Spring in My Step

Albany-Bench-1

Hello everybody! It’s springtime here in NY!

I have been gone for quite a few months. Just work and things. Kinda haven’t felt the very best in terms of being confident about my writing, either.

It seems now is a perfect time to write, read, and talk about writing with what’s going on in the world. How are you all doing with COVID-19 and being isolated? M and I have been doing well; we are watching lots of old movies and going for walks. I thought this would be a great time for me to break my writer’s block, but I haven’t done that as of yet, and we’re starting week 7. I have been reading, though, which I’m happy about.

I used to have my nose stuck in a book all the time growing up. I kinda stopped reading as I got older. Now I’ve gotten back into it. I’m glad. I love reading. I’ve gone through 4 or 5 books so far. Right now, I’m currently reading Raven Black by Ann Cleeves. It’s a mystery thriller. I’m liking mysteries right now.

I was scrolling through Facebook last week and I came across a competition that the Writer’s Digest is holding. It is the Writers Digest Self-Published Book Awards. I caught it just in time; the deadline for submitting work is May 1. It’s an expensive entry fee, but I talked to M and we decided I should go for it! So I sent in The Underground Dogs. I’m not holding my breath, but I’m hoping for honorable mention!

Speaking of The Underground Dogs, sales have been okay. It seems they’ve slowed down. I thought they might pick up due to everyone being stuck at home. I might have to change my ad strategy. It’s a double-edged sword; I hate having to pay for ads because it gets expensive, but it’s the only way to get people to find my book on Amazon. So far, 12 people have reviewed it and I have a 4.5 star rating. If you haven’t checked it out yet, I encourage you to go get it. Its dystopian fascist themes are reminiscent of what’s going on in today’s world. It has some thrills and humor, too. I am sure you’d all enjoy it!

I also discovered people are rating and talking about The Underground Dogs on goodreads. I had no idea! It has a 4.33 rating on there! And there are 8 people who are currently reading it or want to read it. How amazing is that? It made my day! I feel somewhat ignorant and naive I completely overlooked goodreads. It seems like readers very much like that site to talk about and rate books. I will have to make an author profile over there. If you have a goodreads account and have read The Underground Dogs, please consider rating and reviewing it there! I’d be very appreciative.

So, because of those things (Writer’s Digest competition and ratings), I feel more motivated to work on my novels and start writing again. My psych and M have been telling me to “just do it” and write something. It is much easier said than done, of course. I am really going to try though. I have set myself a somewhat lofty goal: I want to self-publish (with Amazon) 4 more books before I am 40. Without telling you how old I am, know this is doable, but ambitious. BUT! This also means I have to move my butt, stop feeling sorry for myself, and actually WRITE! I am hoping to do so ASAP.

I am also thinking about adding a section to my website here about self-publishing. I am thinking of putting together some FAQs and How To’s. There is so much information out there and I figured out a lot of stuff for myself. I think I’ll put together tips and tricks in one spot to help others that have no idea where to go.

Well, that’s what is going on with me. Let me know what you all have been up to!

-JCDK

Keeping it Real

It’s December, and here in the northeastern U.S., that means it’s winter, whether we like it or not. (I don’t do winter. My summer soul can’t handle the cold.) But at least it’s Christmas season and that’s pretty rad.

How did you all do with NaNoWriMo last month? I didn’t write a whole novel, which I knew I wouldn’t, but I did complete that short story I told you about. And *drumroll*, I finished my short story collection! Yeah, bbbbooooiiii. It’s just about 50,000 words, total. It’s eight stories, which I’m a bit disappointed in. I’d like to have 10. I’m currently editing the thing, but if another story just suddenly strikes my fancy, well then I’ll probably end up adding it. It’s all speculative fiction—sci-fi, specifically.

I’ve sent several of the stories off to some magazines, too, in hopes of getting them published. I’d like to have some published in magazines or journals before I compile and self-publish the collection. Cross your fingers. I’ve already been rejected by one. Looking good already, folks! -.-

I’m starting to look at indie book publishers again, too. That old familiar feeling about my novel is coming back. You know: the one where you think “Well, god dammit, this is good! Why did I stop sending it out? I’ll try again!” before you again decide it’s complete shite and let it sit, buried beneath the piles of self-loathing and bitter cynicism, for a few more months before the whole damn cycle of pessimism-then-egoism starts over again…

*ehem

The problem with indie book publishers is that a lot of them started out indie and have since become, dare I say it, mainstream. (THE SHAME.) Many no longer accept unsolicited mss, or they now require agented communication. I understand why they’ve turned that route, but it’s awfully damn discouraging. Below are some of the lists I’ve been looking through. Maybe your pub. company match is on here…

Poets and Writers: http://bit.ly/2gVGlis

Independent Publisher: www.independentpublisher.com/gbpublishers.php

Every Writer’s Resource:  www.everywritersresource.com/bookpublishers/

Stay real, kids.

Wr.Tu.Th.: The End?

This Writing Tutorial Thursday has been a long time coming. (My fault. Sorry.) Finally, we’ve reached….THE ENDING.

Writing Tutorial: The End?

Disclaimer: The information presented herein is based on what I, personally, have learned in my educational and professional careers. This tutorial is simply meant to offer some helpful tips.

INTRODUCTION: You’ve done it; you wrote your novel. You—wait a minute! What about the ending?

Admittedly, I have such a hard time with endings. And it’s one of the most important parts! It’s where you tie everything up; where your resolution happens; where everything comes together. So how do you write one? Here are some tips that have helped me in the ending-writing process.

1)As mentioned, the ending is where you resolve the central conflict. It’s also where you tie up loose ends. Make sure you’ve fixed the problems, solved the issues, etc. You shouldn’t leave your readers confused and wondering, “Wait, so what about….?”

2) Nothing new. The ending isn’t the time to introduce a new, surprise character or subplot. Unless these things were foreshadowed in early chapters, they shouldn’t be included. They just make things confusing.

3) Let your reader do the imagining. Try not to get carried away with descriptions of “what happens after.” You don’t have to write a neat and tidy ending; you can certainly let your reader figure it out.

4) Make sure your ending mirrors something in the beginning (or at least ties back to a crucial part of your story). Did your main character grow emotionally? Did he/she learn something since the beginning? Accomplish something? Do that one thing you wanted them to do? Be sure your reader can recognize that your ending somehow relates to an earlier theme or idea presented in your novel.

Hopefully these will help you craft some stellar endings. Do you have any other suggestions? Questions? Let me know!

Keep practicing and happy writing!

Negative Font +Prompt

I recently found this piece buried away. It was written in response to a prompt. I figured someone else might like to take a wack at it. The prompt word was simply “papyrus.” See what you can come up with. Comment with a link to your own work!

(Also, if anyone knows how to do specific fonts here on WordPress, let me know…)

Negative Font
JCD Kerwin

She wrote to you in p a p y r u s.

The typeface contradicts the bitter adieu written on the page. Each word makes you hate calligraphy. You imagine her sitting, her back against the ocean, listening to the wind within the reeds. She ran away to him and summer; you remain with nothing and the winter.

You rip pages from your notebook, pick up a pen and scrawl in IMPACT. You forget she’s long gone and throw the memories away.

(February 2016)