write it.

Inside of NaNo, there are debates about word counts. There are a few people who, through copious application of coffee and a lack of concern for their sanity, write the whole fifty thousand words in a day or two. On the other end of the spectrum, there are people who couldn’t write fifty thousand words in a month if their lives depended on it. Maybe I’m being too optimistic, but I think both have the potential to write excellent finished novels, as long as they keep going after the end of November.

As writers, we’ve spent a lot of time being trained to compete with each other, from the idea that a higher or lower word count makes a better author, to the notion that only a precious few books will ever be published. There are only so many books a publisher will choose, they tell us. There are only so many writers who can ‘make it.’ If someone buys that writer’s book, this logic tells us, they won’t buy ours.

That’s a lot of nonsense. People spend millions of dollars on books every year, and if your books are good, people will buy them, whether they’re the big five, small press, or self published. Maybe you won’t be the next J.K. Rowling, but you’ll never know until you try.

The thing that NaNoWriMo gets to the heart of, which too many of us forget, is that writing a book isn’t about author vs. author. It’s about author vs. self. No other author is holding a gun to your head, telling you not to write. (I hope.) You need to get past the idea of competing with anyone, and just sit down and write that novel. NaNo helps remind us that the only thing stopping us is ourselves. The other authors? We’re in the same boat as you, fighting against ourselves to write the best book we can write. So maybe instead of fighting over who gets the best oar, we should all grab one, sit down, and row this thing together.

There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written. That is all.

-Oscar Wilde

All the ways to say said

Fun story with a twist ending.

I worked with kids in an ELL program. That’s ELL for English Language Learners, not ESL/English as a Second Language, because for many kids learning English in the American school system, English isn’t a second language, but a third or fourth.

With one student, we were working through a novel intended for teenagers about her age. (16-18) She went through the words she knew easily, and her vocabulary was pretty impressive; after a year of English, she knew words her US-born contemporaries would have scratched their heads at. She liked to read, and it helped build her vocabulary a lot.

Anyway, every other paragraph or so, she’d stop and ask me what a word meant. And after a while, it almost became a game. Because every single time in this novel, the word she was asking about was a clumsy replacement for “said.”

“Don’t do that,” she yelled.

“I’m not angry,” he hissed.

“You can’t make me,” she growled.

“I didn’t mean to,” he sobbed.

Okay. Sometimes I understand this necessity. It’s important that he’s sobbing, and we need to know that. But seriously, there’s a limit–and there are better ways to say these things.

If my student would have to stop five times on every page of your manuscript and ask what that word means? You need to rethink some of your word choices

So stop it, okay self? Now get back to writing.

Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn’t.

-Mark Twain

This Is Us

Since I’m on a roll with the whole linking other people’s clever posts instead of just coming up with my own content, I’m going to hit you guys with a double.

For those of you who’ve been in the m/m community more than a year, you’ve probably seen all of this. I’m not really interested in rehashing any drama, but a few important blog posts came out of it, and I think they should be re-read with a wider context in mind.

Dylan St. Jaymes: Intent =/= Impact

and

K.J. Charles: How To Like Bad Things

I may not read or enjoy some kinds of problematic content, but I’ll defend forever the right of people to read and write it. However, when that content’s existence hurts people, it’s indefensible. When it adds to an overall problem that’s causing strife and death in our world, it’s indefensible.

So basically, don’t kinkshame. Good people can read things you don’t like. And don’t support the normalization of hatred, because that’s not a kink, and it’s never acceptable.

Building an ARC review team

I’ve had a few queries about how people might join my ARC review team, so I figured I’d respond to everyone in one place.

If you’re interested in getting ARCs of my books for review, I would love to send them to you. Just email me at: sam@burnswrites.com  with a link to a review you did of any of my books. They don’t have to have a certain star rating; I love honest reviews that have critique in them, too. If you enjoy my books and want on the list, I’d love to have you.

Read, read, read. Read everything — trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it.
Then write. If it’s good, you’ll find out. If it’s not, throw it out of the window.

-William Faulkner

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