I'm Just Saying…

October 18, 2015

The Fixer: The Naked Man – The Blog Tour

Hi Everyone!

Tomorrow begins another first for me on this self-publishing adventure – the virtual book blog tour. Luckily for me, I am working with BookBear. My thanks to Ailbhe, who has been terrific and has made this a very fun and enjoyable process! The questions have been great and I am excited to list all the stops on this week’s tour below and the early bird stop that just happened on the 15th:

15th OCTOBER

Woman On The Edge Of Reality- Author Interview

http://wp.me/p1jLP-77y

 

19TH OCTOBER

www.bookbear.info

Beauty, Books and Babble:  Book Review

www.beautybooksandbabble.blogspot.co.uk

 

This is a Book Review Blog- Book Review

https://thisisabookreviewblog.wordpress.com/

 

Blondie Marie- Guest Post

http://www.blondiemarie.com

 

Chapter Five- BookBear Q&A’s

www.Chapterfive.wix.com/chapter5

 

20th OCTOBER

 

Book Wormie Spot- BookBear Q&A’s

http://www.bookwormiespot.com

 

Karleigh Reads- BookBear Q&A’s

http://www.karleighreads.com/?m=1

 

21ST OCTOBER

 

Antill Book Reviews- Book Review

https://antillbookreviews.wordpress.com

 

Living The Dream- Book Review & BookBear Q&A’s

http://kellyallenwriter.weebly.com/

 

I Love Smart Books- Review

www.ilovesmartbooks.weebly.com

 

22ND OCTOBER

 

Birds That Love Words- Book Review

http://birdslovewords.com 

 

Nerd Girl Official- Book Review

http://nerdgirlofficial.com

 

23RD OCTOBER

 

Your Book Babe- Book Review

http://yourbookbabe.weebly.com

 

Authors & Read Book Corner

https://arbookcorner.wordpress.com

 

24TH OCTOBER

 

Book Hooked Blog- Promotions

http://helenaisbookhooked.blogspot.co.uk

 

25th OCTOBER

 

Alice And The Books- Book Review

https://aliceandthebooks.wordpress.com/contact/  

 

Judging More Than Just The Cover- BookBear Q&A’s/ Book Review

http://www.judgingmorethanjustthecover.blogspot.co.uk

 

Rach With Books- Book Review

https://rachwithbooks.wordpress.com

 

Lindsey Lewis Smitherson- Own Q&A’s/ Book Review

http://lindseylewissmithson.com/

 

Annies Home- Spotlight/ Social Media posts

shopannies.blogspot.com

I hope you’ll stop by some of these sites and take a look at the interviews/reviews.

I love to hear from readers! You can find me on Facebook (click link on the right of the page) or drop me a comment through my website.

Wishing everyone a good week! 🙂

Jill

 

April 6, 2015

Inside The Writer’s Room

Hi Everyone!

I hope you all had a very happy holiday. For those of you who celebrate Easter, I hope the mutant sized bunny, who for some unknown reason does NOT frighten the crap out of children, brought you all the chocolate you desire.

Personally, I skipped the basket offering of the giant Lepus and went right for the pint of Ben and Jerry ‘s Phish Food, (I’m not hung up on ceremony, just give me a spoon).

While snacking and waiting for Alan, my whiz of a graphic designer, to finish the e-cover for The Fixer: The Naked Man, I got to thinking about a book I saw years ago in the library. It was a collection of photographs of the work spaces of writers.

I must admit I liked the idea of a sneak peek into the hidden writing cubbies where stories are crafted.

So…I got to thinking…maybe it would be fun to give a little photo tour of the place where The Fixer came to life.

Let’s get right to where the magic happens, shall we?

 

20150405_123703

I find a dedicated workspace, organized for maximum efficiency, is crucial to the creative process.

One out of two ain’t bad.

A word of advice, if your workspace isn’t conducive to creativity due to excessive clutter, you may find yourself sprawling,  creating more makeshift areas for your work:

 

20150405_114533

Oops.

Now, let’s talk about inspiration. Every writer needs inspiration, a muse,  some inexplicable person, place, or thing that mysteriously aids the creative process. If you looked closely  at the pic of my desk,  your eyes did not deceive you…

 

wpid-wp-1428249117298.jpeg

There he is, The Wookie himself (bobblehead version) to provide endless hours of entertainment and inspiration (okay, not hours, more like seconds, but who’s counting).

Factoid sidebar: I do a bitchin’ Chewbacca the Wookie imitation, but it does require consumption of a milk-based product first.

But I digress.

So, how do I keep my laser focus during the creative process? Well, it’s important to keep distractions to a minimum, like trips to the store. Making sure to stock up on the essentials will give you more precious writing time:

 

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And let’s not forget the essentials for non writing time. Rest and relaxation for the brain is key, making quality downtime a necessity, not a luxury , allowing me to return to the work rejuvenated and refreshed. I do this in several ways:

 

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Followed by…

 

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Binge watching can be extremely therapeutic. Believe me, you think nothing’s going on in the brain while watching the entire season of The Big Bang Theory in one sitting. So not true. The wheels are turning.

And for the record, the tv is not old, it’s vintage.

Well, I hope you’ve enjoyed the mini tour. I’ve got to get back to editing. I can’t wait for the e-cover to be done. I’m excited to show you! Another sneak peek of Chapter 1 will be coming soon!

Take care,

J.

March 27, 2015

To Pinterest or Not To Pinterest…Is That The Question?

Hi Everyone,

The editing continues and The Fixer: The Naked Man gets closer to completion. Yay!!! I spoke to my graphic designer, Alan, and the process of a book cover has begun!!

Continuing the discussion of letting people know about The Fixer, can we talk Pinterest for a moment? I discovered Pinterest through an article on book marketing. It was important to make a Pinterest board for your book. An author needed to do this. The article didn’t really say why or how this was a necessity but it had to be done.

Fair enough.

I signed up. I have boards for my two books, Project Jennifer and For Better Or Worse. I like Pinterest. It took me a few minutes to figure out it was electronic scrapbooking but I’m in. It’s actually quite addictive, in a good way. When I put together my board for For Better Or Worse it gave me the chance to post pics of my inspiration for the Ian character: Ewan McGregor.

imagesCA2GXZLT

The weird,  wonderful thing about writing is inspiration can come from anywhere, a movie, a song, an actor or actress. There were 10 characters in FBOW and yet, I really only had a visual on Ian. That doesn’t mean I didn’t love the other characters (and you really do need to love them all, even the ones that are shits), but having that picture reference helped me to develop the character and identify tics and habits.  Like I said, weird and wonderful.

So back to The Fixer: The Naked Man. I had an idea of what Katerina Mills looked like before I made the connection to an actress that was the perfect match (more on that in a minute). However, the character of Charles Winter was the big surprise. I had trouble imagining him; I had trouble seeing him. I liked him but I couldn’t seem to get a handle on him; he didn’t stand out. I tried writing his description but it just wasn’t.  I consoled myself. He was supposed to be a one shot supporting character anyway. In, out, and gone.

When I moved on to writing the rough draft for the second book, I couldn’t stop thinking  about him. Would he come back? Meh, I would think even as he kept lurking in the back of my mind (characters do that, you know, they lurk in the subconscious,  just waiting for their chance to take over and run amok, little stinkers). I would think, maybe, he might show up again in a future book, someday… And then…

I was spending my Christmas holiday channel flipping and catching up on movies when…I saw Him for the first time (who for the moment will remain nameless). An actor who was the perfect inspiration for Charles Winter. He had it all: height, build, face, and that voice! That was all I needed. I had a visual and my character had the all clear signal: let the running amok begin!

That’s when the writing took off like (insert your cliche of choice here – I’m going with “a bat out of hell.” I like the old faithfuls :)). The whole relationship between these characters opened up. The direction of the series twisted and turned in unexpected ways. That weird, wonderful process of making connections and new meanings from narrative, plot twists, and dialogue began to flow. I could visualize what would happen to these two characters, what they would have to go through, the road they would have to travel, sometimes together, sometimes apart. Seeing my characters visually led me to seeing them emotionally. Now I’m even more attached to this series.  And…yet again, I point out my petit problème…I’m the only one.

Sooooo, back to Pinterest and my marketing conundrum. Question: Do I make a Pinterest board and post pics of the actor and actress who are the inspiration for these characters? Isn’t that doing the reader a disservice? Isn’t that depriving the reader of the fun of choosing for themselves? Does it ruin the reader experience?

It is nothing new that writers find inspiration in actors for stories. How many screenwriters have said, “I wrote this part for (insert name here).” I do wonder what would have happened if John Malkovich had said “Thanks but no thanks” to starring in Being John Malkovich. Awkward.

Let’s consider Jane Austen for a minute. When she wrote Pride and Prejudice , did she have a real life inspiration for Mr. Darcy? She could not have imagined that one day Colin Firth would be Mr. Darcy.

darcy

 

No offense to Mathew Macfadyen, his performance was excellent.

matthew macfayden

 

How about Sherlock Holmes? Is it Basil Rathbone,

basil rathbone

 

Jeremy Brett,

jeremy brett

 

or Benedict Cumberbatch?

benedict cumberbatch

 

Who would Arthur Conan Doyle choose? All of them? One? None? Will the real Sherlock Holmes please stand up? Actually, I think it is all of them, each in their own wonderful way.

The chance of the actors who sparked my imagination for Katerina Mills and Charles Winter starring in a film or tv adaptation of The Fixer series is probably something I won’t have to worry about now or any time in the near future. But as Jake Barnes said in The Sun Also Rises, “Isn’t it pretty to think so?”

But I do wonder, do I reveal this part of this story’s evolution or should it remain the writer’s secret?

What do you think? Let me know.

Until next time, when I tackle yet another path in the marketing maze, The Contest.

Take care,

J.

P.S.: If you haven’t read the sneak peek yet for The Fixer: The Naked Man, please check it out!!! Go to http://www.jillamyrosenblatt.com and have a look 🙂

August 3, 2010

The Creativity Fear Factor

Filed under: Art — jillamyrosenblatt @ 1:35 am
Tags: , , , , , , ,

I’m afraid of my watercolor brushes. Literally. Let me explain. Creatives, as we are sometimes called, usually create in more than one area. Our first chosen field may be writing, painting, music, dance, you name it, but there is usually another serious interest or hobby whispering in our ear. I am first, foremost, and forever, a writer and I am thankful that I have never experienced a fear of picking up the pencil and pad. But I am a wanna-be artist. I think about art, admire art, dream about making art, I could talk about art from now until next week. But for some reason, I can’t actually sit down to engage in the creative process of making art. To put my brush to the paper is to invite a panic attack of “what if it doesn’t come out right?” Just fingering the tubes of paint can bring on a stifling case of nerves. I don’t think Cobalt Blue is supposed to have such an effect on a person. You see my problem. 

There are days I will drive home from work thinking, “As soon as I get home I should sit down at my desk and spend some time painting.” I will be excited about this idea, gleeful, even ready to chortle with pleasure. And then the feelings will hit me like a boxer’s combination move; hesitation, anxiety, the unpleasant feeling of unrest. I can’t pick a subject, I lose my ability to make interpretive decisions about color, confusion is my companion. Sure enough, by the time I reach home, I can feel the creativity draining out of me and I decide to do something else. I would like it noted that I have no trouble purchasing books about learning to create art. I am a power shopper for art supplies. My collection of sketching pencils is impressive. I have a tub of watercolor paint tubes. Instructors have commented on the fine quality of brushes I own. I can copy pictures reasonably well. I have taken drawing lessons, watercolor lessons, life drawing lessons and yet I never quite get a handle on the basic concepts needed to create something of my own. I have to tell you: it’s a bitch.

I have been dealing with this for almost twenty years. Now I’m depressed just having typed that sentence. I console myself that I am not the only one out there with this issue. And how do I know this?

The  book Art and Fear: Observations on the Perils (And Rewards) of Creating Art,  explores this very dilemma. David Bayles and Ted Orland explained this multi-pronged problem perfectly and although it is easy in theory to understand what the problem is, that doesn’t make it any easier to conquer. To oversimplify and paraphrase, to think about art is to imagine all of the wonderful pictures I could create, rather than face picking up the brush and finding the actual result is so much less than what I’d hoped for. In short, to never draw or paint is to never fail.

I find this a curious phenomenon. I pick up a pencil and pad and write lousy sentences all the time. That’s a given with first drafts. You’re supposed to write badly. It’s part of the process. Ernest Hemingway said “The first draft of anything is shit.” Last semester, I taught Introduction to Writing the Novel. I exhorted my students: “You must write, even if you write badly, you must write.” And then I gave them an analogy that has haunted me ever since I said it. “You can’t be afraid to put words down on paper,” I told them, “You can’t worry if the words are good or bad.  You have to write badly before you can write well. Dancers have to stumble before they get smooth,  musicians have to squeak on their instruments before they play well, artists have to paint a lot of bad pictures before they paint good ones.”  Take your own advice much? I thought to myself.

What is it about creating art? It’s not as if the art police are waiting outside the door, ready to swoop in and “Book ’em Danno” because my canvas isn’t a Picasso. I find making art to be a singular challenge. Words on a page can be erased and replaced, musicians can stop playing and begin again, dancers will pick themselves up and start over but a picture that is so clearly not what it was meant to be casts a harsh and damning glare. A picture that is not well done cannot be undone. Not even throwing it in the garbage can erase the experience.   

How many creatives, I wonder,  go through the same experience, struggling to find the joy that is supposed to be the focal point of the experience, the relaxed pursuit of self-expression through form, line, and color? How many creatives are blinded to the concept of art as interpretation, not re-creation of exactly what is seen? Between resistance to the notion that process is paramount and the nagging fear that if the piece is not good enough to be sold it has no value, creativity is all but lost.  

Bayles and Orland make an excellent point in their book when they write, “…there’s generally no good reason why others should care about most of any one artist’s work.” Point taken. Then why do it? Well, I look at it this way. There are countless reasons why writers write. Love of language, love of story, overactive imagionation, etc. Personally speaking, it is all of those things, but it is also about crafting a story that I would want to read. I desperately hope that the completed work will touch the reader and they will feel the same love for the story, the characters, as I do. If writer’s write for the love of creating story, musicians play for love of music, then why not draw and paint for the same reason?  

I think I wrote this not just for myself but for other creatives out there struggling with the same predicament. You are not alone. It is not New Year’s and I’m not much for resolutions. But perhaps the mid-point of the year is as good a time as any to adopt a new outlook as we head for the home stretch of 2010. No matter how much time has been lost in fear and doubt, there is always time to start anew. I think it’s time to approach making art with a new attitude of experimentation expecting to enjoy the creative process.

I’m ready to pick up my paintbrush. Who’s with me?

J.

May 8, 2010

The March of Time

Filed under: Daily Life — jillamyrosenblatt @ 5:09 am
Tags: , , , ,

I meant to write a blog this week. Actually, I meant to write more than one blog this week. I tried to grab some time to write on Monday. And Tuesday, And Wednesday. To be honest by Thursday my creativity was in the toilet, and I threw up my hands and channel flipped all night. As a side note, I hadn’t seen the movie Without a Trace in quite a while, and it was very good.

The point is, the reason I never got to writing a blog is that I had no time. None. Not even a spare minute. How is that possible? I always return to the same old argument: I’m an unmarried woman with no children, therefore, my responsibilities at home are few. How is it I have no time? Where does it go? I’m beginning to think time is like socks in the dryer. I turn away for just a second, and when I look back, it’s gone. Only in time terms, “it’s gone” translates into “four hours.” I find myself thinking in blocks of time, like some mathematicians enjoy working with whole numbers. If I oversleep on the weekend and get up at eleven, “the whole day is gone.” If my chores run long and I don’t get back in the house before seven p.m., “the whole night is gone.” I’m my own worst enemy.  

I have always been a time conscious person, a compulsive clock watcher. When I owned a watch, I was always checking the time. I didn’t have anywhere to be. I just wanted to know. As if I just kept an eye on time, I could hold on to it somehow or even get ahead of it. Silly rabbit. If you think about it, time is always talked about in terms of loss: time waits for no man, stolen time, time is fleeting, like sands in the hourglass… you know what I mean. I have no idea where the Rolling Stones got the idea for “Time is On My Side.” I think they missed a memo.

This constant feeling of rushing, operating under pressure, this idea that “I have no time,” plays havoc with my psyche. Aren’t we are the most automated society in the world? After all, I can run the washing machine and the dishwasher, microwave my dinner, roomba my living room, and swiffer wetjet my kitchen and bathroom. While everything is washing, rinsing, cooking, vacuuming, and drying, I can pay my bills either on the phone or online. To be honest, I don’t actually own a roomba. The point is, I should have tons of time on my hands.  And yet I don’t.

Where am I going wrong? Am I the only one experiencing this problem? I don’t think so. There’s an entire industry of books and seminars for improving time management. It’s ironic that if someone didn’t read the books or attend the seminars, they’d have more time. I’m just saying. The point is, when I pop into the supermarket on a Sunday and it’s packed like a frat house prank of college students in a phone booth, I know I’m not alone.  No one else has any time either.

As a consequence of this, I haven’t done any writing for Deciphering Bella. Not being able to work on my book elicits a very specific type of depression, what I like to think of as the author’s black mood cocktail. It’s a concoction of one part sadness, mixed with two parts frustration, and add a splash of anger. Voila! You have one pissed off writer.

Well, it’s 1:00 a.m., very early Saturday morning, the weekend. I hope to be on the go a little less and write much more. As a matter of fact, the plan is to go night-night now and get up early and get right to work. I want to be out of bed by 9 a.m. After all, if it gets much later than that, the whole day will be gone. 🙂

I’m just saying.

J.

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