Cardio for Creativity

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Writing Tip: Move into creativity with 30 minutes of cardio every day. Your writing sessions will last longer as the ideas come faster!

I sometimes (okay, often!) put off exercise for days and days, because I think I can’t afford the time to do that AND reach my daily word count goal. But guess what? On the days that I work out, I notice I always end up getting more words down on the page.

Not only do I work faster, but I feel my writing is better after a work out. My ideas come faster, and I rarely feel stuck. I feel energized.

It’s been proven that cardio boosts blood flow to the brain, which delivers much-needed oxygen (the brain soaks up 20 percent of all the oxygen in your body).

So go for a run, and your ideas will find their rhythm. Cardio-box, and your words will pack a punch! Long walks, bike rides, raking leaves or playing a game of hide-and-seek with your kids are all great ways to open up your creative mind.

If you can’t find 30 minutes to work out before writing every day, here’s a suggestion: simply stand on your head or do a bunch of jumping jacks before you sit down to write. Get the oxygen and blood flowing to the brain, and you’ll note an improvement in your writing.

Not convinced? Give it a try for a week, then come back here and comment. Your gluteous maximus may be sore and you may hate me, but I bet you’ll have a few more wonderful chapters written.

:) Heather

ToWiiOrnot

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Oh, What a Feeling!

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It’s a weird and wonderful feeling to be working on a story…ok, a SEQUEL:)  … and refer to the published book beside you, instead of notes in your computer, to get a fact straight.IMG_0530Thanks for reading, and hang in there, Cat’s coming back! 

 

 

 

It’s the Time of the Season….

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..for being inspired by all the beauty around me!

In between writing books, I often turn to photography and reading other authors’ books as a mini-vacation from the work involved in writing a book. I love writing, but I find I’m at my best when I’m rested, and when I’ve taken a break to be inspired by certain aspects of my world. Such as:

 

Friendship!

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A gift of flowers from our nine-year-old, placed in an old Buckley’s jar…

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Entertaining for Friends and Family (Move over, Martha Stewart) :)

The breakfast was cooked by hubby. I just do the decorating :) Wait, not true. The dinner (Salad, appetizer, Indian butter chicken) was cooked by me. But seriously, I write and photograph – I rarely cook. I will cook if I think it will look pretty for my photographs :)

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Alright, one more. Having the girls over for drinks? Confession: That’s not research. That’s just plain FUN!

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What inspires YOU most in the summertime?

Five Author Myths: Debunked

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5 Authors make a salary.
That’s just funny. Some of us, if we have a large publisher, get something called an advance on royalties. I got a nice big one ($2,000 per book divided into three installments) when I worked with Jackfruit Press, writing a couple books on Canada’s Prime Ministers. It’s a wonderful recognition of your hard work to get these installments after you’ve signed your contract, sent in a draft, and delivered your final manuscript, but I don’t know many independent publishers who offer this. It’s too much of a risk for a publisher to do this. So, authors might work for 1-2 or even more years on a book, and not see any payment until their first royalty cheque. This is just the way it is.

4 Once you’re a published author, you’ll have your own agent & assistant!

Nope. Authors with big publishing firms, and ‘names,’ have these. I have tried to find an agent for years. It would help me and my books get more visibility. It’s a Catch 22 because you can’t find an agent unless you grab their attention. I sent 50 queries to agents *accepting* queries when I finished Strangely, Incredibly Good, hoping one would represent me. Many agents and publishers don’t accept unsolicited requests – they want someone to refer you. ONE of those accepting queries responded in the 3 month time span they’d said they’d take to reply to me. ONE. No one else ever even sent me a “Decline” type note. I heard nothing. The one who did write back, thankfully, wrote to me that my manuscript wasn’t what they were looking to publish but they didn’t doubt that another agency would ‘jump on it’ (none did).
That one response gave me some motivation to keep on searching for an agent or small publisher, and I soon heard from the small Canadian publisher, Morning Rain Publishing.

3 You must be wealthy if you’re on/have appeared on an Amazon & Kobo Bestseller List!

Hardly. You need to realize these best seller lists are meant to help authors sell more books, but they don’t necessarily mean an author who made that list is rolling in it. Remember, Amazon and Kobo take a percentage of your royalties. If you have a publisher, that’s one more middle-man. So, we’re talking about a royalty between .40 cents and $3.99 per book, depending on what you’ve set your book at – but with many books going for .99 to $2.99 these days, an author’s royalty is probably on the lower end of that scale. Royalties for print books also vary, but I’ve never earned more than $4 per book, and though I’ve worked hard at selling these books, I haven’t yet sold more than 300 print copies (that is my sell-count for Where the Butterflies Go, my oldest poetry collection, so it’s had more time to sell. Carry On Dancing is at about the 250 mark, and my latest novel, now out one month, is at about 40 digital copies and 50 print copies sold. The silver lining here is that the publisher didn’t even intend to print the book until six months after the ebook release, but decided to print it early. It’s now available through special order or at events.

Don’t forget I had expenses to promote these books – book cover art, promotional ads, travel – so the $1,000 I may have earned for sales of WTBG was not my net profit. My first royalty cheque for Carry On Dancing amounted to a nice dinner with wine with my husband. After that, three months later, I got one that was around $30, and then because it was no longer new, sales petered out. Now my four poetry collections provide what I call “coffee money” every few months.

I was really pleased with that first royalty cheque from COD and I’ll never be ungrateful for the money I have managed to make as a published author, but you need to understand that royalties on books do not make authors rich, unless they have a viral best-seller, which is rare. Speaking engagements can provide some good income, but unless you’re John Grisham, you’ll be earning $100-$300 per speech, not the $50,000-$100,000 he earns for speaking.

2 Traditional publishers have tons of pull & power to help you sell your book.
It depends on their size. There are five publishers, ‘The Big 5’, that have some pull in the world. They compete with Amazon. Then there are the independent publishers, like mine. Mine is a small independent Canadian publisher that’s less than a year old. They do their best to give their authors a fighting chance, but my publisher can’t compete with the big publishers with big budgets (at least, not yet).

Chapters will allow independent authors (including those published by independent publishers like mine) to sell books on consignment. The author sets the “list” price, and the store takes up to 45% of that price as payment for shelf space. Yes you read that right: they take up to 45 percent. Sometimes, I’ve lost money just to appear at Chapters. It’s a decision I stand by today, since I ended up gaining lots of new readers because of those appearances. However, those were not money-making appearances. They were great for publicity.

1 You’re always smiling and excited about your latest achievement. Your books must be selling like crazy!

Yea, I don’t want to be a mopey bitch of an author now, do I? (actually maybe that would get headlines and sell more books! I’m kidding. )
I am so grateful that I get to do what I love – write books – that they’ve actually been published, and that I have a lot of support from family, friends and a few loyal fans. However, when you work two years or more on a book that is your heart and soul, and it only sells 75 print copies, while How To Properly Pull Nosehairs has sold 750,000, that can be quite discouraging. I keep on smiling and keep on writing* though, because the alternative isn’t my style.

*(After I’ve obsessively checked my Amazon rankings and screamed out loud a few dozen times)

I love laughing and making others laugh! And now that I've debunked these author myths I can keep on writing & laughing :)

I love laughing and making others laugh! Here I am, celebrating the release of Strangely, Incredibly Good with (L) Author JM Lavallée and (R) author Nancy Beattie.

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I have a lot of fun with my job, and try hard (not always easy) to focus on what I have already accomplished, not what I’ve failed to do.

But First, Lemme Take A #SIGFIE

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Thanks for sending in all these surprise #Selfies with SIG! You readers are
making my days!

(I was calling them #SIG SELFIES, but my 9 year old says I should call them #SIGFIES :) what do you think?!

 

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An Interview at Laura’s Little Book Blog

Today I visited my first UK book blog! In this interview, you’ll find out if I have a favourite character in Strangely,

Incredibly Good, what inspires me, and how I came up with the title. Check it out here:

Laura’s Little Book Blog

 

Why I’m An Exclamation Mark (Sometimes a Semi Colon)

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Here’s an interview at the Fictionella blog as part of the Strangely, Incredibly

Good blog tour!Thanks for reading!
Heather

Exclusive Excerpt

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Thanks to Everything Books & Authors for featuring Strangely Incredibly Good today. Here’s their post!

Everything Books & Authors EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT From Strangely, Incredibly Good

Are you still here? Well then guess I should thank you for being an exceptionally loyal reader. You helped get SIG to #11 in Humorous Fiction on Kobo this past weekend, and made it an Amazon Bestseller – #82 in Contemporary Romance !

Please keep on sharing links to this book. If you liked it, spread the word! Thanks so much.

Strangely, Incredibly Good Confessions

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Hey guys!
It’s release day! Thanks again to everyone at Morning Rain Publishing for helping get this book out into the world. Here’s what Morning Rain Publishing has to say today (you can buy Strangely, Incredibly Good at this link too).

I wanted to write something special for this day, but the fact that I woke up at 3 a.m. ! like a child on Christmas morning has left me with rather poor writing skills. I don’t like how my writing turns out when I’m tired. I can still try to offer you, my dear, loyal readers, a list of Top Ten Confessions about this novelist’s journey to getting Strangely, Incredibly Good published. Just please excuse any typos :)

10. Came up with the idea mid-2012 but then a few people (including me!) said it sounded kind of silly…and I stuffed the idea in a drawer. NEVER LET SELF DOUBT STOP YOUR GOOD INSTINCTS.

9. For years and years, I didn’t think I had a longer story in me. Then, after being inspired by the people mingling at a wonderful discussion board led by writer Aaron Sorkin, I penned an 18500 word screenplay. I was on my way. Thanks to The Undeletables for firing me up, and knowing how to get me out of that hole!

8. I have spent too much of the ’00s online, and not enough time writing. Don’t do this. It took until about 2012 for me to find true discipline and realize that if I want to write something, I can’t be online until at least lunch time. When I have a project I want to finish, I write early, and log on late.

7. I fuss about my hair too much. It’s amazing what going au naturel curly (letting it be air-dried) did for my writing! I’m serious! I had really bad hair days for months while writing Strangely, Incredibly Good, but hell, it got finished!

6. Working at home all day can be a lonely existence. I’m thankful for some wonderful neighbors, music, and the friends in my social networks. I hope I don’t become a crazy old novelist with four cats (we currently have three) ….but if I do maybe I’ll write some really weird and wonderful stuff? Laughing!

5. When I finished the manuscript in October 2013, I sent it to 50 literary agents with a really great (at least I thought so) cover letter. I heard back from ONE who said it wasn’t what they were looking for but someone else would absolutely love it. I’m thankful for that ONE agent as she convinced me to keep pushing this manuscript, and I started just sending queries to publishers that were looking for unsolicited manus. I never did need an agent, in the end, a wonderful Canadian publisher took me on without the help of an agent.

4. I thought I was writing a piece of crap about 60 percent of the time. I’m glad I listened to how I felt about the work the other 40 percent of the time – and I’m grateful to those who read it in its early stages and insisted I keep going.

3. We’re all just winging it. Every one of us.

2. I believe in magic.

1. I’d like Hugh Jackman cast as Gene, the genie. Who wouldn’t?!

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Okay, maybe WITHOUT the turban and genie pants! But imagine Hugh as Gene in the tuxedo? Mmm.

A book in review & author interview!

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In this interview, I talk about when I knew I wanted to be a writer, and divulge my guilty pleasure!

Tour Stop One: Keep Calm & Blog On – Interview & Review