Category Archives: Writing

A Not-So-Fond Farewell to 2013

I don’t know about you, gentle reader, but I was about done with 2013 back in July.

Between any number of necessary, seminecessary, and unnecessary battles, the loss of loved ones, and my state of ongoing penury through most of the year, I felt like 2013 would never end. At a certain point I took something of a bunker mentality, hunkering down and waiting for the next explosion. If there’s an opposite for the phrase “Every cloud has a silver lining,” it applied to my general attitude for the second half of the year.

You want some of THIS? YOU WANT SOME!?!??!

This isn’t a bitch post, however. I made the choices I made and whether they were good, bad, or just calculated to get me through another day, I own them. Tonight, I’m thinking about all the things I’m looking forward to for 2014 and all the changes I have planned for the next year.

First, I’m pleased to announce that I’ve started doing freelance articles for Lifehack.org, in addition to my other freelance work. My first one drops at around 6am Eastern time, and this is the link: http://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/10-things-when-you-feel-lonely.html. I hope you’ll check it out and that you enjoy it!

Second, I’m really excited about my next book, Dusk. This is the one I ran the contest for, in which Cassi R. had the winning concept. One day after the contest ended, I’m almost 8k words deep and raring to go on this one! Hopefully the next 80k or so will go as quickly on average as the beginning did!

Third, I learned earlier this evening that I made the Dean’s List at SUU for the second time in three completed semesters and finished off the semester with a 3.65 overall. This is particularly sweet because someone told me around the first of November that with my (admittedly more than slightly crazed) schedule, I was “setting myself up to fail.” Guess it just goes to show that proper motivation, determination, and planning always trumps precedent. (Should you find yourself in a similar position, this is a life lesson worth taking away…on both sides of the fence.)

Term: Fall Semester 2013
Academic Standing: Good Standing
Additional Standing: Dean’s List
Subject Course Level Title Grade Credit Hours Quality Points Start and End Dates R
CSIS 1000 US Intro Computer Apps & Internet B+ 3.000 9.90
ENGL 1010 US Intro to Academic Wrtg (HON) A 3.000 12.00
GEO 1090 US How the Earth Works B+ 3.000 9.90
GEO 1095 US How the Earth Works Lab B+ 1.000 3.30
HIST 1700 US American Civilization A 3.000 12.00
MATH 0990 US Beginning Algebra B+* 4.000 0.00
NR 1010 US Intro to Natural Resources A 3.000 12.00
SPAN 2010 US Intermediate Spanish B+ 4.000 13.20
UNIV 3925 US EDGE Project Proposal:Creative P 1.000 0.00
Term Totals (Undergraduate – Semester)
Attempt Hours Passed Hours Earned Hours GPA Hours Quality Points GPA
Current Term: 25.000 21.000 21.000 20.000 72.30 3.61
Cumulative: 61.000 57.000 57.000 50.000 182.50 3.65

Fourth, I have a lot of new plans for this year concerning promo, social media, and generally trying to make myself more available to readers than ever before. This is largely due to the efforts of my new business manager, who beat me about the head and shoulders with a frozen turkey drumstick until I finally broke down and got a Facebook account for the first time in a year and a half. I’m also going to be making some changes to the way I manage my social media and promotional efforts, to see what really works.

Fifth, I’m taking a more structured approach to my scheduling. I need to work in some R&R on a regular basis, because I shaved the other day and JESUS! I’m getting in wrinkles in places I didn’t even know COULD get wrinkles! (Ladies of a certain age or above, feel free to snicker at me and mutter, “WE coulda tolja that, asshole.”) So I’m allotting myself so many hours a day for school; so many for work; and so many for writing. The end goal is to try to be off the computer and into my night by 6pm, 7 at the latest, and to block out one full day a week where it’s all about taking a little time away. Maybe I can even find out what’s going on with TV these days!

I’m SO there.

Things in the Land of the Spork aren’t getting any less insane, but I have high hopes that if I do this right, I’ll end 2014 a lot healthier, happier, and (please GOD) wealthier than I’m starting.

I hope you all have a safe, happy, and prosperous 2014. May it be gentler on ALL of us than 2013 was.

And as we look over our shoulders this one last time at 2013, I hope you’ll all join me in giving this abomination of a year the appropriate farewell, with the most fervent sincerity:

No, seriously, 2013. It wasn’t us…it was YOU.

Until next time,

Best,

J.S. Wayne

And The Winner Is…Cassi R.!

I asked, and you answered!

Out of 23 responses overall, the overwhelming winning concept was futuristic MFM menage with magick and an evil magician/nobleperson. I was quite pleased to see that the winning heat level was thermonuclear. (I DO so hate to disappoint…) Winners were chosen from the majority pool, using a pair of ten-sided gaming dice as the randomizer.

And the winner of the 2013 Choose My Story contest is…

CASSI R.!!!!

Cassi wanted to read a story including futuristic MFM menage with a thermonuclear heat level, magick, and an evil magician using a hapless alien race for their own ends. Luckily, I have just the thing in my back pocket…stay tuned for details!

Cassi, I will be in touch by email with your prizes no later than the 6th of January. You’ve won a $20 gift card to Changeling Press and a $20 Amazon gift card!

Thank you very much to everyone who participated, shared, Tweeted, Facebooked, and otherwise passed this around. I’m deeply grateful to all of you and hope you enjoy what I’m bringing this next round! (And, for those whose concepts didn’t win, take heart…I’m saving the responses for future reference, so just because you didn’t win this time around, it doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t see YOURS in the near future!;)

I wish each and every one of you a safe and happy 2014, and all the joy and prosperity 2013 seemed to lack. Slainte, salud, skoal, cheers, and bottoms up, y’all!

The standings at the end of Day Two

First, I want to wish everyone a safe and happy holiday season and a wonderful 2014. As odd as this year has been, I sincerely hope next year is far less interesting! :)

With the seasonal rush to get to family and shopping, the standings for the survey haven’t changed all that much. Even so, I did promise to keep a running tally. So, with that in mind, here they are:

Medieval
9.09%
2
Modern
40.91%
9
Futuristic
50%
11
Total 22

Choose a pairing.

M/F
14.29%
3
M/M
14.29%
3
M/F/M
38.10%
8
M/M/F
19.05%
4
Other (please specify)
14.29%
3
Total 21

Choose a genre.

Steampunk
9.09%
2
Sci/Fi
40.91%
9
Paranormal
50%
11
Contemporary
0%
0
Suspense/thriller
9.09%
2
Western
0%
0
Total Respondents: 22

Choose a heat level.

Moderate (bedroom door is open)
13.64%
3
Intense (graphic detail)
36.36%
8
Thermonuclear (melts your monitor!)
50%
11
Total 22

Choose an extra.

Alchemy
13.64%
3
Magick
45.45%
10
Invention
9.09%
2
Computers
9.09%
2
Robots
13.64%
3
Other (please specify)
9.09%
2
Total 22

Choose a villain(ess).

Evil monarch/boss
22.73%
5
Rival for affections
4.55%
1
Jilted lover
9.09%
2
Evil magician/nobleperson
27.27%
6
Alien Race
9.09%
2
Evil Undead/ghosts/spirits
18.18%
4
Other (please specify)
9.09%
2
Total 2

So far, MFM futuristic menage, with a thermonuclear heat level and magick as the extra, seem to be the runaway favorites. There’s still plenty of time to make your voice heard, however…don’t forget, the contest runs until December 30th at midnight and the prizes only get bigger as more people vote, so pass the word!

For now, I wish you all the joy and happiness of this holiday season, a safe return to your various domiciles for yourselves, your friends and family, and a wonderful New Year!

Until next time,
Best,
J.S. Wayne

The Standings At The End Of Day One

I’ve certainly learned a lot in the last day or so about what readers are looking for by watching the survey I posted. With just over a week to go, I’m curious to see what’s going to win! But, here at the end of the first full day, here are the standings as they sit now.

Tune in tomorrow night for the latest, and pass the word around! Remember, I’m going to write what YOU want to read, so the choice is yours! :D

Choose a time period.

Medieval
10.53%
2
Modern
36.84%
7
Futuristic
52.63%
10
Total 19

Choose a pairing.

M/F
16.67%
3
M/M
11.11%
2
M/F/M
38.89%
7
M/M/F
22.22%
4
Other (please specify)
11.11%
2
Total 18

Choose a genre.

Steampunk
5.26%
1
Sci/Fi
42.11%
8
Paranormal
52.63%
10
Contemporary
0%
0
Suspense/thriller
10.53%
2
Western
0%
0
Total Respondents: 19

Choose a heat level.

Moderate (bedroom door is open)
10.53%
2
Intense (graphic detail)
31.58%
6
Thermonuclear (melts your monitor!)
57.89%
11
Total 19

Choose an extra.

Alchemy
10.53%
2
Magick
47.37%
9
Invention
5.26%
1
Computers
10.53%
2
Robots
15.79%
3
Other (please specify)
10.53%
2
Total 19

Choose a villain(ess).

 

Evil monarch/boss
21.05%
4
Rival for affections
5.26%
1
Jilted lover
10.53%
2
Evil magician/nobleperson
26.32%
5
Alien Race
10.53%
2
Evil Undead/ghosts/spirits
21.05%
4
Other (please specify)
5.26%
1
Total

Help J.S. Wayne choose his next story!

Good afternoon, everyone!
DSCI0051

In celebration of the holiday season and as a thank you to all my readers, new and old, I’m offering YOU the chance to tell me what you want me to write next! Just go to this link:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/LJ7P26G
Click here to take survey

and speak your mind! The most votes get the booty, and I’ll be choosing random winners to give away some great stuff to.

Here’s the contest information:

Grand Prize (depends on number of entries): $20 gift certificates to Amazon AND Changeling Press

First Prize (depends on number of entries): $20 gift certificate to Changeling Press

Second Prize (depends on number of entries): TWO books of the winner’s choice from my Changeling Press backlist

Third Prize (depends on number of entries): ONE book of the winner’s choice from my Changeling Press backlist

 
Prize schedule runs as follows:
< 20 entries: First prize
> 20 entries: Grand Prize/first prize
> 50 entries: Grand Prize/first prize/second prize
> 100 entries: Grand Prize/first prize/second prize/third prize
> 200 entries: all of the above, plus something extra-special!
Contest ends at midnight on 12/30/13 and is open worldwide. (International prizes are subject to substitution depending upon availability). If there aren’t enough entries, the Grand Prize will become first prize. Hey, it’s still $20, gratis! :D All prizes will be awarded no later than 1/6/14. Winners will be selected randomly and notified via email.

Please share, Tweet, Facebook, and forward this on to all your reading peeps. I can’t wait to see what YOU want me to write, so pass it on!
Until next time,

Best,

J.S. Wayne

How a writer spends Winter Break

I used to think being a writer during the winter was kind of glamorous. Wake up, look out at the snow I don’t have to deal with because I was smart enough to find a way to make money that doesn’t even really require me to put on pants, have a smoke and some caffeine, take a bath, and go to work. Drink cocoa until around dinner time, then switch up cocoa for whiskey and Coke. Continue until bedtime. Maybe, occasionally, go to a party and talk writing with other writers, swapping triumphant tales and horror stories about The Craft with others of a similar persuasion.

Surprise! Reality doesn’t work that way.

Over the course of the last semester I’ve found myself waking up far earlier than customary. I usually roll out of bed around 8, hop in the shower, scrub down, dress and run a brush through my hair, and I’m out by 8:30 to make my 9am class. This is how it should be, anyway. Somehow, though, my body stayed on Daylight Savings Time while my mind was looking forward to falling back. Net result: I’m slightly less likely to be up at 5:30 than I am at 8:30, but only slightly. Which SUCKS.

One of the great joys of being a freelance writer is not having a set schedule. As long as the work gets done, HOW and WHEN it gets done are no concern to anyone but me. This is not a problem until I realize that my nice, easy day has suddenly ballooned out to ten hours without my knowledge or consent. My biggest problem is that I have a nasty habit of taking on waaaaaaay too much. Like, three peoples’ worth of way too much.

So, my winter break looks like this:

Wake up when I wake up.

Write a blog.

Go take a bath.

Get dressed.

Write another blog.

Write another blog.

Write another blog.

Take a break.

Peck out 2k words on a WIP.

Take a break.

Write another blog.

Dinner.

Go to open mic poetry (Thursdays. Otherwise, have a GrooveFest/LitFest planning committee meeting.)

Write another blog.

Peck out another 1k IF I feel like it.

Bed.

Wake up…

Sounds thrilling, doesn’t it? But, hey…there’s still the part about not having to wear real clothes if I don’t want to! :D

Which brings me to what to get the writer who has everything for Christmas.

A lot of writers would be thrilled to get a copy of Stephen King’s On Writing, a signed copy of Janet Evanovich’s Secrets of a Best-Selling Author, or the Chicago Manual of Style 15th edition. These are all worthy tomes in their own right, and I would never gainsay them as great gifts for the author in your life.

But you know what this author really wants for Christmas?

Reviews.

That’s it. Nothing big, nothing elaborate, although I asked Santa for a book deal paying “fuck you” money just to cover my bases. (For the uninitiated, that’s having the kind of money where someone tells you to do something and you can look them square in the eye with perfect confidence and say “Fuck you!”)

johnny-cash-finger-2

With just that much authority, may I add…

But seriously, all I want this year are reviews of two of my works. I haven’t seen one since April, and I’m starting to get a wee bit of a complex. I don’t even care if they’re BAD reviews. I’d just really like to hear what some of the people who’ve read my work in the last little bit are thinking about it. Reviews make the world go round for writers, folks. So if you’ve read some of my work lately, please talk about it on Amazon, Twitter, G+, SquitterFace, or Goodreads. I’d love to know if I’m on the right track or if there are things you think I could be doing better. :)

So now you know.

Just in case I don’t get back before (a distinct possibility of late), Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

Until next time,

Best,

J.S. Wayne

Angie Aaron has a new blog. Check it out!

My friend Angie Aaron is reentering the blogging world with a vengeance! Her new blog, Angie’s Attic, is chock-full of writerly goodness for your reading…and listening…pleasure! To get to Angie’s blog, just click the image below. Happy listening!

PI Christmas

I’ll be back tomorrow, talking about how this writer spends the winter break…and what to get for the author who’s already got everything!

Until next time,

Best,

J.S. Wayne

A Question of Judgment

Some days, I question my judgment.

Believe it or not, I actually kind of enjoy these days. Think of them as mental floss. When I get several days like this in one week, even if the conclusions I come to make me feel a little weird or a little uncertain, I enjoy them because I know changes are coming. It’s an odd headspace to be in, but there it is.

What got me thinking about this was simple. I printed off a batch of poems to perform tonight at Main Street Books for Open Mic Poetry. Then I went outside to have a cigarette.

About two drags in, a revelation hit me.

See, I’ve spent a lot of time denying the very notion that I am a poet. I’d stutter/stammer something like, “Well, I write poetry…but that doesn’t make me a poet! I know people like David Baxley and Kierce Sevren who do it a hell of a lot better than I could ever hope to!” I even went so far as to argue the point with my Creative Writing professor (God, has it really been almost a year ago? Good thing I’m taking another class from her next semester. Gives me a chance to make amends).

Here’s the funny part, though: This denial didn’t pass my own acid test for the reasons why “aspiring” should never, EVER be a part of a writer’s vocabulary. The test is simple:

1) Did you put in the work?

2) Are you happy with what you produced?

3) Do you feel good about putting your work out in the public eye, and to hell with what they think about it?

If the answers to all of these questions are “Yes,” then you’re not an aspiring anything. You’re doing it. Whether you’re doing it for money is almost beside the point. You put in the work, you get the results, you can legitimately claim to be a ___________.

And yet here I was, holding myself to that same standard. “I’m not a poet because I haven’t published a book of poetry.” “I’m not an artist because I’ve never had a gallery showing.” “I’m not a lyricist because no one’s cut my songs yet.” All of these, by the way, are very much in play for me. I do all of them. When I do them, I put in the time and the work to get them right, to my own satisfaction. Once they’re done, whether anyone else likes them or not, I have no qualms about putting them out there for all to see.

The interesting part is, I could do the exact same thing in reverse with my writing: “Oh, well, I haven’t hit the New York Times Bestseller List yet, so I’m not a REAL writer.” If I heard another writer popping off with that, I’d probably give them a verbal ear-boxing. But here I was doing it to myself. Can we say “hypocrisy,” class?

Or maybe it wasn’t really hypocrisy so much as it was an inability to notice something so in-your-face and clear that it eluded me. It seems like everything really, really important is like that: If an angelic chorus doesn’t appear and start singing/screaming at you that you’re missing something really, really basic, you have to wait for it to club you upside the head before you finally sit up and take notice.

Have you ever had anything like that happen to you? If so, what did you do with it?

Can’t wait to hear your responses!

Ciao for now…I’m off to be a poet for the night! :D

Until next time,

Best,

J.S. Wayne

The Latest and Greatest!

Now that the little ghouls and goblins have retired their costumes for another year, the last hulls of what used to be whimsical or frightening Jack o’lanterns have found their way into the garbage or the compost heap, and the first blast of winter has hit Southern Utah, things are busier (and crazier) than ever in the Land O’ Sporks! I’ve been promising this update for nearly a week, and things keep going a little (okay, a lot) sideways, but I finally managed to carve out some time to keep y’all up to date. So, here goes:

First, I have been asked to MC an open mic poetry event every Thursday at 7pm at Main Street Books here in Cedar City. This is going to be very exciting, because I’m looking forward to getting to meet a lot of great writers in the area and hearing some excellent poetry! If you’re in the Cedar City area and need something to do on the 7th, 14th, or 21st of November or the 5th, 12th, or 19th of December, come on by and lay down some lines!

Second, I have thrown my hat into the ring for consideration as historian of the Alpha Eta Nu chapter of Sigma Tau Delta. This is going to keep me even busier than my usual frenetic pace, but I think it’s going to be well worth it for the things this chapter has to offer the writing community of Southern Utah University and Cedar City. I’ll keep y’all posted on this as things develop.

Third, “My Antarctica” is slated to drop November 21st, 2013 from Changeling Press! I’ll be posting an excerpt in the Available Works section as soon as it’s cleared by the powers that be, and Tuesday I’ll be starting a contest to win a copy on Release Day. So stay tuned for that!

Fourth, The Gael and the Goddess, my first category-length novel with Changeling, is on track to be wrapped up this weekend and sent off for editing. The contract has already been inked and  Gael is slated for release on January 25th, 2013, so keep watching for more on that as well!

Fifth, and by no means least important, the second anthology for Writing Out Child Abuse is now open for submissions! That will be ongoing until January 15th. For more information and specifications, click here. We’d love to have you! The title of the anthology is Everyday Angels, so if you need a theme or a prompt, maybe that’ll shake something loose.

With finals upon us, NaNoWriMo in full swing, the submissions call for WOCA, and finishing up the semester and my current roster of work, it’s shaping up to be an epic month…but it’s going to be SO worth it! In the meantime, though, I’ve gotta call it a night. Going to be hard to keep up if I don’t get some sleep, right?

Until next time,

Best,

J.S. Wayne

Here We Go Again… An Open Letter to TheKernel.com

It seems porn is big news again, thanks to the Kernel.com. This online tech gossip magazine has added itself to the list of “news” organizations criticizing Amazon, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, and others of allowing self-published authors to go too far with the content they made available for sale.

Did these people go too far? I don’t know. I have my own opinions about what constitutes objectionable reading material, but I also uphold the view of Voltaire on the subject of freedom of speech:

“I may detest what you say, but will defend to the death your right to say it.”

However, I also have my own views on what constitutes censorship and at what point freedom of speech and freedom of the press cross the line. In keeping with this, I sent this letter to Milo Yiannopoulis, editor of theKernel.com:

To: Milo Yiannopoulos, editor, TheKernel.com
In re: How Amazon Cashes In On Kindle Filth
17 Oct 13
Dear Sir:
This sensationalistic tripe that you fatuously call “news” and allowed Jeremy Wilson to post on your website is really nothing of the sort. However, it is a clear, heavy-handed attempt to impose the moral views of a few on the whole by playing to sensationalistic and ludicrously overblown fears about what should and should not be available to consenting adults to purchase with their own money. Worst of all, you and your author have caused direct, measurable harm to a legion of self-published authors whose only transgression was writing erotic stories, as well as e-retailers, on a global scale. In doing so, you have effectively tarred all independent and erotic authors with the same brush.
Many self-published authors’ works have no or little erotic content at all, and erotic is not pornographic. Erotica and pornography are not and have never been the same genre, no matter how hard or loudly mudslingers and thoughtcrime apologists have tried to file them in the same pigeonhole. The differences are readily apparent to anyone with a shred of understanding of what constitutes each genre, an understanding your author clearly lacks and which he should really make an effort to educate himself on before applying such a broad-stroke treatment to authors who dare to portray sexual matters in an honest manner, such as Selena Kitt. Additionally, with every such “story” of this type that comes down the pike and is subsequently picked up by the mainstream media, authors are forced to wonder at what point they can expect their own work to come under fire because they wrote in a scene with consenting adults having sexual intercourse.

There is one point, and one point only, I cannot argue with in this “article.” These books and stories absolutely should not be displayed next to children’s fare. The way many large e-book distributors categorize their wares has been a concern of mine for quite some time. However, this is a failing on the retailer’s part, not on the part of the author or publisher, who has very little to no control over how their books are displayed once they hit the system.

Salacious and lurid material has always been available for those with the will and means to seek it out. Your author seems to believe that pulling items dealing with “objectionable” material will be sufficient to cure the problem. However, this ignores human nature, as well as the fact that neither I (after intensive research through a number of academic databases, I might add) nor anyone else I’ve heard from has seen so much as one credible academic study establishing a causal link between reading such material and acting upon it. Indeed, it appears the opposite is true. Many of these stories allow an outlet for safe exploration of desires that would otherwise be wholly and rightly criminal without actually engaging in such conduct.
While I myself find certain scenarios reprehensible in any medium, I am also an individual of sufficient intelligence and strength of character to do my own due diligence and avoid subjecting myself to such material. For this reason, I have neither watched nor viewed Larssen’s The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo or Nabokov’s Lolita, and I skip portions of the Bible which deal with such matter.
However, this is my own personal moral decision to make, and I do not have the right nor the desire to impose my morality upon others. While people can and should be responsible for their actions in the real world, fictional portrayals conducted between imaginary characters on a page are not, in themselves, criminal acts. Your “article’s” attempts to paint them as such not only wholly misses the point, but it speaks to a highly skewed and biased perspective which is both completely divorced from reality and disinterested in taking steps to correct its own ignorance.
While I personally choose not to read certain titles or types of fiction because they are clearly labeled as to their content, this is my own choice. It is my right, no, my duty as an intelligent representative of Homo Sapiens to follow the ancient dictum, “Caveat Emptor.” If I wind up reading something that exposes me to the type of content I make a point to avoid, this is a result of my own ignorance. It would be crass in the extreme to blame someone else for penning it, the publisher for printing it, or the retailer for selling it.
The bottom line is this: If you don’t like it, don’t buy it. Don’t read it. If you must bewail the fact that some people harbor sexual fantasies beyond the mainstream, then by all means do. It’s your soapbox. However, before you do so, consider what harm is likely to come of your actions and what, if any, innocent bystanders could be caught in the crossfire of your moral “crusade.” The right to speak freely only retains its value so long as it is used judiciously. In this case, Mr. Yiannopoulos, you and Mr. Wilson both failed miserably.
– Best,

A male romance author, without apologies
“Because children everywhere deserve to feel safe”
Follow me on Twitter!
For more information on what’s going on, here are some blogs you’ll find of interest:
If you have a blog talking about this and would like a linkback, just leave a comment. :)
Here is a petition urging e-retailers to take a more measured, moderate approach to the issue:
I wish to especially thank Cassandre Dayne, Selena Kitt, and all the other authors who have brought this alarming story to my attention. I strongly urge you not to let trolls and e-retailers dictate what you can and can’t read. Unless, that is, you don’t want to read anything with a more adult plot than Horton Hears A Who, in which case…why are you here, exactly?
Until next time,
Best,
J.S. Wayne