Jesse’s Warriors

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a few days now. But with work and getting ready to move, it has kind of fallen aside. Not because I don’t care but because usually when I get home, I pass out.

Today is the day!

Many of you know that I wrote Mystic Waters and most of Chasing the Tide while I was deployed. You also know that while I was deployed, my unit lost someone. And you may even know that I’ve dedicated Chasing the Tide to him. Well, I’ve decided it is time to really dedicate myself to his cause. Which is why the first month’s sales of Chasing the Tide will go to Jesse’s Warriors Inc., a non-profit organization started by SSG Jesse Williams’ mother, Debbie, to help other service members. Their help ranges from helping veterans, retirees and actively serving men and women with paying bills to sending care packages to deployed service members.

I completely admire this woman for taking her grief and turning into something beautiful and positive. While we were all lucky to have spent time with him (even if only moments like me, or his lifetime like you), he was lucky to have you. God bless you!

I would encourage everyone to head over to the Mystic Waters website and pre-order the paperback. Chasing the Tide releases May 1st!

I listened to the sounds of a spring evening outside my window as I wrote this. No song today, folks.

All my love,
Cynth

The “Catching Up” Post

OK. So a lot has been happening. Not anything earth-shattering, but little updates here and there. For instance, the book trailer is out for Chasing the Tide! See it here! Also, the paperback I available for pre-order here!

I announced on my Twitter and Instagram that I wouldn’t be announcing anything major regarding Crashing Souls until after the release of Chasing the Tide. This is mostly because Liza deserves her spotlight. Chasing the Tide releases May 1st. For the next few weeks after that, I’m on the mermaid train.

But by June, I should have some Crashing Souls news. If I’m being honest, we’re ahead of the curve for this project, as we already have the cover and release date. The book requires editing and has already been through a round of beta readers. I won’t comment on the genre of this book nor the age bracket but I will say it’s a love story. And, for my loyal readers, I created a little something for the project. I hope you like it!

I’ll be spending a great deal of time with Crashing Souls, so it’ll be interesting to see how I balance editing and the release! My posts will be fewer and fewer within the next couple of months because I’m moving! And because I decided to complete two books around the same time frame. And because I am required to write more books. Which I love! Talk to you guys soon.

Now playing Wasting My Young Years by London Grammar.

All my love,
Cynth

Guest Post: The Dreaded Question

Howdy, folks. Rosemi is here to teach us a thing or two, so give her your undivided attention. :)

Questions

Guest post: The number one question writers hate and how to answer it properly

Whether you’ve talked to your loved ones about your WIP at length or kept it to yourself like a dirty little secret, the time eventually comes when people outside your comfort zone begin asking you about your writing.

That’s when you’re inevitably asked the dreaded question: “What’s your book about?”

You’ve spent a great deal of time with your story and characters. Summarizing what your book is about would be like summarizing what you’re about. What you want to say is, “It’s an authoritative masterpiece encompassing the human condition with nuanced undertones of genius—a classic in the making, if you will.” You might even use air quotes as you say, “classic in the making.”

However, what often comes out is either stammering or babbling.

To answer this question well, you need to formulate and memorize a two-sentence response. Yes, two sentences. You want to keep the questioner engaged and sell them on your book as quickly as possible. It’s your elevator pitch, and it needs to wow your audience.

Sentence #1 begins with a description of the main characters and ends with the conflict.

Sentence #2 expresses why it fits in today’s publishing market and why it will stand out.

So, how do you begin perfecting your two-sentence verbal reponse?

First, describe your main character(s) as briefly as possible. You’re giving a verbal response, so you don’t need to offer every detail about the characters. For example, the main characters of Romeo and Juliet would simply be described as “two teenagers” or “two Italian teenagers,” at most. No need to mention Romeo’s recent breakup with Rosaline.

Now it’s time to describe the conflict without any spoilers. Continuing with the Romeo and Juliet example, you might say, “Two teenagers from feuding households fall in love.” A smart reader knows the potential a sentence like that can carry for good drama, romance, and tragedy.

Immediately after you say sentence #1, listeners will attempt to connect your story to similar ones they’ve read. Sentence #2 preempts this. This is your opportunity to implant the information you want in their minds before they even have time to pass judgment on your story.

Begin the second sentence by describing your genre in order to give further context for the first sentence, and conclude your response by saying why it’s unique. You might think it’s unique in every way possible, but stick to the one or two qualities that are the most attractive to readers of your genre. Avoid saying that there is a plot twist or an unexpected ending. Instead, describe something outside of the main plot that deepens your story. If you’re finding this part difficult, it might mean that your story needs to be further developed.

The main thing you need to know about most people who ask you about your book is that people want to like things. They want to be excited for you. Show your enthusiasm for your book, and your response will be well received.

Listening to “Alone with You” by Jack Owen and obsessing over Cynthia’s latest manuscript, Crashing Souls.


Guest post by book editor, Rosemi Mederos, who thinks “What’s your book about?” should be replaced with “Tell me about your book.”

The Evolving Author

Howdy folks. I’m typing from what I thought was my deathbed just the other night. Yes. I am sick. Cough drops and medication, snot covered tissue and those coughs that make you think, this is it. OK. I’m super dramatic. But we already knew that! Let’s talk about things we don’t know tonight.

I’ve written three books. While two of them are still in their editing phases, it seems surreal.

I’ve picked up on new writing habits these days. One of them? I now know I will never write two books the same way. What worked for one story will not work for another. I wrote Chasing the Tide in bursts, fighting my own demons to get it out. But I wrote Crashing Souls with a feverish need to get it out of me, like sucking out poison only it was this amazing story.

Two. I recently was sent this link (by Lily Paradis) and I love what Elizabeth Gilbert is saying. Especially when she mentions the genius and how it comes at you. And if you miss it, it’s gone. I love that. And so, I now take notes. They are all on my iPod, iPhone, and iPad. Whichever is closest. I can usually feel my creative genius creeping up on me. And when I do, I stop whatever it is I’m doing and get the words down. The words are typically honest and so strong. And they usually happen in the shower. I don’t know if you guys have ever had to use an iPhone with wet fingers…it’s not fun.

Three. This is kind of linked to the second point. I listen to my current project’s playlist no matter what. Especially in my car. I warn people before they get in that the music will be writing music, which can range from upbeat pop to a somber indie track. Wonderful.

I guess the point of this post is to show you all how far I’ve come…and how far you’ll go. Things change. And habits you made with one story will break with another. I don’t snack as much when writing. And I also tend to build my writing playlist both before I write and while writing as opposed to just the latter.

I’m posting the Crashing Soul reactions I’ve been receiving and posting on Instagram.

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Yes, my betas have been busy. Even Rosemi has read it! I’m nervous for the world to read it, more nervous than Chasing the Tide. Time to suck it up and be a big girl!

Now playing Surround You by Echosmith (from the Crashing Souls playlist, which you can find on Spotify, along with my other writing playlists).

All my love,
Cynth

 

The Art of Opinions

Today’s post is going to be on something I’ve thought about for a long time. We all know what we like is subjective. What you like in a book someone else doesn’t like. As an author, I know that not everyone is going to like my work. As a reader, I encourage other readers to stay true to what they love and to only read stories that they cannot live without experiencing.

We all aim to be honest. At least, most days. I respect honesty, in all of its forms. What I cannot respect is slamming a book because you didn’t like it or because you didn’t get it. The other day, I read a review that said, “This book is dumb.”

What?! Do you even have any idea what work went into creating that “dumb” book?

Readers, you breathe life into our words. But you can also suck the little life out of them. There is a thin line between honesty and being rude. Before I published, I had no idea how to review. If I didn’t like a book, I’d say that I didn’t, without giving the author any opportunity to gain anything from my review. Because it was my opinion and I’m entitled to my likes and dislikes. But now, now that I know the massive amounts of work it takes to publish, I review to applaud and to assist. As a reader, those should be your two focuses. Tell the author what you liked and tell them what you think needed work.

Because, “This book is dumb,” does nothing for us.

When you disrespect an author, you make them not want to do this anymore. And we rely on your opinions! Slamming an author should never be an option and should not be tolerated in the reading community.

Readers be more conscientious. Don’t you know you’re dealing with passionate people? Your words can harm us more than you think.

Side note: Due to my busy schedule, I’m finding it easier to keep my readers updated via Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

Now playing No Rest for the Wicked by Lykke Li.

All my love,
Cynth

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Hello! Here’s a video.

Currently playing One Last Night by Vaults.

All my love,
Cynth

Since I’ve Been Gone

Howdy, folks! If you didn’t know, I’ve been away for military things. I got back last night and I come with news!

Chasing the Tide is with beta readers and I’ve gotten their feedback back! Unfortunately, I cannot give you her full feedback because it would definitely ruin the book for you all. Instead, I’ll give you a small piece:

“Beautiful, sad, but beautifully said.”

That, of course, made me happy. Just waiting on two more! In the meantime, I’m going through Chasing the Tide edits and working with Crashing Souls. When I ‘m not doing either, I’m working on The Reigning Waves. I’m working hard! Here’s a teaser I posted last night, which was one of the beta reader’s favorite parts.

CTT JayTeaserNow playing Wasting My Young Years by London Grammar. This song is Crashing Souls all the way.

All my love,
Cynth

 

Volition by Lily Paradis (Review)

I’m going to start this post with a little backstory. Not of the book, so don’t get too excited because I am to keep all details to myself. I just feel like I need to be honest in order for you to take this review seriously.

Lily Paradis is not some random author. I didn’t just stumble upon her book. We’re friends and she sent me her book, which will be released on February 9th. I don’t think she expected the reaction I had to it. I’m letting you all know that, although we’re friends, this post is honest. I can only be honest about this book because Tate McKenna, the main character, demands it.

Volition

Synopsis:

You know that feeling in the pit of your stomach that stays with you, then tears you apart slowly at first, and all at once shreds every fiber of your being?

It’s because you’re contradicting the universe.

Everything lines up so perfectly that you couldn’t have imagined it to work out any better, but then you have to go and do everything humanly possible to ruin it because you can’t stand to have it go right?

That’s what I did. I did it because there’s a darkness that surrounds me, and I think I want it there.

My name is Tate McKenna, and my soul is blacker than my heart.

As you can see, the synopsis doesn’t give us much. You go into this book blindly. Does that make you nervous? It made me nervous. I was an idiot for being nervous. Almost immediately, we see Tate for her flawed ways. The greatest thing about this character is that she is her own worst enemy and, damn it, she’s one of the best villains I’ve ever read. Even when she’s being an absolute asshole, we’re on her side. And it’s about time someone wrote about women as they are. Am I always good and proper? No. Sometimes I’m the villain of the story. You connect with Tate because you recognize the sinner in her and it makes you feel like maybe you aren’t alone. You also relate with her situation. But that’s all I’ll say on her “situation” as the book hasn’t been released and blah blah. Pre-order the book because it’s only $1.99 and the price will go up after release.

Lily, you crazy, beautiful genius, your dedication was perfect and I knew all at once that this book was going to rip me to shreds. Are there going to be people who don’t like this book? Of course. Because what is beautiful is subjective. But you’ve created a story that will stick with me until I die.

Below I have the video I posted on my Instagram after reading the book. It was 4 o’ clock in the morning. I’ve also posted the teaser I made a few weeks ago.

LPTeaser

In Chasing the Tide news, I should have it back from Rosemi today! And it’s on Goodreads! I’ve also been working on The Reigning Waves.

Now playing Take Me to Church by Hozier.

All my love,
Cynth

Dealing with Reviews from Hell

I want to start this post off saying that when we sit down to read a book, our minds are always in a different place, wanting different things. One person might interpret a romantic scene as beautiful while another won’t understand how quickly they became attracted to one another. Once you understand that we are all on different paths, searching for different things, you’ll understand why some people love your book and others don’t.

I am fortunate to have been placed in situations that make harsh words laughable. If someone leaves me a bad review, I understand that my words just weren’t meant for them. I have a moment of “aw shucks” and then I move forward. I understand that a lot of people aren’t like that. Our words are our babies. We strung them together to create this wonderful story that we obsessed over for a great portion of our lives. We are then able to hold that work in our hands.

I’ve come up with the best possible solution, in my opinion. When you receive an unfavorable review, read it because there could be jewels in there. We as writers are always learning. If it’s just pointless bitching, let them bitch and ignore it. Once you’re done, take a deep breath. Now, remember the way you felt when you wrote those words. Will you apologize for what you wrote? Or for the fact that they didn’t like it? NO. Because you should never apologize for your feelings and when you were writing, you were feeling. Stand by your words, always. Does that mean screw the reader? NO. It means to chalk the story up as what has already been done. That story is gone. Like a balloon that you let go. Gone. Bye. Shake it off and show growth in your next story. Listen to your readers but never apologize for what’s already been done.

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If you’ve been following me on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter, you know by now that I’ve completed the first draft of Crashing Souls. It’s been so wonderful and I feel so much older/wiser this time around. I can’t wait for you all to read it! Tune in to my social media accounts tomorrow for a #TeaserTuesday post! :)

Now playing Lea Michele’s album, Louder. I’m not embarrassed to say that I love her so much.

All my love,
Cynth