Do you remember the children's book Caps for Sale? My brother and I used to read that and act out the story. We loved how the main character shook his fist at the monkeys. So funny!
I started thinking about the number of hats an author is required to wear...and I don't think that man in Caps for Sale has enough hats to cover it! As I begin to pull together content to teach a writing course, I figured this might be a good place to explore those "hats."
Hat #1--Dreamer. This is fundamental to a writer. Without dreams and imagination, even if you're writing non-fiction, you're sunk.
Hat #2--Architect/Construction Worker. You get to put this baby (your book) together. You get to develop it from the ground up--character, plots, setting. It's a fresh slate!
Hat #3--Delivery Guy. If you don't have the basics of writing down, you won't be able to properly deliver your story. This includes grammar, composition, story structure, vocabulary, and so much more.
Hat #4--Loyal Fan. Writing a book takes dedication and passion. If you don't love your story, why are you writing it? If you can't stand to live in your world for the two weeks (yes, some people are maniacal writers!) to ten years it may take you to write this baby, let it go.
Hat #5--Business Man. If you're lucky enough to have representation to make heads or tails of contracts, congratulations. But you still have to know a little about the business aspect of publishing.
Hat #6--Marketing Guru. These days, writing the book itself isn't enough. You have to sell, promote, raise a flag, buy a billboard to get even the smallest bit of attention for your book.
Hat #7--Suave Celebrity. Someday, you'll have someone so excited to meet a published author (you!). It's a pretty awesome feeling, I must say. But keep it cool. Wait until you get home to freak out with joy. Handle book signings with grace and dignity. Be kind to those who come.
Hat #8--Freelance Agent. Opportunities to network (goodness, I don't like that word as a verb) are all around. Even if you have an agent, always be ready to pitch your book. You never know who you might encounter!
Hat #9--Teacher. You will come to a point where you realize, yes, you still have much to learn, but you've got a firm hold on those basics mentioned before. You can do something with this...like help other aspiring authors learn!
Hat #10--Realist. People will approach you with their ideas. Certainly encourage them, but don't feel obligated to take on something you don't want to do. This also applies to you, the author. Don't allow your brain to hype you into believing you're the next J.K. Rowling. If you are, fantastic! But publishing takes a long time and a lot of hard work. Don't be afraid to get dirty.
Those are just a few. How about Researcher, Manager, Organizer...? And these don't include any personal hats. I have a few others--wife, mom, sister, daughter, radio producer... Each one requires a different set of skills and knowledge, and each one holds its own rewards.
But aren't you glad we don't have as many heads to go with our hats?
What other author hats can you think of?
My senior year of college at Arizona State, my best friend and I wanted to do something during Spring Break. It would be our last one together. I didn't really know what I'd be doing after graduation, other than returning home with my degree in theatre. Yeah, friends were looking at MFA programs, and that probably would have been the track I would have taken. But my life would follow a much different path.
Being as close to California as we were, we decided on Disneyland. I'd never been, and we were sure to have a good time. We stayed at a hotel outside of the park (there was only one at the time!) to "save" money. It was a life-changing trip.
After I stepped through the gates, I was completely taken. We spent an entire day on rides and enjoying attractions. We closed out our evening by standing on the bridge over Pirates of the Caribbean (before the political correctness AND the movie changes) and watched Fantasmic! Tears of joy, amazement, and overwhelming desire flowed when the dragon appeared toward the end. Thankfully, I had the steamboat finale and exit music to compose myself before heading off to be stunned by the Main Street Electrical Parade and the Fantasy in the Sky fireworks.
I knew I had to work there.
I was made to work there. I was about to finish my degree in stage management. My whole life was ahead of me. I had to make Disneyland part of it.
We went to the administration office (Team Disney Anaheim) the next day and applied for jobs. I don't remember everything, as it's been many years, but I think we might have even had a preliminary interview. We tooled about southern California, taking in the sites...and finally returned home.
Toward the end of April, I was asked to return to Anaheim for another interview with the Entertainment Department. The interview went well, but I was told they weren't hiring at that time. I was crushed! But something else would come along. I had a list of other theme parks to look into.
Days before graduation, I received a call. I had a six week gig at Disneyland, stage managing Grad Nites. I gathered my few belongings and headed west. Little did I know this would be the hardest, but most exciting thing I'd do for a long time.
Before Grad Nites wound down, my supervisor asked if I'd found a place to live. I'd been staying with a friend. I quickly found myself a nice little apartment in Anaheim...because I had a job! I began to train on productions like The Festival of Fools and Fantasmic! I won't spoil the magic, but let's just say I learned the ins and outs of Bucky the Dragon...even got whacked upside the head a time or two by his wings. I managed weddings, smaller productions, and even events with some pretty big-name stars. On nights I wasn't working, I'd slip into the park to enjoy the fireworks and parades. Amazing time of my life.
I had to leave, though. After working there for three and a half years, I hadn't advanced positions and didn't have benefits. I really wasn't making much more than when I started, and I had to supplement my income by working at a small, independent bookstore (yes, it all started there...) I landed a management position with Club Disney, a local play facility for kids. They had decided to open one in Denver, which was much closer to home.
So why this long story? Well, I'm feeling a little reminiscent tonight. We've been listening to a Disney CD in the car, and the first track is the Main Street Electrical Parade theme. I love telling about my first week in the park, when I got to wag Elliott's (from Pete's Dragon) tail in that parade. I pulled up a few videos on YouTube for my kids to see the magic. We haven't been able to take them yet...and I imagine they will have to wait for a road trip in college to experience it...but this at least allowed them a little taste. And of course, my girls are obsessed with Frozen, just like the rest of the world. Finding videos with Anna and Elsa are one of their favorite computer pastimes.
Recently, I had the opportunity to return after 15 years. Things had changed quite a bit. We had a disadvantage because we went just after Memorial Day. Super crowded and super hot. With the addition of Downtown Disney, California Adventure, and the massive parking structure, I found myself a little overwhelmed. And sadly, as we waited in line at the Haunted Mansion, I noticed two trashcans overflowing. That wouldn't have happened in my time... Little things like that make all the difference. We had fun, though. And my prayer was, "Please don't make me want to stay." The last time I had visited, staying was all I could think about.
Now that I'm a couple months out, though, I'm only remembering the good parts. I'm not thinking about the traffic and traveling long distances to get anywhere. And the expense. And the crazy amounts of people. (I'm listing these to remind myself...) Yet, I want to go back again. And I want to take my Dingoes.
I loved my time at the Happiest Place on Earth. I was one lucky girl, to be sure! I made some good friends--and I'm still in touch with several of them. I met some interesting people. I did some incredible things. And I've got some great stories!
Last evening, I cleaned up our library area. Now, we live in an apartment, and we have two massive bookshelves in a loft area. That's our library. My kids love books, but they're not very good at putting them back on the shelf. So I had quite the pile to clean up.
In that same area, I had a couple of plastic bins with my stock of Asylum print copies. When we moved, I collected all my book-related stuff in one corner...and I haven't really touched it since. As I cleaned, I moved my stuff into my bedroom.
I pulled off the top of one of the bins and promptly found a manila folder full of notes, writings, and poems. Yes, poems. I've actually written a few. I loved going back through all those papers! These were notes I made prior to writing my first book. The concept for the Crown's Call series. Even some character sketches.
I try to keep most of my information on a thumb drive to avoid crazy amounts of paper, but I'm really glad I kept this folder. It's a great scrapbook, allowing me to look back on my progress from hopeful daydreamer to aspiring writer to published author.
That's not the end of the dream, of course. There's still much more to accomplish! But someday, when the proverbial "they" erect a museum in my name, there's a nice collection of documents for the exhibits.
Hey, a girl can dream, right?
After having a vanity press (WestBow Press) traditionally publish my book (Asylum), and a small press publisher (Distinguished Press) launch my series (starting with Poison), I've decided to venture into the crazy, awesome world of self-publishing. And I have the perfect book to put out there in such a manner.
By the end of the summer, I plan to release my human chess match story, Checkmate. It's been through the beta-reader process. I'm reading it aloud with my son, just to catch any further editing errors. And I'm reviewing it a final time before beginning the process. I would love to hire a professional editor, but currently, that is outside my budget. But I promise to give you the very best book I can. My designer is working on the final cover.
This book has been a couple years in the making. I've gone through it many times. And it even was a Top 30 Finalist in the 2012 Women of Faith Writing Contest (under it's original title--Xadrez)! I know the quality is there. It's just a matter of the technicalities.
I'll record my process here on my blog. I'm really excited about learning the ins and outs of the self-publishing journey. As an author, it will be beneficial to see what the publishing end is like, even though I'm sure it varies. And then once the book is released, we'll have a huge online party to celebrate!
Ah, there's never a dull moment when it comes to the life of a full-time working mom and author! I thought I'd give you a little update as to what's going on.
Today, I submitted a short blurb about the writing class I will be teaching at work. I've got eight solid weeks that deliver us to the start of NaNoWriMo. I figure we'll use those November weeks as a sort of writing support group, should any of us choose to embark upon the NaNoWriMo adventure. (Yes, that would be me. Hopefully, I'll find a few more souls willing to join in!)
I've also created a short teaser synopsis for Book #3. Titled Reconciliation, this story follows immediately after Fusion. And I'd share said synopsis, only it gives away a major plot point from Book #2, so I shall refrain for now.
I've received word that an update for Poison is on its way. We've had a few bugs in the conversion process. Both the ebook and the print formats have been affected. As I promised on the Poison page, I'll let you all know as soon as that update is available.
In the meantime, be sure to check out my blog tour happening now! So far this week, I've visited four blogs and another one tomorrow. Next week, there are a few more stops before we close out the tour. You can learn more about Poison and even win a prize by participating! Click here for the links: Poison Blog Tour
That's about it for now! Thank you for your support and readership! I appreciate you all very much!
There's an old legend that says we're born with two names. One is the name your parents give you. The other is a name no one knows because if they did, they would hold power over you.
Of course, there are those people who try to exercise the power with your given name. Just the other day, my middle child came home to tell me a couple of boys were making fun of her name. The punks. (Mama Bear talking there. Sorry.) I've seen my share of that, too. And you'd think with a name like Ashley, there wouldn't be much to go on, but people found ways, let me tell you!
I think there's something behind that legend. Names identify us. They shape who we are. In Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare pondered, "What's in a name?" and despite his feelings about a rose called something else smelling just as sweet, I would disagree. The Montagues and Capulets placed great pride in their names. Love just happened to be stronger than the power behind those names. Or did it? As the tragedy unfolds, the two star-crossed lovers end up dying. Sorry about the spoilers, sweetie.
This is one reason names play such a huge part in my stories. I try to make all my character names mean something. Beyond that, though, the names themselves bear importance. In Heralds of the Crown, there are a handful of characters that know the name of the future Ruler Prince. His name holds power to those who know it.
I think of the various names for God in the Bible. Each name holds a special meaning. Even locations were named based on what God did there, built as a memorial to His goodness and might. And those names have lasted throughout time.
Think about your name. Is there a reason you bear that name? What is your secret name? Just remember, there's power there.
Award-winning sci-fi author * Christ follower, wife, and mom * broadcast content producer. And yes, I am a real duchess. http://amzn.to/2eLTlH3