December Links

Early Happy Linky Christmas all!

Xmas_colors,_2013_(photo_by_David_J)

starThe Happiness and Productivity Magic Formula
Liam Livings on chasing success and how it can keep you from being happy. Something to consider as you look forward to the new year and set your goals.

If happiness is the other side of the horizon for success, this thing we always strive for but can never meet. Just like when you run towards the horizon you never actually meet it. This means happiness is now an unattainable state for most people.

starI hate Women’s Fiction and I’ll tell you why
Tara Sparling on the divisive nature of the term Women’s Fiction.

Imagine that you are a writer of romance. Sometimes steamy, sometimes so heart-breaking that grown men in their forties have scowled at you on the street.

Then, imagine that all the people who don’t regularly buy books – which, in case you don’t know, is a far larger number than the book-buying public – think that every single book in the romance genre, including yours, is the exact same as Fifty Shades Of Grey.

starGene Roddenberry: The Original Social Justice Warrior
Michelle Toven on TrekNews on how people calling for keeping “that SJW crap out of Trek” in the newly announced series are watching the wrong franchise.

For those wondering, that acronym stands for Social Justice Warrior. It’s usually meant in a derogatory sense to put said SJW down. You know what, though? I don’t see wanting social justice as a bad thing. Neither did Gene Roddenberry, and Star Trek is at its heart a progressive and forward-thinking show. If we look back at Roddenberry’s comments and articulated ideas about the show, we’ll find that he was, in fact, the original SJW.

starA Very Dumb Rule
Russ Moran sticks up for the word “very” and why it should not be expunged entirely from all writing.

But, like many “rules” of writing, this one has become overdone. Charles Murray, for example, in his Curmudgeon’s Guide to Getting Ahead, advocates performing a global search and delete of the word. “As for very,” Murray writes, “you may, if you insist, take a look at each occurrence before deleting. But hardly any of them should survive.”

Well, I feel duly chastised for believing that a word in the English language has a reason to exist. Very is both an adjective and an adverb, and sometimes, it’s just the right word.

starCan we please be honest
Jeff Erno in a plea for more openness and honesty after the various scandals in the m/m author community recently.

When I was growing up, still an adolescent and then into my early teen years, I was very much aware of my attractions to other guys. But back then kids did not usually come out in high school, often not even in college. I didn’t come out until I was 22. Prior to that, and even after I did come out to friends and family, I craved role models. I devoured gay-themed books written by openly gay authors and these men were my heroes. Literally. I’m not just saying this as hyperbole or flattery, but I probably would have died of anxiety and hyperventilation had I ever had ANY form of contact with them. Authors like Armistead Maupin, David Leavitt, Andrew Holleran, Chris Kenry, Robert Rodi, and the list goes on and on.

starViewpoint: How creativity is helped by failure
Matthew Syed on the BBC website on how failures are important steps on the road to success.

Most exhibitions are all about the finished product, the pristine new car design, perhaps, or the flawless painting. But the college, called Mount Ida in Massachusetts, wanted its students to engage not with the finished article, but what happened beforehand. They wanted to reach into the true characteristics of how creativity happens.

starIf you enjoyed a good book and you’re a woman, the critics think you’re wrong
Jennifer Weiner on The Guardian, on how critics will turn on a previously critically acclaimed book if it becomes popular with women.

Those juggernaut books have a few things in common: they’re written by women; they are read (as is most fiction) mostly by women; and, as they ascend toward peak popularity, perhaps even winning a prize or two, some highbrow critic will announce that they are not literature at all but, in fact, sentimental trash, unworthy of a single honor or accolade, written by bad people and read by awful – or, at least, silly and stupid – fans

starAuthors & the Ethics of Social Media
Anne Tenino on authors, identity and the internet and how to behave ethically.

For the modern writer, defining moral behavior can be especially problematic when it comes to internet profiles. Everyone who’s spent any time surfing the net knows that at least some of the people they meet in virtual reality aren’t at all what they claim to be in actual reality.

starPress hard: every book deserves a dedicated release kit
Damon Suede on Romance University blog about how to create a “release kit” for your books, and save yourself lots of time in the long run. This is going on my To Do list for 2016.

Online presskits work. Any author interested in building their career can only benefit from having all their necessary press details gathered in a single easy to navigate location on their website. In fact, not having one makes zero sense. My presskit saves my butt at least once a week, giving media and bloggers access to the necessary specifics with minimal handholding.

star5 Scams that Target New Writers and How to Spot Them
Very useful post from Anne R Allen about the predators waiting out there to extract money from new writers trying to break into publishing.

But some offers are recognizable as scams right away. Here are a few general tips for vetting author services:

  • Any website that’s full of testimonials from writers who have not successfully published anything is likely a scam.
  • Agents who tout their services. Real agents are inundated with queries. They don’t need to advertise.
    Ditto real publishers.
  • Google is your friend. If anything sounds too good to be true, Google the website name with the words “scam” and “complaints”, “rip-off” and/or “lawsuit”.
  • Do a search of the company at Writer Beware and Preditors and Editors.

starDealing With Rejection
Adrienne Giordano on ROmance University blog about rejection. Decided 2016 is the year you start querying? Get some tips for preparing yourself for the rejections.

Five or six years ago, a writer friend told me an agent “chose to resist” her work and it was an aha moment for me.

Chose to resist.

How fabulous is that?

So much better than rejected. From that point on, when I received one of those dreaded rejection letters, I simply congratulated myself for sending the manuscript out (again!) and moved on. Sure, there were times when a particular editor’s resistance hit me a little harder than others, but on those occasions I allowed myself a pity party for the remainder of the day. That was the deal with myself. Whether it was first thing in the morning or late at night when I received the rejection, I allowed myself to feel horrible until I went to sleep. For me, anything beyond that was counter-productive and suppressed my creativity.

starHow to Write a Smoking Hot Sex Scene
KJ Charles spills the beans on how writers produce this scenes that get you all hot and bothered.

  • Remember, a good sex scene should be integral to the book, helping to move along the plot, the characters, or the relationship in some way. This means that you may not type [NOTE: HOT SEX GOES HERE] and do it later. No. Bad.

Happy Christmas! More fabulous links in the new year.

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