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Guest post: How our environments and music can influence our writing by Toinette Thomas

Tonight’s guest blog post, on the topic of using our surroundings, is brought to you by multi-genre author Toinette Thomas.

How our environments and music can influence our writing

I’ve been involved in many discussions as of late about the different methods one uses to write. Everyone seems to have their own systems for capturing ideas, taking notes and making timelines, and even developing settings and characters. I think the most interesting conversations that have taken place in the journey of discovering methods, have been discussions about the different environments that people actually write in.

When it comes to sitting down and actually putting pen to paper or fingers to keys, every environment seem to be different in their subtleties, but I’ve noticed a few standards across the board.

First, there is the Silent Box. This is when the writer finds a place of seclusion away from all distractions. Whatever their preferred drafting medium is, whether it be pen and paper for some sort of mechanized or computing device, that’s all they bring with them. This writer is there to write. They have an idea that they don’t won’t to fade away and they don’t want to waste their time struggling to focus.

Next, there is the Social Recorder. This is when a writer likes to be around others when they work. They have ideas, but they rely on their own reactions to what’s happening around them, to bring the ideas together in a story. These are the writers who hang out in coffee shops and bookstores. This writer is all about living life and taking great effort to ensure that their story flows with real life emotion and interaction. This writer wants to be a part of their work and wants their work to be a part of their life.

Then, there’s the Traveling Act.  This writer may or may not have a set place to do their writing, but where ever it is, the ambience has to be just right for what they are writing at that moment.  This writer is about being consumed with a scene, as if they were writing a screenplay, and in cases, they are. This writer has a changing, yet particular, atmosphere they like to be in when writing a dramatic scene that will be very different from where or how they are, when writing a comedic scene. Many of these traveling acts will write in different rooms of their house, visit different treasure spots around town, and listen to a variety of music for inspiration. I’ve even spoken with a few who will dress according to what it is they want to write.

I think of myself as more a silent box writer. I like to focus, but I don’t believe that labels are permanent. I do often use music for inspiration, but only when I’m stuck. When I’m having trouble developing a certain aspect of a story, I find two things to be of great help.

Recently, Pinterest has been good for find visual cues to help my writing process. The way all the pinboards are categorized, all I have to do is search for what I’m looking for. Sure, I could to the same thing with Google images, but I find Pinerest has a personal touch that is invaluable when trying to capture emotion. Then there’s music. Music is so varied; there is truly something for every subject. I personally find that having a good collection of varied movie soundtracks to be very helpful. If I need inspiration for a sci-fi piece, I seek out Star Was or the Matrix. If I’m working on romance, I seek out Moonstruck or Sleepless in Seattle.

Regarding my book Eternal Curse: Giovanni’s Angel, I mostly stayed in my silent box while writing this story, but I did venture out a few times to sample the soundtracks to Underworld, Moonstruck, and Phantom of the Opera. I hope you enjoy this synopsis: A wealthy doctor in search of a purpose and an isolated outcast searching for acceptance, meet online and discover that they may be just what the other has been looking for. Mira’s a woman who believes in what she knows and Giovanni’s a man who knows better than to think he truly knows anything. When Mira decides to meet Giovanni face to face, for the first time, at his secluded country home, their journey truly begins. Mira strives to help Giovanni embrace his humanity, though with his freakishly gray skin and tall stature, it is obvious that at least part of him isn’t human. As Mira and Giovanni float in and out of realistic dream sequences and come face to face with their greatest fears, Giovanni undergoes a transformation that neither of them is prepared to deal with. Passing through the winter and meeting the spring with mixed emotions of grief and content, Giovanni and Mira prepare to take on all the powers of heaven and hell to fulfill their united purpose.

So, that’s how I write. I’m a writer in a silent box, but every now and then, I come out to seek inspiration with the tunes of my favorite soundtracks. What kind of writer are you?

Thank you, Toinette.

A self-proclaimed techie and foodie, Toi Thomas was born in Texas, but considers Virginia to be her home. Growing up in Dallas, Toi had a strong interest in reading fiction and loved to watch movies. Even today, many of Toi’s friends come to her for the answers to movie trivia. Working with computers and cooking lavish meals have become reoccurring pastimes for the Virginia Beach teacher’s assistant, but now Toi wants to entertain the world with the first installment of her new books series. She is thrilled to take the world on a journey to discover the secrets of the Eternal Curse.

You can find out more about her and her book via…

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If you would like to write a writing-related guest post for my blog then feel free to email me with an outline of what you would like to write about. If it’s writing-related then it’s highly likely I’d email back and say “yes please”.

The blog interviews return as normal tomorrow morning with chick lit novelist Sofia Essen – the five hundred and twenty-eighth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, bloggers, autobiographers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me.

You can sign up to receive these blog posts daily or weekly so you don’t miss anything. You can contact me and find me on the internetview my Books and I also have a blog creation service especially for, but not limited to, writers.

Unfortunately, as I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t review books but if you have a short story or self-contained novel extract / short chapter (ideally up to 1000 words) that you’d like critiqued and don’t mind me reading it / talking about and critiquing it (I send you the transcription afterwards so you can use the comments or ignore them) 🙂 on my ‘Bailey’s Writing Tips’ podcast, then do email me. They are weekly episodes, usually released Monday mornings UK time, interweaving the recordings between the red pen sessions with the hints & tips episodes. I am now also looking for flash fiction (<1000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays and poetry for Post-weekend Poetry.

 
 

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Guest post: Pinterest by Phyllis Zimbler Miller

Tonight’s guest blog post, on the topic of Pinterest, is brought to you by multi-genre author and interviewee Phyllis Zimbler Miller.

Spending the Day Creating Pins and Boards on Pinterest

After spending time learning about the relatively new social media site Pinterest (still in beta so you need an invite from a friend or the site itself), I am beginning to appreciate its attraction.

Perhaps I’m helped in this understanding because the site is apparently skewing towards women in the Midwest, and I’m a woman who grew up in the Midwest.

I do think that the sharing of photos without the need to friend people as on Facebook is a huge draw. And the site itself is very attractive without all the distracting bells and whistles of Facebook.

And, yes, I’ll admit I had to first watch the video on how to install the “Pin It” bookmarklet.

Once I did install the bookmarklet, though, I “went to town”, as the saying goes, creating boards and pins. (Basically, a pin is one photo with a description and a link while several pins go on one board, which has a theme, such as “My Books and Ebooks”)

I can also see that pinning can become addictive. And, yet, for book authors, service professionals, and business owners, pinning can also become a strategic part of an integrated online marketing strategy.

Here are two uses of Pinterest that I tried:


1. I often write guest blog posts, although I do not link to these posts from any of my websites because I do not want to take people off my own sites. Yet I like the guest posts I have written.

With Pinterest, as long as there is at least one photo (besides my headshot) used on a guest post, I can pin the photo with its automatic link to the blog post to a board on my Pinterest account. You can see the result of this in “My Guest Blog Posts” (I only pinned my most recent guest posts that had photos accompanying the posts.)

2. I have two relatively new blogs, each of which promotes my books and ebooks. I created separate boards for these – “LT. COMMANDER MOLLIE SANDER Blog Posts” and “PZM Blog Posts” – and pinned all the posts of each blog to the blog’s board.

Future efforts:

I have to decide if I want to go back and create a board for my Miller Mosaic Social Media Marketing blog posts. If I do, I will pin only the most recent blog posts.

I did, in a way, get around this by creating a board labeled “My Blogs” that board has a link to each of my major blogs but not links to individual posts.

Question of copyright:

The one area that I am pondering in connection to Pinterest is copyright protection.

I know when I pin a photo from my own blog posts that I have legally obtained the photos I use with my own blog posts. And if someone puts a guest post of mine on his / her site and adds a photo, I see no reason to worry about how that photo was obtained as the photo is not being used on one of my own sites.

But, if I create a pin from someone else’s site with a photo that accompanies a guest blog post of mine, what is my responsibility to the possible copyright holder of that photo?

I am NOT a lawyer so I am only pondering the question of copyright. If anyone would like to weigh in on this question, please do so below in the comments section.

… and / or click on the ‘like’ button if you enjoyed this article. Thank you Phyllis. I knew nothing of Pinterest until you offered me this post and now I know. 🙂

This article originally appeared on Phyllis’ blog http://www.millermosaicllc.com/social-media/pins-boards-pinterest and was replicated with her permission.

Phyllis Zimbler Miller (@ZimblerMiller on Twitter and @ZimblerMiller on Pinterest) has an M.B.A. from The Wharton School and is the co-founder of the marketing consulting company www.MillerMosaicLLC.com, which is now WBENC certified and helps clients effectively use social media and other online marketing strategies.

Check out Phyllis’ books and other projects at www.PhyllisZimblerMiller.com.

    

If you would like to write a writing-related guest post for my blog then feel free to email me with an outline of what you would like to write about. If it’s writing-related then it’s highly likely I’d email back and say “yes please”.

The blog interviews return as normal tomorrow morning with romance author Sarah Fredricks – the three hundred and ninety-second of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, bloggers, autobiographers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me.

You can sign up to receive these blog posts daily or weekly so you don’t miss anything… and follow me on Twitter where each new posting is automatically announced. You can also read / download my eBooks and free eShorts at SmashwordsSony Reader StoreBarnes & NobleiTunes BookstoreKobo and Amazon, with more to follow. I have a new forum, friend me on Facebook, like me on Facebook, connect with me on LinkedIn, find me on Tumblr, complete my website’s Contact me page or plain and simple, email me.  I also now have a new blog creation service especially for, but not limited to, writers.

Unfortunately, as I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t review books but I have a feature called ‘Short Story Saturdays’ where I review stories of up to 2,500 words. Alternatively if you have a short story or self-contained novel extract / short chapter (ideally up to 1000 words) that you’d like critiqued and don’t mind me reading it / talking about and critiquing it (I send you the transcription afterwards so you can use the comments or ignore them) 🙂 on my ‘Bailey’s Writing Tips’ podcast, then do email me. They are weekly episodes, usually released Monday mornings UK time, interweaving the recordings between the red pen sessions with the hints & tips episodes. I am now also looking for flash fiction (<1000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays and poetry for Post-weekend Poetry.

 
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Posted by on June 5, 2012 in ebooks, novels, tips, writing

 

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Post-weekend Poetry 020: ‘The Flame’ by Lesley Fletcher


Welcome to Post-weekend Poetry and the twentieth poem in this series.

This week’s piece is by poet and artist Lesley Fletcher.

The Flame
As the flames die slowly with the night,
Extinguishing the day
Smoke silhouetting through the quiet air
Taking shape of snapshots
Of memories, not long forgotten,
Igniting sweet desires instead;
Of candles burning every night
And romance in the atmosphere;
The scent of rare patchouli
Teasing in the shadows;
Nostrils slightly flared.
Soft rock music fills
The gaps between silent knowing glances
Mismatched glasses toasting
Filled with cheap Chianti
As the bottle gathers wax.
Cracker crumbs fall in between
Well-worn cushions of the couch.
Baby-doll pyjamas barely
Bothering to cover.

&

The night falls inaudibly.
Stealing eyes’ content and gentle smile
Baccarat crystal shattering
Falling from her fragile grip,
Onto the shining marble floor
Mimicking a blood bath
Is Châteauneuf-de-Pape.
Slumped in true abandon
Of this life she’s earned to live
Returning to her heart’s true love
If only in her vivid final dream…
Lasting an eternity
Meeting her rebirth
Embossed upon her soul
As the next life starts de novo
And the flame again ablaze.

I asked Lesley what prompted this piece and she said…

Inspiration Import is the name of the company I set up many years ago without knowing exactly what I would do with it. I just loved the word ‘inspiration’ and of course the ‘import’ part is the vessel which brings the inspiration to me. I have always maintained that my inspiration has come from my art but I realise that this is somewhat of a cop-out. It really comes from my heart. I am a bit of a headline reader and sometimes scattered in many directions but if something touches my heart as far as humanity is concerned it sticks and stays. Many of my stories are experience-based (with) a bit of research and a lot of listening. When I say listening, I mean not just listening to words but to nuances and to emotions. If I am able to provide a piece of art or a story or poem that has the ability to evoke a strong emotional response that further lights my desire, and imagination to write.

Thank you Lesley. Me being me, I honed in on the ‘dark’ and loved the mimicking blood bath. 🙂

Lesley Fletcher is a self-taught artist who realised later in life that her calling was in the field of writing books and producing art with the emphasis on printmaking.

She has published three fully illustrated children’s / young adult books and currently working on a fourth which will also provide space for her various types of art.

The books and all their illustrations both interior and cover work are Lesley’s art.

Her upcoming book, ‘5 Pillars of the Gypsy’ is a combination of art and verse; it being her first book for adult audiences.

Over the past three years she has managed two trips with Habitat For Humanity; one to Tajikistan and one to Jordan. Each of these trips included short stops in Istanbul. As a result she became interested in and had the privilege of learning about Islam and its parallels with Christianity along with cultural customs.

As a volunteer with Literacy Unlimited and Friends for Mental Health, Lesley supports and encourages education as a way to break barriers, through knowledge and understanding. As an adventurous laid back spirit she is very adaptable to a variety of enjoyable experiences and takes delight in every one of them.

Lesley Fletcher can be found on Twitter @gypsyles, LinkedIn, Google+, at her website, http://www.lesleyfletcher.com, and welcomes making new friends in our ever-changing world.

If you’d like to submit your poem (40 lines max) for consideration for Post-weekend Poetry take a look here.

The blog interviews will return as normal tomorrow with romance suspense author Alexa Bourne – the three hundred and sixty-third of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, bloggers, biographers, agents, publishers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me.

You can sign up to receive these blog posts daily or weekly so you don’t miss anything… and follow me on Twitter where each new posting is automatically announced. You can also read / download my eBooks and free eShorts at SmashwordsSony Reader StoreBarnes & NobleiTunes BookstoreKobo and Amazon, with more to follow. I have a new forum and you can follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook, like me on Facebook, connect with me on LinkedIn, find me on Tumblr, complete my website’s Contact me page or plain and simple, email me.  I also now have a new blog creation service especially for, but not limited to, writers.

Unfortunately, as I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t review books but I have a feature called ‘Short Story Saturdays’ where I review stories of up to 2,500 words. Alternatively if you have a short story or self-contained novel extract / short chapter (ideally up to 1000 words) that you’d like critiqued and don’t mind me reading it / talking about and critiquing it (I send you the transcription afterwards so you can use the comments or ignore them) 🙂 on my ‘Bailey’s Writing Tips’ podcast, then do email me. They are weekly episodes, usually released Monday mornings UK time, interweaving the recordings between the red pen sessions with the hints & tips episodes. I am now also looking for flash fiction (<1000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays.

 
2 Comments

Posted by on May 7, 2012 in ebooks, poetry, writing

 

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Bailey’s Writing Tips podcast ep.046

Bailey’s Writing Tips episode 46 went live today and featured three blog posts that I wrote for the following interviewees:

JD Mader – published 18.09.11 on being a writer in the U.K. entitled ‘The view from across the pond‘ and another on the art of interviews (to be published).

Fiona Veich Smith – published 17.01.12 on overcoming writer’s block.

The podcast is available via iTunesGoogle’s FeedburnerPodbean (when it catches up), Podcasters (which takes even longer) or Podcast Alley (which doesn’t list the episodes but will let you subscribe) and this episode lasted 14 minutes and 40 seconds.

Next Monday’s episode will feature three pieces of flash fiction from Bob Frey, Theodore P. Druch and Ralph Murray.

 
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Posted by on January 23, 2012 in ideas, podcast, short stories, writing

 

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