Friday, March 28, 2014

Grateful For Writing Opportunities

Inkbok is launching today! Now, please don't mistake this blog for another commercial site, but their whole gig is another way for self-publishers to share their work and get paid for it. So, the real purpose of this blog today it recognition and appreciation for the many avenues that are now available for writers to support themselves by doing what we love to do--write!!  Here are examples:

Inkbok is like an on-line library ($5 bucks a month) that readers can go to and read any posted book. And there is a huge selection. I downloaded Red Nectar, and Scout and Ellie on there are few weeks ago. So, if you are a member, you can read my books and all the other listings whenever you want. They give the authors a percentage of the earnings. Also, the more people who click on books by Heather Leigh, more more money I get. Yowza!

Next is GoodReads--I love them! Members (this is free) get to read reviews posted by other readers so that they can know if a particular book is something they want to spend money on. And then you can also leave a review. There are book chats going on, and you can follow other readers that have similar taste.  Again, my books are on there so this gives me advertising and I can read the critiques about my books, helping me know what to improve upon.

Through GoodReads, I've also done two book giveaways.  Feels awesome to give away my books, receive reviews, and be promoting all at the same time.

Kindle and Amazon work together to offer discounts to people who buy both the ebook and paperbacks, further supporting authors.  In addition, I've done their promotions of free downloads and discounts to spread the word about newly published works.

CreateSpace is available to self-publish your book for free as a paperback. You spend nothing, unless you want to pay for extra services.  The books are available for purchase and are not put together until they are sold. They do all the shipping stuff.  You just promote and let people know about your books and where to find them. I know you've heard of social media!

There are other self-publishing sites, but I chose CreateSpace because they link to Amazon and offer a plethora of promoting tools.  Lulu is great for different formats of your book, like the old classic--the hard cover.

And I can't possibly leave out Facebook as a way to spread the news as to what I am up to with the book situation, as well as support other artists and writers.

This blog is a way for me to express my thoughts on writing, and stories that come up in my life.  It's a great way to share.

My aunt and I have a free blog with illustrated children's stories. She illustrates and I write them. It is our way of giving back to the community at large. Check it out with some kid you know:   There is a new one posted about Alexander Pig and what he is complaining about.  How fun is that, a free site for kids to read stories.

So, I say thank you, thank you, thank you for all the opportunities that are available for writers and artists in todays computer world.  It is a great time to be a writer!

Heather Leigh

Friday, March 21, 2014

The Insanity Of Writing

My friend, Melissa, told me that she loved that I was the ‘mad’ writer, sitting at home, writing away. She asked what inspired me. I asked what inspired her to own a day spa. She replied, “insanity”.
I took a step back in my thoughts and realized that it was the same for me. Writing as a profession is insane. I'm sticking my thoughts to letters on a keyboard and talking to people whom I cannot see—hoping or assuming that they will read it in the future.
Story writing is even more insane. Plucking words out of the air and making a story out of nothing. Following the lives of characters as if they were real.  Discovering plots and actions that are derived from nothingness and spitting them onto the page as though these journeys had actually occurred to real people. My characters have never drank a smoothie or read the newspaper or held someone’s hand and yet I listen to their conversations as though I were sitting at a table next to them, copying down tales of their lives.  Shouldn’t that be classified as psychotic?
If you are doing in your life what gives you pleasure beyond just working for a paycheck, then the same thing inspires us.  Of course, it is acceptable to keep your desire as a hobby and remain at the ‘day job’ to pay the rent. But partaking in your creative side is a must for your health, sanity and happiness.
The creative side does not have to be writing, or decorating a spa, or molding clay on a potter’s wheel. Cleaning houses is filled with beauty if you are imagining how the end result will be—the feeling of contentment that being in a house with everything clean and clutter-free is it’s own relaxation.  I used to love being a food server and bring people an hour of fine food and keeping their needs met.  But really, my guess is that most people have a creative side that they are ignoring.  Rip yours out of the dark hidden cave within and expose it to the light.
I was able to win the life-career lottery in that I found what I love to do before my life was over.  I wish you the same insanity.
Heather Leigh

Friday, March 14, 2014

Surprisingly Terrific Idea

Last week, a friend sent an e-mail that she had a story idea for me. Now, in the history of me telling people that I am a writer, I have received an average of 99% percent of the time being told that they have a great story idea that I should follow up on. While I appreciate their offer, I've never received one that fits what I am into writing about. So I always suggest that they write about it

So when CJ, whom I know because our boys have been friends since the third grade, e-mails me with her idea, my first thought is that I am being spammed, or sent a virus. At the very least, I think that I will be politely telling her that the story is something that she should follow up on--not for me.

Boy, was I wrong.

Not only was she not a spam or a virus, she has a terrific idea that we are running away with. We met for an official business meeting the next morning over coffee at Starbucks (she had coffee, I just kept talking). After presenting her idea in full, I ran off at the mouth of what I had been thinking of to go with her suggestion and then couldn't shut up with what I wanted to do with the characters.

We started out, feeling around in the dark, molding the elusive plot, crafting characters out of thin air, and laughing at the silly things the hero and protagonist could do together and against one another.  Turns out, this is going to be a really fun book to read and write.

The extra whipped cream on this whole shinboggon is that CJ is a born media marketing genius.  That woman knows how to get the word out to the right audience about any subject known to man/woman/animal.  And she enjoys doing this. In my mind, that is a crazy awesome skill to possess but more difficult than gaining and keeping the respect of my teenage sons.

And if I am able to write half as well as she seems to think I can, well, I can tell you that we would be on Oprah for our success story if Oprah were still on television. Perhaps our story will be so danged impressive that she will do a special on the Internet about us. Could happen.  Or maybe Ellen Degeneres because I always thought she was a funny woman. Oh, no wait, on that show by Zach Something--the guy from those Hangover movies who is hysterical.  My son just showed me a YouTube video of him interviewing Obama and Zach Something is a comic genuis. Well, all these interviews I'm dreaming about could come to fruition, could happen. Of course, I have to write the story first. There is always that.

But I did start writing it and the beginning is really funny, the middle does not entirely suck and the ending (which I will write this weekend) has great potential.

I wrote most of it so far in the format of a boy just telling non-stop what has been happening to him. There are some pretty good lines and I think there may even be something that might possibly make somebody laugh someday. Could happen. Once that is done, I'll go back through and see what format it will go in. Also, have a more firm grasp as to the main character's personality.  This is backwards from how I am supposed to work. I should start with the personality, and then write the book. But when I got to the page to start an outline and write out personalities of the characters, my fingers started to type a story and then as I was reading what my fingers were typing, I found that I did not hate what was going on.  When people ask how a writer writes, I think the truth is that we are all just idiots feeling our way in the dark and trying to figure out how we write and then hope that what is on the page doesn't suck too badly.  At least, that is the truth for me.

So, as soon as possible, probably within a few months, I'll have a story that is ready to be critiqued by a writing group. I'll let you know if any big epiphanies come up as to the story and how to write a story. But don't hold your breath. I don't want to be responsible for you winding up in an emergency room from lack of oxygen.

Heather Leigh