Guest Post: On Writing & Doing What You Love by Megan Cutler

iolf-current-1000Goodreads/Amazon

syn

When a mysterious island appears off the coast of San Francisco, two intrepid academics risk everything to discover its secrets. Literature professor Catilen Taylor has struggled all her life with the ability to sense others’ emotions. The only person comfortable with her eccentricities is Damian Cooke, who studies an ancient art he calls ‘magic.’

Beyond the military barricade they discover a paradise unspoiled by modern advances, ruled by the enigmatic Sentomoru, who invites them to share the wonders of his bathhouse. But as the travelers strive to unravel the island’s secrets, Catilen senses danger stalking their every step.

Neither Catilen nor Damian can guess how long the island will remain on Earth. If they can’t solve its riddles, and untangle themselves from a growing web of strife quickly, they may be trapped wherever the island goes when it vanishes. Is the island the paradise it promises? Or does a nightmare lurk beneath the surface?

guest

People always want to know when you discovered you were a writer. Maybe some people have a giant ah-ha moment where it all clicks for them, but for me it was a slow process of discovery. In a way, writing was always a part of my life. People used to talk constantly about how much I wrote for assignments in elementary school. Like it was an expectation that any story I wrote would be twice as long as the rest – and, of course, I was eager to deliver.

Sometime in middle school, I was invited to partake in a special class centered around writing. It got me out of other classes I liked less, which was the main reason I liked it at the time. That and the teacher was incredibly laid back. He encouraged us to do whatever made us comfortable during writing time, which meant lying on the floor, sitting under tables, and sometimes being able to sit in the hall if we were quiet. All the things usually forbidden to school kids that age. Sometimes he would sit at the front of the room, play his guitar and sing us his songs while we wrote. Some of my fondest school memories came from that class.

I learned many of the basic principles of writing in that class. Always write in pen, our teacher told us, so that the words are permanent, concrete. Never cross them out so darkly you can’t see what you originally wrote (a single line through will do). Never delete, always save. Always date your work. Our teacher encouraged us to let words flow without judgment, to write whatever we felt like that day, whatever came into our minds or felt right. We didn’t talk much about editing in that class – those were lessons I learned later – but I did learn to let go, to write words without worrying about who would be looking over my shoulder in the days to come (a lesson I would have to re-learn in my adult years).

We shared our stories with the class. Mine was about a girl named V (or perhaps her name only started with a V and I can no longer remember it). She built a time machine. I can’t remember why she wanted to travel through time, but I do remember her parents were totally cool with it. As each person read their story aloud, we wrote comments on little slips of paper to share what we thought. I kept all the ones people wrote for me. I still have them tucked away in a folder.

By high school I was hiding writing notebooks underneath the notebooks I took my class notes in (not that it stopped me from getting into trouble). I had characters I turned to when I was angry and characters who comforted me when I was sad. Snow days were a great boon; a chance to write all day without interruption. I had grand plans by then, dreams of being a bestselling author by the time I was twenty-five.

Of course, life never works out the way you plan. I was closer to thirty when I published my first novel in 2015. But no matter what else I did with my life (college, working in IT), writing was always lurking in the background. Always the ultimate goal.

My first book, Island of Lost Forevers, is a tale about two college professors exploring a mysterious island that appears off the coast of San Francisco. They want to know where it came from and where it will go when it leaves. But though the island appears to be paradise, a nightmare may be lurking just beneath the surface. It has nothing to do with my high school scribbles but, without them, I never would have made it this far.

author

meganprofilecircle

You can find my work at megancutler.net. I post random musings every Monday and free short fiction every Friday. You can also hang out with me on Twitter and on Facebook. Island of Lost Forevers, and its two sequels, are available on Amazon and Kindle Unlimited; plus Island of Lost Forevers is getting a paperback in July!

Exciting reading, 

Jordan

 

 

Calling All #Tampa Area #YA #Writers

WANTED

Are you a writer? An aspiring writer? Do you write YA or New Adult? Do you live in the Tampa region? 

Would you like to be part of a writing group designed specifically for those genres? 

Are you curious about the ins and outs of the publishing process? From drafting to querying to publication and everything that comes between?

If you answered yes to these questions, we would love to meet you! 

For those of you who follow this blog, you know that I’m a reader, and a writer. I’ve been working hard on my WIP and intend to query next month. 

My friend, Ginger, and I are looking for fellow writers who are focused and aim to go through the whole hellish process with the ultimate goal of publication. 

We’d love to sprint, critique, hang out, and embrace all things writing. If you’re in the region and looking to get serious about your writing goals, we would love to motivate and cheer you on. 

If you’re interested, please comment or shoot me an email at yabookmadness@gmail.com

Looking forward to talking to you,

Jordan

When to Let an Idea Go

The short and sweet version of this post is: never. 

I’m a firm believer in the power of ideas and that there is no such thing as an idea that is ALL bad or can’t be reformed or edited to become something better or even incredible. 

Like most things, ideas are a bare minimum, a foundation, if you will, to build off and craft into something bigger, clearer, and more precise. 

Think of ideas like Legos. 

One Lego by itself is not all that impressive. Seriously, what can you even do with one Lego? But when you add in Legos of different sizes, colors, and shapes, you can build something amazing. The best thing about Legos (ideas) is that you can take them apart, rebuild, and shift them around into something different until you create something you can fall in love with. 

Ideas aren’t nailed down, limited, or cemented into a final form. They aren’t sculptures and even sculptures can be broken, keep that in mind. The only limitations on ideas are those we place on ourselves. We think that ideas have to be binary. One thing or another, but with time and care, they transform into something magical. 

Okay, if the Lego analogy hasn’t won you over, how about Stephen King?

If you’ve read On Writing (if not YOU SHOULD GO GET IT RIGHT NOW), you may remember a section on character creation. Stephen King and many writers (people, let’s not limit) constantly get ideas for characters, whether it’s in the shower, inspired by an image or a person on the street. Those inklings are fuel for future projects. WRITE THEM DOWN. Put in on a phone memo, pop open a notebook, whether it’s a handful of keywords or a full on description, put it on paper/virtual paper. Stephen King puts his on notecards and saves them for later. He picks them out of the box at random and writes. Um…that’s something I can totally get behind and how fun is that?

Alright, I’m not just here to spout Stephen King’s wisdom, I swear I have a point. Stephen King’s tips on characters can also apply to ideas. Write them down. Come back to them later if you want. Store them in a cute index card holder. Whatever. OR nurture them. Deliberate. Think of how you can develop those ideas. Don’t be afraid to be extremely detailed or only have a bare bones idea. Writing, getting it down on paper alone, will help with that development. 

Ideas are transformative. Don’t throw them away. Save them, shape them, build on them until they become something you can work with, something you can be proud of. You don’t have to use them right away or ever use them, but having them there, chilling out is a comfort in itself. 

I can’t tell you how many times people have told me to give up on ideas. I used to get mad. Because who can understand your ideas, your process better than you can? But I realized that not everyone is the same. Some people believe that letting go is helpful and if that’s you, do what is BEST and true for you. I am not that person and I also think that people should always weigh their options and make decisions that will be best for themselves. You do you. 

Always,

Jordan

2016 Reading Challenge

Welcome to the first ever YA Book Madness created reading challenge! 

Designed with Young Adult books in mind, this 2016 challenge has a huge span and great variety to broaden your reading horizons and help you find hidden YA gems. 

52 challenges. That’s one book a week. It’s perfectly doable, though it might take a little hunting. 

I’ll be on this journey right along with you and keep you posted when I complete a challenge!

Let me know if you’re participating in this challenge or any others. Interact and have fun!

Without further ado…

2016 challenge

Happy reading, 

Jordan

Cover Reveal: A Love Restored-Amy Miles

Title: A Love Restored
Author: Amy Miles
Series: Cherished Hearts
Release Date: June 28, 2015 
cooltext1889161239 copy
A woman who spends her life on the sidelines.
A man desperate to discover his true worth.
A woman who seeks love in all the wrong places.
 
Ashlyn Doyle has spent her life trying to blend in. A sweet wallflower by nature, she is unaccustomed to the spot light, but as the personal assistant to a bestselling romance author with a drive to enjoy life to its fullest, she throws herself into her work.  With a hectic touring schedule to maintain, a party animal boss to keep in line and the task of discovering the perfect eye candy to grace the cover of Ender’s Betrayal, Ashlyn is in for more than she bargained for.
 
Determined to make his mark on the world, Slade Collins leaps at the opportunity to audition as cover model for Tamsin Archer’s newest novel.  Tales of Tamsin’s wild parties, affinity for hot men and the wild success that has sky rocketed every former model to fame leads Slade to use his sly smile and British accent to quickly attract the attention of both Tamsin and her shy assistant. But the faster Slade moves toward the dream he so desperately desires, the more he begins to realize fame isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. 
 
Tamsin Archer loves to party, drink to excess and enjoy every drop of success her name has afforded her. With Ashlyn’s firm grip on the reigns of their five city tour, Tamsin soon settles in to the task of bedding her newest cover model, Slade Collins but soon discovers that all the drunken hookups and empty wine bottles in the world can’t fill the void that she feels.
 
Sometimes you have to learn to love yourself before you can love someone else. 
cooltext1889178114 copy
 
 
Follow on Twitter: @AmyMilesBooks
 
Instagram: Amy Miles Books
 
 

Sign up for my newsletter to get all the latest updates!  http://bit.ly/1jkG1Hn


 
Pleasant reading, 
cooltext1915142005 copy