This week I’m spotlighting a lovely member of my Street Team, Connie Cockrell. Connie doesn’t have a review blog like most of my guests, but she’s an author, and a busy woman with some great advice for aspiring writers. Check out Connie and her blog!
1. Tell me what your blog is about/for? How do you use it?
My blog is primarily for my readers. I talk about my writing, about things going on in my life, even everyday madness and frustrations. December is a good example!
2. How did you start writing/blogging?
I started writing in October 2011. My daughter told me about National Novel Writing Month. She was going to give it a try and challenged me to participate too. I had no idea how to start so she gave me Story Engineering by Larry NNNNNN to read. It was mid-October. I managed to outline a story and in November, write it. That felt pretty darn good I have to say. I joined an on-line writer’s group, Forward Motion (http://www.fmwriters.com/zoomfm/
) that I heard about on the NaNo site. It made all the difference.
3. What genre(s) do you write?
I write Modern, SciFi, Westerns, a little bit of everything so far. Since I’m a new writer, I’m trying things out. But two of my novels have been Modern stories.
4. What other things are you involved in besides your own writing (street teams for instance – Lol)?
I’m one Selena Laurence’s street team. It’s fun to help her promote her books. I’m on the Forward Motion site daily in their chat rooms and posting on their extensive forums. It’s a great way to meet people who are working on their writing journey.
5. Who are some of your favorite authors?
I love old school SciFi. I grew up on Heinlein, Asimov, Pohl, Norton, Clarke and others. Later authors include C.J. Cherryh, and Elizabeth Moon and even more recent are Chuck Wendig, Dave Farland and Kristine Katherine Rusch. I don’t stick to just SciFi though. Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum books make me laugh out loud. Who wouldn’t want a read like that.
6. What do you think is the most essential trait to have as a writer?
Perseverance. It doesn’t matter how talented an author is, he or she needs to study the craft and most importantly put themselves in front of the computer, the typewriter, the quill and paper. Whatever method the author uses to get their thoughts out of their brain and onto some communication media, they have to stick with it, daily. Whenever I get a little whiny, start to make excuses about being tired, not feeling like it, I make myself sit down in front of my computer and get 100 words down. That breaks whatever log jam I’m having. Before I know it, I have 500 or 1000 words.
7. Where/how have you learned the most about writing?
My major source of writing lessons have been through Holly Lisle. She’s a mid-list SciFi/Fantasy author that has developed an excellent process for getting a story out of your head and into book form. I’ve taken a few of her classes. The main one being How To Revise Your Novel. (http://howtothinksideways.com/
) That’s the first course I took after that 2011 NaNo. I had a manuscript but even I could tell it needed work. It’s the best money I’ve spent as a writer. I also subscribe to a few experienced Author blogs: Dave Farland does Writing Tips (http://www.davidfarland.net/writing_tips/
), Kristine Katherine Rusch (http://www.kristinekathrynrusch.com/
) provides insights into the writing and publishing world. I also like Chuck Wendig’s site though he uses some foul language at times. (http://terribleminds.com/ramble/blog/
) He offers not only writing advice but writing prompts and offers prizes for the best stories that result from those prompts. I haven’t had the chance yet, but Dean Wesley Smith also offers fantastic classes for authors. (http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/?p=6111
) There are so many others out there, but these are my favorites.
8. Where do you see your blog and your writing heading in the next year?
I have been working on making my site easier to work with for both myself and my readers marketing my books. I’ve started a newsletter sign-up page. I’ll continue to post a free flash fiction story every Friday. I provide links to some of my favorite blogs on the site as well. As for my writing, I will continue to take classes and keep writing. I can see how much I’ve improved in the two years I’ve been writing. I hope to keep that trend going. I have, for the first time ever, written a series which I will begin publishing at the end of January 2014. I’m very excited about this new aspect of writing. It’s a lot of fun to work with a story over a longer period of time.
9. Any predictions about publishing as a whole over the next year?
I think the publishing industry as a whole is in a state of upheaval, just as the music industry was a few years ago. We’re really getting into ‘the customer controls the market’ aspect of publishing. As Independent Publishers, myself included, reach our audience, we’ll have greater ability to satisfy the customer’s desire in stories. I think that’s an excellent thing. As a reader myself, I love the ability to find an author new to me and have access to their backlist of stories. I don’t have to wait for a major retailer to carry it or a big publisher to decide to re-release it. It’s an exciting time in publishing for readers and authors alike.
10. Where can readers and writers find you?
My latest book is a collection of short stories, called Christmas Tales.