Posts Tagged ‘writing’


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Nine months ago, something happened that I’d been working very long and hard for: Beautiful Monster got published. It was picked up by Damnation Books, a wonderful publisher in California that I absolutely adore. There was much to be excited about as Monster went through the process of publication, and I didn’t want to waste any time. I immediately started planning my future as a writer. I began revising The White Room, a manuscript I wrote before Beautiful Monster which needed some work before being an acceptable candidate for publication. On top of this, I began an equally exciting top-secret side project—that I can’t really get into at this point—that I’m totally stoked about. Things were going swimmingly—my days and nights absorbed in the fictional worlds of my own creation—until, about three months ago, something else happened: I hit a brick wall. And it wasn’t writer’s block.

This brick wall was far scarier than writer’s block because at least there are things you can do to lubricate a stubborn story. What I faced was something I never expected to: doubt… and not the doubt that I could be a writer—that’s a given—but the doubt that I wanted to be a writer.

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So, I stopped writing—which given my life circumstances at the time—wasn’t all that hard. I was in the middle of moving—again—and I’d met some fascinating writers from the old-school who made me feel like one of them. It was easy to coast for a while, but in truth, I wasn’t coasting at all. I was thinking. I was wondering how, after so many years of dreaming of this, of working toward this, I could possibly feel this way once those dreams were finally coming true. But that’s where I was at, and it wasn’t very fun.

After a while, the people around me started asking questions. They wanted to know why I wasn’t writing. I never told them the truth. I didn’t want to be influenced in any way because I knew this was something I needed to figure out for myself. I was working, just not in any way that was visible. In those months, I produced nothing that would help my career in any way, but I did strip down the layers of who I am, and I did figure a few things out.

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I figured out that the glitter is gone, the shine has dulled, and reality has cast its shadow over the dream. I have a different understanding of what it means to be a writer now—it’s not a better understanding—just a different understanding. I figured out that writing is—in truth—a lot of time spent sitting in front of a computer. It’s picking up the thousands of little pieces of a scattered story and spending hours, days, weeks, and months trying to fit them together in the most cohesive, relatable—and salable—way. It’s sacrificing a lot of time with friends and family. It’s being asked outright in public settings how much money you make. It’s work. It’s a daily decision to sit down and create something that may or may not ever even see the light of day. It’s the choice to devote a lot of time and effort to an entirely unknown outcome. It’s a risk.

I realized that the glamour of being a writer—if there ever was any—doesn’t shine quite as brightly as the world would like to believe. I’ve met my heroes, and they’ve now become my friends—people I talk to on the phone, exchange emails with, and discuss the most tedious details of my life with. This doesn’t make them unglamorous, this simply makes them real. It makes all of this real—and that’s not a bad thing—it’s just a different thing.

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In the beginning, when this was still a dream, I made some conscious choices. I would steer clear of any unattainable expectations. I would not put anyone on a pedestal or hold my heroes to superhuman standards… and in truth, I’m neither disenchanted by the path nor in any way disappointed in anyone I’ve met. But the dream, as it manifests into reality, is grating and unsettling… it feels a little like walking off a ledge. It made me decide I needed to take stock. I needed to step back and look at writing from a realistic perspective. I needed to then ask myself if this was ultimately going to make me very happy. So, that’s what I did… and the past couple weeks have finally brought things into enough focus that I can proceed in what I’m confident is the right direction.

Ultimately, nothing has changed for me except my approach to it. The dream is still intact. Somehow, I still want this, but now I know that only the love of this—and nothing else—is strong enough to withstand the demands and lack of certainty that writing requires. There isn’t enough ego to uphold this—there isn’t enough money to justify it—and there isn’t enough comfort to sustain it. But at the core of who I am, this is what I do—what I’ve always done—and it gets me closer to happiness than anything ever has before. And perhaps the greatest persuasion has been the incredible and unbearable gnawing, gnashing need to write even when I’ve given myself permission to break from it for a while. If nothing else, this has slowly convinced me that my writing days are far from being over. I’ve made some great self-discoveries these past months, but that hasn’t stopped the stories from tumbling in, the characters from blathering on, or the fingers from seeking the keys.

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I now have what I believe is a deeper, more accurate understanding of being a writer. It’s not pretty anymore, but it’s mine, and it’s real. I’ve learned that even when I’m “not” writing, I’m still writing, and so—at the risk of sounding melodramatic—how can I possibly not write? I can’t, but I do have a choice in how I proceed. I can either gather up the scattered pieces of story, glue them all together, and try to make something out of this that matters… or I can return to the days when jotted-down descriptions, disjointed dialogue, and fragmented portions of plot and poetry haunted me from hundreds of loose scraps of paper that invaded and overran any space within ten feet of me.

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For me, that choice is clear. After giving my soul a thorough strip-search, I’m realizing there isn’t really anything else I can do and be happy. The dream may be over now… the real world may have settled in… but there are still stories to be told.

And I’ll do my best to tell them.


~I’m older this time…

Wiser than I was the last time I walked these narrow halls

 And roamed these careless rooms

Where nothing of my own surrounds me…

Again.

The ghost of the other me–the younger me–

The me who caught the dream by its wings and trapped it in a mason jar…

That me drifts down the corridors of this towering house

And presses tight against the walls,

Merging with the darkest shadows of the unkempt, lamp-lit den,

And unfolds only in those fleeting, fugitive moments

Just before the bloom of sunrise licks the tips of the mountains~

As if to remind me

Of the thousands of days gone by

Since I was still

And dreaming for the sake of dreaming.

Thousands of days.

My eyes crinkle when I smile now,

And silver’s deft and silent fingertips have found the cleft of my chin.

 I don’t remember when I last anticipated the morning,

Or smiled back at my past-tense self

As we passed on the stairs.

And inspiration comes hard these days…

I write ~

But it’s not about me anymore…

It’s about you now.

Maybe it always was.

But this is what I wanted.

Yesterday,

I dreamed my heart hollow.

Today,

I pushed the dream down without even enough affection or care

To check it for a pulse.

And tomorrow,

Maybe then I’ll wake up…

But tonight…

I don’t want to dream anymore.

~June 19th, 2013~


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 The blackness of my heart’s in bloom

The room turns red with rage

I watch with steady, deadened eyes

Fury takes the stage

From the heat that surges from my skin

Rise mirages of control

But behind these eyes I’m wild and

Unworthy and un-whole

A ruptured firecracker makes

Less sound than my mind

Hot beneath the collar now

I am rancor, unrefined

A breath to steady my revenge

A smile to smudge the stain

A glimpse within those righteous eyes

Diagnoses me profane

A cigarette with trembling hands

And a silent vow outside

That ever if you walk my way

All grace will be denied

 © Jerod Scott

 


Well, I hope you’re happy. I’m dead.

Not really, but my name is. Anyone who’s been watching this blog has probably noticed the sudden change in my name–from “Jared S. Anderson” to “Jerod Scott.” There are a few reasons for this, most of them having to do with marketing and advertising–and only a little bit of it having to do with the fact that I really want to have a funeral for myself. Just kidding. Kind of.

In truth, I was perfectly content using my legal name, but I ran into several problems  which have made it obvious to me that I needed a new one.

The first–and main–reason for this change is the simple fact that there are too many Jared S. Anderson’s–in and out of the writing community–making it impossible for me to set myself apart. This problem made itself clear to me when I received a couple of emails regarding the gay pornography  I had allegedly written. I have not written any gay pornography, and while I am not entirely turned off by the idea of dabbling in some homoerotic horror one day, I don’t wish to be confused with the other author(s) who have written in the genre by the same name. I’m sure said author(s) would appreciate this is well. After all, if I were any other author, I wouldn’t necessarily want to be associated with me either. It’s just that, being me, well, I don’t have much choice. It’s very hard to pretend I don’t know who I am… folks just don’t buy it.

On top of the name being completely forgettable, it was also a little too long for my taste. I don’t want publishers to have to write my name in tiny letters for the sake of fitting it onto the cover of a book. In fact, I’d like to see my name take up a good 95% of the cover–perhaps just MY name and maybe a small image in the lower right hand corner of two stick figures knife-fighting or something–I don’t care–so long as they make sure my name is center stage. But that’s just wishful thinking on my part. Fortunately for the publishing industry, I don’t control the cover art for my books, and I don’t think they’d agree with my vision, so I have to take what I can get–and a shorter name is my best hope.

Privacy is another issue.  I’m beginning to realize the potential hazards of being even a small-time and relatively insignificant public figure. While I’m certainly no rock star (YET!) some recent events have reminded me that you can’t be too careful, and that maybe putting my real information “out there” isn’t such a good idea. I don’t know where “out there” is, but I know it’s close, and I know “they” are from “out there” and that “they” are watching…

Finally, the last nail in Jared S. Anderson’s coffin–as it were–was the website issue. I need to have a website, and it must be as simple and memorable as possible, meaning it should have my name in the web address. However, due to the over-population of Jared S. Anderson’s in this world, there has been no possible way for me to obtain a website without ending up using some address that has nothing to do with me. www.thatwriterguywithareallycommonname.com wasn’t taken, but let’s be honest: who is going to think of that when they go to look me up?

So… I decided on Jerod Scott. First, it is my name–or at least half of it–even though the spelling is a little odd. (The reason for that, by the way, is that dropping the “Anderson” still wasn’t enough to set me apart by a long shot. I still had to tweak my name to get something that wasn’t taken.)

Yes, it’s been quite a sad past few days, what with my passing over and all… but the good news is I get to have pinatas at my funeral!

…So Jerod Scott it is. And if this doesn’t work, I am going with my initial instinct and adopting the pseudonym Egburt Xavier Slopcox the Third.

 


They are legends; they are gods

They are glamorous and tanned

They seem faithfully true-blue

When they smile and shake your hand

Shadier than evergreens

And soon you will be bored

With the ageless verbatim sameness

That has become both shield and sword…

They are cats among the pigeons

Behind self-sacrificing tactics

And their affection for your virtue

Is one of many such theatrics…

But it’s a revelation of sorts

Having friends like these

Though it’s hard to watch your back

When you’re on your hands and knees

So be careful who you please

When you’re among the likes of those

It’s the edge and not the depths

That keeps you on your toes…

And should you change your mind

 Should you fizzle and burn-out

You’d be wise to taste your words

Before you spit them out

Because they don’t want you to win

They won’t smile when you succeed

They will keep you by their side

As long as you have what they need

They’ll be clinging to your coattails

And they will beg to come along

More afraid you’re moving up

Rather than simply moving on

© 2004 Jerod Scott


(more…)


Love

Dianna Love is the New York Times best-selling author of the Slye Temp novels, the Belador series and the Bad Agency series with Sherrilyn Kenyon as well as several other novels and series. I discovered her by accident a few years back, and it was one of the best mistakes I’ve ever made. I’ve been a huge fan of her work from the first sentence of hers that I read.

I was overjoyed when she agreed to do an interview for me, but when she sent me signed copies of several of her books, and said she wanted to do a giveaway on my blog, I was ecstatic. Dianna is one of the kindest, most open and giving person I’ve met in a long time, and her assistant, Cassondra Murray, whom I’ve also become acquainted with, is just as great.

For today, Dianna will be around to interact with her readers, answer questions, and let them get to know her a little. Just leave a comment. Also, those who leave comments today (February 14th, 2013) will be put into a drawing and three people will win one of three possible prizes. Dianna will give away a copy of LAST CHANCE TO RUN, JUSTIFIABLE, and  TIME TRAP (one book to each of three winners who comment.) She will also include a Keeper Kase with each one.

Before we get to the interview, here is a synopsis of each of the novels she will be giving away.

TIME TRAP:

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Her memory is blank.  Her future’s in question.  Her power is dangerous.

Waking up in an unknown world, Rayen learns only that she’s seventeen and is hunted by a sentient beast.  Terrified that she may never learn  who she really is or find her way back to her home, she’s captured in a  land that is at times familiar even if the people and the structures  seem alien.  When local law enforcement delivers her to a private  school, she’s labeled as a Native American runaway, and Rayen discovers a secret with deadly repercussions.  Forced into an unlikely alliance  with a computer savvy street punk and a gifted oddball girl to save  their world – and the future – Rayen finds the key to an identity that  no person would want.

JUSTIFIABLE:

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Children are missing, adults are  being murdered and a city is on the brink of exploding.  The key to  saving lives is a secret whispered in confession.

Once a beloved, award-winning investigative journalist, Riley Walker  now anchors for a television station rated the worst in Philadelphia.  That’s how it works when a top newsman makes an epic mistake in front of the whole world. The busier Riley stays, the less he thinks about the  one decision that will haunt him forever.  His vow?  Never get involved again.  That works until a killer uses Riley’s past against him, and targets a  child the world has forgotten. Riley is the only one who can save him,  but when Riley digs deep for the truth, he uncovers evidence fingering a powerful player no one will believe is guilty. Dangerous politics pit  Riley against a serial killer, and threaten all he’s fought to regain

To save the life of a child and stop a killer on a savage murder  spree, Riley must fight an enemy far greater than the tide of public  anger rolling against him. He’ll have to face his own demons, and the  horror of the child who died because the last time…Riley was wrong.

and LAST CHANCE TO RUN:

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To an undercover agent, she’s a Person of Interest. He’s interested.

Escaping the compound of a deadly international felon–with a fortune in rare, stolen coins hidden on her body–elite athlete Angel Farentino has to make the most important run of her life. Literally. With her father in prison, where he belongs, and a prior undeserved conviction hanging over her head, she has nowhere to turn and no one to trust. Definitely not law enforcement who railroaded her through a judicial nightmare. One step ahead of lethal men and dogs on her trail, she runs into the arms of a dark stranger willing to help her if she’d let him. But that would only get the sexy pilot killed. Between figuring out who’s sabotaging his undercover work for the DEA and trying to save his baby sister from herself, Zane Jackson has enough on his plate. The last thing he needs is to get entangled with a woman who’s treading on the wrong side of the law. But when the long-legged distraction races into the middle of his operation and stows away on his plane, a primal need to protect forces Zane to risk everything, starting with his heart.
Just leave a comment and be eligible to win!
And now, for Dianna’s interview. Thank you, Dianna, for the wonderful interview, and thank you, Cassondra, for your kindness and hard work.
Dianna Love Blogs with Jared Anderson Feb 14th 2013
Q: I’ve read that you never intended to be a published author, that one day you just wrote down a story that had been playing in your mind. What made you decide to write this story down?
*** I spent many years working alone way up in the air painting large murals.  I never liked listening to the radio (before Sirius FM) so I’d make up stories in my head to keep myself entertained during work days that lasted twelve to fifteen hours.  Then I stopped climbing so much and thought I’d write down the one that had been coming back to me over and over.

 Q: What was the story about?

*** It was about a woman on the run who was carrying a fortune in rare coins that someone else stole.  She has to stay away from the law until she can prove she’s innocent, but she stows away on the charter airplane of a man working undercover for law enforcement.  The story was published as a short romantic suspense, but  I’ve recently gotten back the rights to that book, rewritten it as a romantic thriller and put it out under a new title..but more about that later.

Q: What was your journey to publication like?

**** I was fortunate in that I sold the first book I wrote, but anyone who’s been in this business for any length of time knows that’s not ever “all the story.” Right after I sold, my first senior editor was moved out of that position and the new one who came in was entirely different to work with and we never could make a connection.  I eventually realized I was writing books that were too big for what that house published, so I switched gears and went in another direction toward romantic thrillers.  At that same time, I was also working on an urban fantasy series that I kept pitching, but was constantly  told was too unusual.   Fast forward six years and the urban fantasy genre had done some growing.  The Belador series sold at that point.  Regardless of what genre I’m writing at any particular moment, there is always a suspense/thriller element.

Q: Can you describe your usual writing process?

*** There are plotters and pantsers (seat-of-the-pants writers), but I call myself a hybrid.  I’m always telling writers to find “their own  process” and go with it.  All that matters, in my opinion, is producing a great story.  I’m a type-A person, so I prefer to plot out complex threads.  I generally start with brainstorming an idea then I write a couple chapters to get a feel for the characters, and then I start plotting.  If know I won’t write myself into a corner, that allows me the freedom to be as creative as I want when I’m laying down pages.

Q: How do you know when an idea is a good one?

*** I’ve never been asked that and love this question!   When I hit on an idea for several major surprises in a story, or something that will make a story very different, I get really pumped.  That’s the moment that I can’t wait to begin telling the new story.  I have to be entertained first if I’m going to write it. If it becomes slow or dull anywhere I stop and back up to where I was last excited about it, figure out where something isn’t working, fix it and move ahead.  I’m like a kid who is not easily entertained, which I think is a good thing because if I can write something that holds me, then I feel good about it holding the ultimate audience–the readers.

Q: Have you ever written a book that you were dissatisfied with, and why were you dissatisfied?

***When I was first writing I tried my hand at writing a character who was a beta male and found out quickly that I sucked at that, so I tossed that book.  I enjoy the high action of black ops type characters and thrive on putting characters into difficult physical and emotional situations, then figuring out how to get them out of the jams I’ve thrown them into.

Q: Have you ever read a book you wished you’d written, if so, what book, and why?

***I’ve read a lot of books that I’ve admired, but haven’t wished I’d written them so much as wished I’d thought of the clever idea that inspired the story.  Like the plots that Tom Clancy and James Rollins have written or the plot for The Sixth Sense or the Bourne series…or that last A-Team movie.

Q: Aside from writing, you enjoy fishing and riding motorcycles. These are very different activities. What is it about each of them that turns your crank?

***I was obviously a tomboy growing up.  I fished from the time I could hold anything in my hands and rode motocross bikes in my teens.  I still love to fish, especially light tackle, because it’s quiet and exciting at the same time.  With saltwater fishing, you never know what might bite.  I’m riding a BMW motorcycle these days and screaming along the highway is almost like flying on the ground.  I forget about everything when I fish and ride my bike. Those are two great ways to give my brain some down time, even though I do plot stories while I ride.  Then there’s writing, which is something I practically breathe.  I need to be creative and I love puzzles, which is what a complex thriller is to me.  I must have a challenge at all times.  It’s just part of my makeup.  Writing is one of the most difficult and wonderful challenges I’ve ever come across and hope to be doing it until my last day on earth.

Q: Which of your characters do you feel is the most dynamic and life-like?

*** Right now, I would say Evalle Kincaid, who is the key player in the Belador urban fantasy series.  She is so flawed and so loyal and so determined that it’s easy to cheer for her.  She fights for everything she gets and is shunned by many, yet she’s got a heart of gold and makes the hard choices even when she’s the one with the most to lose.

Q: If you could meet one of your own characters in the flesh, who would you choose to meet and what would you say to him or her?

***I would like to meet Angelina Farentino and thank her for inspiring me to become an author. She is the female protagonist in my first suspense story—the one I mentioned earlier.  I first wrote the story as a full-length romantic suspense, but cut the book down to a shorter novel to fit the publisher’s criteria.  I got the rights back last year, and I’ve just revised the story back to a larger, high-concept romantic thriller.  The new book is LAST CHANCE TO RUN, and was released in December as the prequel to my new Slye Temp romantic thriller series.  Angel and I have come a long way together.

Q: Have you ever based a character off someone you didn’t like and done bad things to them?

***No. I like creating really deadly villains and having the freedom to make them pay without feeling any hesitation or remorse.

Q: What is it like being a New York Times bestselling author?

*** I feel very fortunate to have books on the NYT and USA Today bestseller lists.  I’m humbled and thrilled to have reached this point in my career, and thank every person who has ever read one of my books.  I spend a lot of time on the road talking to readers and writers in an effort to give back for what so many have given to me.

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Q: You have collaborated with Sherrilyn Kenyon on several works. What do you most love about working with her?

***Laughing.  We met when my first book was out and we started touring together for her books over the next year.  It was during one of those trips when we’d just returned at two in the morning from a signing that we were talking to wind down and the subject of the BAD Agency series came up. I started brainstorming an idea for the series, because I love to brainstorm.  Sherrilyn liked it and suggested we co-write.  My answer?  Well, my mama drowned the dumb kids. 🙂

Q: What is the best thing about collaborating with another author?

***Those moments of discovery where someone comes up with a great element that you didn’t think of or the other person has a suggestion that takes the story in a direction that really jacks up the tension.

Q: What is the most challenging thing about collaborating with another author?

***I’ve spoken to a lot of writers and tell them to be careful about collaborating just because they are “good friends.”  If anything, that’s dangerous to the friendship.  The one thing I said to Sherri was that our friendship meant more to me than a contract and she agreed.  If the first book had created problems for us, there would not have been a second, but we’ve just released number six.  So the most challenging things are being secure enough to allow each other to edit at will, and trusting each other to do the right thing by the book.  When we started, we made a deal on one important thing – no sacred cows.  It didn’t matter who wrote which words – everything was up for revising or editing.

Q: What advice would you give to two writers who were contemplating a collaborative novel?

***I sort of answered that in the previous question, but I would add that it’s important to get documentation in place for the terms of the collaboration and what would happen if one of the two dies.  Make sure to go to literary or entertainment attorneys familiar with the business.

Q: What do you consider the highlight of your career as a novelist?

***Hitting the New York Times over and over again never gets old, but the first time I was asked to be the keynote for a large reader event was quite amazing.  I’ve given other keynotes since then, but it’s that first one when you’re so flattered to be asked and amazed when you walk in to a packed room.

Q: Which part of the writing process is hardest for you?

***I love to brainstorm and work out the puzzles of each plot, and I enjoy writing the scenes.  I write pretty clean so revising isn’t usually that big of a deal.  All that said, I get so caught up in the action and emotion in the first draft that it’s not until the second run through, or the polish, that I focus more closely on the physical descriptions and setting.  I know what they look like and I can see every detail as though it was a movie running through my head, but I have to work at remembering to include those things.

Q: What are you working on now?

*** I’m writing on my new Slye Temp series.   A blown CIA operation in the UK destroyed an elite mercenary black ops unit two years ago. Surviving members disappeared to heal their wounds, and have now resurfaced as part of Slye Temp, an agency contracting security work with corporate America.  At least, that’s what goes on above ground.  LAST CHANCE TO RUN was the prequel, and the other three books will be released this year.  NOWHERE SAFE  will be out this month—February 25th.

I’m very excited about a new venture into Young Adult fiction written for ages 14+.  I just released TIME TRAP, book one in the Red Moon series, under the pseudonym Micah Caida (co-authored with Mary Buckham).  It’s an epic sci-fi/fantasy adventure that will appeal to fans of The Hunger Games.  Early readers from age 12 to age 50, both male and female, have said “it’s like nothing I’ve ever read before.”

I also just released my first mainstream thriller, which was a collaboration with former NBC anchor Wes Sarginson.  JUSTIFIABLE is Book One of the Riley Walker novels, which blend Wes’s experience in investigative journalism, and Dianna’s experience writing thrillers.

Happy Valentine’s Day to all the readers out there!  I hope every one of you finds your perfect hero or heroine.