Tag Archives: books

I’m in the middle…


Crymsyn Hart

…of the book and I’ve come to an impasse. What do I do now?

It’s a logical question that any author has when they get to the middle of a book and all of a sudden your characters stop talking to you, or your muses decide to go on sabbatical. Do you force the characters to do what you want and hope they don’t hate you for it? Or do you sweet talk your muses and hope they talk to you again? I’ve come up against those very questions and if you’re a first time writer these can be daunting.

The best thing that I’ve found to do is take a step back and give it a rest. It will be there when you get back. Your character just might need to figure out where they’re going. They just might surprise you. But while you leave the manuscript behind, then you might find yourself coming up with other ideas. So remember to write those down so you don’t forget them.

I’ve had this very situation happen to me. At the moment I have three books I’m halfway done with, but other books take shape in between so I gradually work on the ones I’m in the middle of. Don’t get discouraged. Give it a couple of days and clear your mind. Then you can work on the other half of the book and write toward finishing your story. Because once you get over the hump it’s clear sailing from there. At least until you get to that final chapter.

Then all hell breaks loose.


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Setting the Mood for the Dark and Scary

Hey all,

It’s October. Time for ghosts and ghouls to be haunting the darkened streets. Vampires and werewolves are prowling the night trolling for victims. Let’s hope we’re not one of them. People dressed up like dead presidents and horror movie serial killers are getting ready to party while their children hunt for candy along deserted streets.

You happen to find that your friends have abandoned you to hit some happening party, leaving you all alone in the creep old house. But what they didn’t mention was there used to be a funeral home in the basement. The remanants of the creamatoriam linger along with a few dead bodies. And as you are all alone in the house, no one can hear you scream when the creatures of the night come alive and decide they want to eat you.

Now doesn’t this sound like a great beginnings to something dark and spooky.

Something like this has been running though my head this past month, mostly because tis the season for the spirits and spooks, but also because I’m working on a ghost story. Taking a step aside from the paranormal hotness of the romance I normally write. It is very freeing and in doing so, my brain has been working double time in order to find the right words to set the mood for the horror novel. Of course you need that

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Why I do what I do

by Crymsyn Hart

Have you ever sat down and said, yup I know what I am going to do today? Then you get started on it and something comes up. Or the unexpected happens. That was me this morning when I turned my phone on and it wouldn’t turn on. It just kept rebooting. So at this point I start to panic because without my phone I can’t do anything because its my link to the Internet and since I have no home Internet and bounce my computer off the phone as a hot spot the first thing I had to do was get the phone fixed. The Sprint guy looked at the phone and also had no idea what was wrong with it so they fiddled with it and got it back to factory settings, but they ordered me a new phone and told me not to turn off my current one in case it happens again.

After the heart stopping moment of the day, I looked to see if there was any work from the day job and there wasn’t. So I was back on schedule. I could write for the rest of the day and work on the three books that I have going at the moment.

While I was writing, I got a great email from someone who had read one of my books and she said that it had made her cry. But in a good way because she had identified with the characters so much. Reading that made the rest of the frustration of my morning and the day fall away. It’s emails or short acknowledgments like that which help me get through the rough times in my day.

So I wanted to take a moment to say thanks to all those readers who acknowledge us authors. You are the reason why I pick up my pen every day or pound away at my keyboard or argue with my characters because they are not cooperating.

Thanks for reading whatever authors or genre you read. We really do appreciate it.

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Panster or Plotter?

by Crymsyn Hart

Have you ever had something start off as a funny, passing idea, and then before you know it, that idea has greatly taken over your brain and infected you. I’m sure it happens to everyone even those who are not writers. Something small nitpicks at you until you have to give it some attention. And then when you do, it snowballs and takes over a great portion of your mind as if it is controlling you and not the other way around. That’s what happened to me when I was hanging out with some author friends at Authors After Dark. I had made the offhand comment about writing about the coffin in my dining room. Yes I know. I really do have a coffin in my dining room.

So I introduced him to the world a couple of weeks and he has taken my brain by storm. He calls himself Jerry and wants to be the spotlight of my thoughts. As a character, I honestly never assumed I would be writing about a coffin. But then again that is how character development normally works for me. I never plot out a book. I’m a panster. I write and write and the characters and the plot reveal more of themselves to me as I write.

It can get very frustrating at times. Because I want the characters and the plot to go one way, but oh no. They veer off in a completely other direction and I normally have to catch up. Sometimes, it is a long jog to get back on track. The times I have tried to plot haven’t gone very well. The characters usually end up hating me when I do and rewrites ensue.

So what are you? Do you plot or do you go where the characters take you?
Do you ever find it frustrating when it doesn’t go your way?

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It’s not about staying behind the desk

by Crymsyn Hart

When I first started writing, I never thought beyond the world I was building or the characters I was creating. Eventually, I would have to do edits on the book. Of course, first I had to find an agent and then pray that the agent would find a home for the book they had accepted. Granted, this was fifteen years ago when I started writing in college and was sending out my query letters. With all the rejection letters I received, I soon lost interest in even writing and figured that it didn’t matter. I was going to stop writing altogether.

Then a friend of mine told me about e-books and trying to e-publish. That was in 2006. I found a start up e-publisher, that eventually folded, but my dream had come true and I was going to be a published author. Then the fun began.


Here I was, shy and really wasn’t about getting myself out there. But I signed up for the yahoo groups, discovered Facebook, and eventually jumped on Twitter. I’m still not perfect at self promotion. It’s the thorn in my side, but I do hope to get better at it. I’ve been doing more conventions and even tweeting more, hoping that people will find my posts interesting.

This past weekend I was in Philadelphia at the Authors After Dark convention where I was thrown way out of my comfort zone and forced to socialize with people. Oh the horror! LOL. But it was very cool to get out from behind my computer and mingle with other authors and readers. It was an awesome experience and I plan on doing it again next year. I think the coolest thing was just meeting people who you see online or readers that said ‘hey I read your book and liked it.’

But overall, it was a lesson that as writers we have to move outside of our writing box and promote because how else are people going to know about you. So for any first time writers, let me say that it may not be something you’re good at, and I’m not perfect, but once you can force yourself to do it, it is a good thing. And good things will come of it.


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By: C.J. Henderson

The Luddites, to make a short and inadequate explanation of a much more complicated movement, were folks who were against mechanical advancement. Worrying over the grim reality of losing jobs to automation goes back to the Industrial Revolution. These guys actually committed some pretty serious crimes to get their point across. They were rounded up and their riots quelled in the end, but they did raise an interesting point–

How much progress is enough?

Now, this is not one of those lectures on getting your kids to go outside to play more. You should do that, but you know, that’s up to you and your kids. No, this is a rant aimed at people who are perfectly willing to allow machines to replace parts of themselves which those machines are not fit to replace. Huh, I hear you mutter. I shall explain.

Automobiles … perfectly reasonable to drive them to a convention in another state. To the supermarket when you need to bring back 287 pounds of vittles. To the movie theater when you have to take four kids and it’s raining. There are a thousand, a million good reasons you can come up with for not walking. But, do we sometimes go too far?

For instance, have you ever gotten into the car and driven to a place only ten blocks away? Simply to mail a letter, or pick up a box of light bulbs?

In other words, when does the convenience become a burden? A certain amount of exercise is needed. Taking into consideration the trouble finding parking some times, the expense of gasoline, such a trip can end up taking more time and costing far more than it’s worth. But, in this modern world this ceases to be a consideration. Driving is what one does often …

Rather than thinking.

Then, add a cell phone.

How did people survive before them? Are you old enough to remember the world before cell phones? Did you find it impossible to communicate then? Probably not. But, along they came, and everyone suddenly had to have one. And had to chatter every minute of the day. Did they suddenly have so many more wonderfully interesting things to talk about?


You know damn well they didn’t. Neither did you. But people can’t seem to put them down. They waste hours every day, chatting, and now texting, with absolutely nothing to say. Simply because a machine was put into their hands.

And, worse yet, so many of the grinning apes all around us think they have the skills to use automobiles and cell phones together. They think … now read this slowly and consider the lunacy of it while you do … that they have the skills to type while they drive.

To type while they drive.

Most of them can’t drive very well to begin with, don’t use turn signals, don’t know which lane to be in at what speeds, don’t understand the dangers of passing on the right (or forcing others to pass them on the right), et cetera. And, most of them can’t type very well, either.

Two great tastes that don’t go great together.

You’ve seen the videos of morons walking along texting tripping into fountains, falling down stairs, slamming into signposts, et cetera. And yet, these people believe they can drive cars while they type, when they can’t even walk and type at the same time.

The availability of technology does not imply mastery of it.

Am I getting through to anyone?

Who knows? Why would I ask that? I’ll tell you.

I ask such a question to make the reader wonder, if only for a split second about the question. I’m challenging you to consider what you have read before I go on to the major point. A point, oddly enough, of lesser consequence than the set-up.

Yes, I believe the above to be a major problem, and I will curse to Hell the mush-brained jackass that rams into me at 65 miles an hour because they were too busy letting some other worthless waste of oxygen know how much they “heart” some band or pictures of Internet cats or whathaveyou. But, the idea presented above was there to focus your minds on a smaller but, for we who write and edit and read for pleasure, in some ways equally disastrous set of problems.

Spell check. Let’s start there.

Spell check (and its equally evil twin, grammar check), may not be worth the problems it has caused.

Now initially, a great idea. Time saving. Super. Bring it on.

When I first encountered this technology, I was delighted. A traditionally bad speller (dictionary always on hand for this writer), it was a blessing sent from God. Indeed, as I would go through a ms. Checking each word it questioned, over the years I found myself actually becoming a better speller because I had this patient teacher willing to take me by the hand, word by word, and quietly explain each mistake to me.

It was wonderful.

But, most people don’t seem to have taken my approach. Most people seem content to simply let the machine correct things they way it wishes to do so … whether it’s right or not. They listen to their grammar checker and do whatever it says, abandoning what creativity they might have had in favor of a machine’s limited ability to structure a sentence.

Worse yet, we now have spell checkers being imposed on us.

Try typing the phrase “sci fi” in an email. At AOL, the machine will not let you leave “fi,” but will automatically change it to “if.” Because it knows better. Because you’re too stupid to be allowed to type what you want.

And, in a world where so many people are too stupid to be allowed to type what they want, can we blame the machines for rising up and trying to kill John Connor before he has us all filling our letters with goddamned idiotic “:O(” crap? What kind of pinhead uses this nonsense to convey a feeling?

The kind that has been brainwashed into believing they have no creativity. That conformity and speed equal something better than free expression.

Technology is a wonderful thing. It truly is. When I was a child I hand wrote stories. Hundreds of them. Then I learned to type. It was a glorious release. Then, the electric typewriter was born, and a golden age seemed to have arrived.

And then, the word processor was sent down from the mountain, and God had proved he loved his people.

No, I don’t want a return to the quill pen. But, when I get a new book delivered from a publisher, and I find that all they did was plug my ms. into a lay-out program which leaves my book ugly, boring, pedestrian and worse, filled with hundreds of technical mistakes … then suddenly I’m ready to start talking behind HAL’s back while hoping it can’t read my lips.

I just spoke with another author today who told me their new book arrived from a publisher who did the same thing, used a program to do the lay out for their book, but then didn’t bother to look at the results. Their book actually was printed and sent to the stores with strike overs in the text.

Sure it’s cheaper to not hire an editor, simpler to let the machine do the work, faster to not go through the effort of reading every single line for the tenth time, looking for dropped lines and extra spaces and run overs and strike overs and misplaced words and …

Well, you either get the idea, or you don’t.

What I’m trying to say is, don’t remove the human element from your work. When you type something, whether it’s a novel, or just a reminder to a friend as to where and when you are to meet, do it with care. Read over what you’ve written. Think about it. Decide as to whether or not it could be better.

Quantity … or quality?

Is it better to type up 500 meaningless, pointless texts a day, empty messages which will be forgotten instantly …


Or five or six texts which come from your soul, which tell those to whom they are sent something important, something vital, something lovely?

Spell check–good.

Caring enough to read it over after spell check–better.

Caring enough to re-write, and to think about what you’ve written, to actually explore your feelings and the depths of your soul, opening yourself to the world beyond, taking a chance on your ability to express yourself …

Yeah, it’s dangerous. But it has it’s rewards.

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First Time Author Mistakes

by Crymsyn Hart

It’s been over ten years since I’ve first started to seriously look to get involved with the publishing world. I had graduated college with BFA in writing, had a complete novel that had been critiqued by a few of my teachers, and I was looked for an agent. I’d gone to the book store gotten the latest edition of Writer’s Market and started perusing through it. At this point I didn’t know anything about how to go about anything except from what my teachers and other writers at school had told me. And they all recommended Writer’s Market, which is a great book that now has a great website. But I wasn’t very Internet savvy at that point.

So I perused the pages that listed agents, went on line here and got some information on agents. After following the guidelines: sending in a query letter, synopsis of the work, first three chapters, whatever the agent called for, in the mail, I got many rejections. Most were form letters, but there were a couple with small notes saying the book wasn’t for them, but keep trying. Those were always encouraging .I amassed enough rejection notices to wallpaper my bathroom I think. Then I received an acceptance letter.

At this point, I was ecstatic. This guy was going to help me get published. But I had to send him some money first to help him cover the costs of shipping, copying, etc. Sigh… That was where he got me. Well my grandparents were happy to put up the money for me, but still. Words of wisdom, if anyone ever asks you for money up front, it’s too good to be true.

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It Might Be Hot, but It’s Still Writing

Crymsyn Hart

I attended FandomFest this past weekend in Louisville, KY. It was hot and there was little air conditioning to be had except in the hotel rooms, but even then it was breaking down here and there. However, the panels were awesome and so was the collection of other authors who also attended. It’s always wonderful to get out and meet other people who are of like minds even if they write in a different genre because we are all trying to pedal our wares.

During one of panels I was one, talking about Erotic Writing, the other authors got to talking about how other people see them as authors. There are some who have to write under a pseudonym because of their day job, to protect their families, or for other reasons. The view was that when you tell others that you write erotic romance, then you are not writing at all or that you are writing porn. But it isn’t porn.
Erotic Romance has a plot and is character driven just the way other books are. The sex is there to help spice up the book, of course because who doesn’t like a little hotness to get your libido going, and to keep the plot moving. It doesn’t matter how long the book is even if it is a short, novella, or novel length. It is not a bunch of sex thrown in between the pages with just a little bit of conversation to get you thrown to the next hot scene.

Everyone has their own preference to what they read. Personally, I don’t read a lot of erotic romance, but just like the other writers, I’m still perfecting my craft with each idea that comes along. I just choose to steam up my glasses while I’m doing it.
What do you think?

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Twitter Novels

Crymsyn Hart

This past weekend a friend and I were sipping coffee at our local Books A Million café. She pulled out her cell phone which is the same kind I have and asked me how I liked it. I glanced at the new EVO I’ve had and sighed. It’s a win loose battle for me. I love my Blackberry because I can write on it. The new phone being touch screen and me texting rather fast it’s a disaster. But I need the phone for other reasons for my day job. Of course my Blackberry is still nicely tucked away and I use it when I’m out and about. After the phone debacle, she suggested that I should try writing twitternovels. I’ve heard about them. A whole story in an update of 140 characters, I don’t possibly see how anyone could write a novel on twitter, but with further investigation I see there are lots.

While it’s an intriguing idea, and my friend is working at it, I’m not sure about it. Short it hard for me. I would think that 140 characters is near impossible to set the mood, conversation, tone, and have people follow it. But then again Stephen King has done it. Many others have done it. I’m sure it’s the new form of writing. It’s great to think that you can be anywhere and be writing. Walking down the street or hanging on the subway. Not tied to the desk.

What do you think? Is this a new trend that going to stick around? Anyone follow the them? What do you think that makes them good?

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Conventions—The Advanced Class for Dedicated Fans

by Gail Z. Martin

How can you get more out of your con going?  Here are some ideas to increase your con pleasure.

Take a look at the program , if possible, before you go to the event.  Some cons manage to get the program more-or-less finalized far enough in advance to put the program on the web site.  If you can see the program before you go, you’ll know what your must-do events are and you can agonize over scheduling conflicts far enough in advance to create a plan of action.

Look over the guest list of writers, artists and celebrities.  See if any of your favorites are going, and look for meet-and-greet or special events that showcase those people.  Especially for guests of honor, there are usually special panels and events that are all about them.  Those are ones you won’t want to miss.  For non-GOHs, look for readings, signings and panels where you can get a chance to shake hands, ask a question or get a book signed.

Don’t forget to factor in the video and anime schedules, so that you don’t miss a hard-to-find favorite.  And check the party board as soon as you arrive and then at least once before 5 p.m. to know where the night life is happening.

At smaller cons, there is no separate green room for GOH or panel participants, so you run a good chance of meeting people in the con suite.  If you’ve got your heart set on making a personal connection, best times are during the breaks your favorite author has between panels.  Just be polite and don’t talk so long that you make him/her late for the next panel!

Want to be a SMOF? (Secret Master of Fandom)  Be visible for all the right reasons.  Promote the event before, during and after on social media.  Blog, tweet, post on Facebook and upload photos (all with the intent to make sure everyone looks good).  If the con permits photos and video clips, do mini-interviews with other con-goers and the non-GOH guests (GOH will be booked).  Have a podcast?  Plan to do at-con interviews and set up a schedule in advance with the non-GOH guests.  Anything you can do to be helpful and promote the con will put you on the way to SMOF-dom.

Cons can be expensive, so here are some budget tips.  Although it’s nice to stay at the con hotel, nearby hotels can be a lot cheaper, and  may only be a block or two away.  You could save enough just with this tip to pay your food bill for the rest of the con.  Get a fridge in your room and buy your food (and adult beverages) outside of the hotel.  If you can’t find a quik-mart in walking distance, think about ordering out for delivery food to avoid high-cost hotel meals.  Many room parties also supply late night beverages and munchies, so you can have fun and save money at the same time.  Offer to volunteer.  Cons always need more helpers, and especially if you’re local or can come in early, volunteering can be a way to get free or discounted con admission, plus you might have the chance to spend more time with some of the GOHs or other guests.

Oh, and make sure you have a great time—that’s what it’s all about!



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