Archive for Books

Keepin’ Up with the Bloggin’

Posted in Writing with tags , , , , , on August 12, 2018 by Jessica Crichton

I really should blog more but I never know what to talk about.

My stories are fiction after all, and fiction is what I do. There are myriad writing lessons and tutorials and  workshops out there that I really could only duplicate, not add to, due to their vast numbers already covering everything under the sun, so writing about writing would be redundant and pointless. Same with parenting. Same with just about anything I can think of to write here.

My stories. My worlds. My characters. THAT is what I have to offer that is unique and of value to you. So I suppose this is a reminder to you wonderful readers of those stories. Guts and Glory and Tipani Walker. Go read those, and I’ll spend time writing more of them. Fair enough?

Perfect. 🙂

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On Motivation

Posted in writer's block, Writing with tags , , , , on May 12, 2018 by Jessica Crichton

I don’t want to write this blog post.

Today, I have the motivation of a skink. It’s literally taken me two hours to write this much. Yesterday I wrote four chapters of “Guts and Glory” book 3, but today I can barely blog.

Motivation. Where does it come from? Why does it go away? And how on Earth do you stay motivated enough every day to keep going, even when you would rather turn on the TV and drool into your ice cream for 8 hours straight? I know that to get from A to Z in the career I want, I have to do something to push towards that goal every day, but some days — and even back-to-back days — I just can’t. You could say that really, I just don’t want to, but when it comes to creative writing, “can’t” and “don’t want to” are very similar. After all if you don’t want to write, that reflects in your work and everything ends up stinky. So it’s not just motivation to write that’s needed, but motivation to want to write, which can be a lot trickier than just forcing yourself to sit down and smash keys.

Sorry, but this post isn’t going to wrap up with a pretty list of motivational ideas, unless those ideas are in the comments in which case they belong to you, and I thank you for them. I myself don’t have the answers, just a blog post with a dichotomous purpose: asking for ideas and forcing me to write something today, even if it’s not much at all.

Another Excerpt from “Guts and Glory” Book 3!

Posted in Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 12, 2018 by Jessica Crichton

Emily

I sat in the back.

I always sat in the back.

My little brother stood at the front, next to the teen spokesperson. I was torn between feeling left out (as always) and being happy I wasn’t noticed.

When us teens woke up in Nil, Mom barely noticed me as her kid. Instead, she said everything was okay and that Glory had saved us all. I love my little sister, but my mother is my mother too, not just Trevor and Tabitha’s. And as I sat and watched the meeting between the kids and the teens, I couldn’t push down the feeling that had been growing inside me for days now.

Like I wasn’t quite a Tate.

“We teens know the kids helped take the curse off us, so thanks fer that an’ all, but ya can’t ‘spect us ta follow kids inta battle!”

The teen spokesperson was not much more than a kid herself. Her name was Wendy. Mom’s work again. She’d told us all that we should choose names from Earth, even though none of us were from there. But Mom insisted that Earth names would give us independence, since none of us could remember our Nil names, and At Igh Schoo we were only named after our ranks. I was only a Mindseer for a short time, but the name had stuck more than “Emily” ever did. And my tattoo, like all the teen tats, remained on my face: a blood-red tear down my left cheek. Even then, I felt more like Mindseer than I’d ever felt like Emily Tate.

“I’m willing to work with the teens, but we are in command,” my brother said. His voice was a lot more powerful than I’d ever head it. He’d definitely grown up a little since we came to Nil.

Wendy laughed. “Yer in command ‘a the kids, sure. But the teens ain’t gonna follow ya. Why would we? We’re bigger an’ stronger an smarter than any kid could ever be.”

“Because we saved your sorry butts, that’s why!” Trevor said, leaning in to Wendy and squeezing his fists at his side. “And why are you talking for them anyway? You’re barely older than me!”

Wendy didn’t flinch. “Because, KID, I’m a leader.”

“Some leader!”

The crowd gasped and parted to make room for the new voice – a teen I vaguely remembered seeing somewhere, at a time that seemed long ago. His red hair was super short, shaved almost to his scalp, and as he looked around at the crowd of kids, teens, and zombies, his green eyes flashed in a way that made me shiver. His mouth was a thin, tight line, and he wore all black, with the exception of a red hoodie two sizes too big for his lanky body. Around his neck was a circle of black feathers, and his face was tattooed with a tribal spike down one side – the rare tattoo of a commander.

Then I heard my brother make the weirdest noise I’d ever heard, like a cross between a groan and a scream. I turned to look at him, and his face was so white I was worried he’d faint right then and there.

“F— Fist!” he gasped, his eyes wide. “What… how… where—”

The new teen stopped walking and, to my shock, bowed low at his waist, sweeping his arms back in a grand gesture like some kind of old-fashioned lord.

“Guts the mighty leader ‘a the Dark Crows! I salute ya!”

Trevor closed his mouth and shook his head hard. “H– hello Fist,” he croaked. Then he seemed to notice the crowd again, and cleared his throat. “What— what brings you here?”

Fist smiled, his thin lips rising at the edges just barely enough to notice. “Ta take my rightful place leadin’ the teens, ‘course.”

Guts blinked.

Wendy sucked in a sharp intake of air. “How dare—“

Before she could finish, Fist took two long, gliding steps to the front and shoved her roughly aside. “Move over, soldier,” he snarled at her. “Or didya think rank didn’t mean nothin’ nomore?”

“B— but Fist, you’ve never even wanted to be a teen,” Trevor stammered. “Why would you want to lead them?”

“Easy,” Fist said. His voice changed instantly back to nice when he spoke to my brother. “If a Tate’s in chargea the kids, then a Tate’s gonna be in chargea the teens, too.” He put his arm around a very uncomfortable Trevor and squeezed. “After all, brothers gotta work tagether, right?”

Kinesthetic Learning as an Adult

Posted in Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 2, 2018 by Jessica Crichton

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It’s funny what we think we know. Logic can serve us well, or, if imperfect, it can lead us far off the path we wish to tread.

My own logic, for example, is almost comically imperfect.

Pathos, Logos, and Aramis — I mean Ethos — are the three pillars of critical thought. In order, they mean emotional, logical, and athoritic (athoritical? Authority..cal? Hmm…) proof. In other words, we use these three tools to prove something is true in academic study. Personally, I’m stronger in pathos than the others, though I absolutely understand the importance of ethos — trusting authorities who have done a ton more research and work in an area than I have. Sometimes these pillars can be abused, such as when a crooked politician uses ethos and pathos alone to convince the masses he’s correct, or, in my case, when only logos is used… and the logic is flawed.

I am a kinesthetic learner. That means I have to actually do something to understand it. If you just tell me or show me, I’m not going to retain anything. I’ve known this ever since 6th grade, when I was invited to the “smart” kids’ school because my best friend went there and they had a bring-a-friend day. I did such a great job that the teacher was confused as to why I wasn’t enrolled. She even called up my regular teacher to ask. The reason? I made D’s and C’s. The “smart” kids made A’s. Funny thing was, if I had gone to the “smart” school, I would have made A’s because they taught kinestheticly, as opposed to the “regular” school that taught exactly the way I didn’t learn. The “smart” school teacher understood this and got angry, but there was nothing she could do. I continued to go to the school that was wrong for me simply because I couldn’t do well enough there to go to the one that was right.

Frustrating, but I learned an important lesson — I wasn’t stupid, just different.

I used that lesson through middle and high school, and while I didn’t get perfect grades, I did okay for myself. College and graduate school were even better. I learned what I wanted, how I wanted, earning my Bachelor’s as valedictorian and my Master’s with a 4.0. You’d think I’d remember all that as I continued to learn after school.

Yeah… not so much.

As you know if you’ve been reading my blog (and thank you if you have!) I’ve been going through a new adventure lately, trying to learn how to sell my books and get myself into the industry as a viable (read: respected by my colleagues) author. Now, my logos thinking told me there were logical steps to take to go about this that made sense. They were, in order:

  • Write the book
  • Edit the book
  • Publish the book
  • Tell people about the book online
  • Wait for people to read the book and thus, care about it
  • When the people cared about the book, then they would come to the website, watch the videos, buy the next book, etc.

So, logically the LAST steps would be to:

  • Finish the website
  • Write Facebook posts, Tweets, etc. to an audience that’s already there because they already care about the book
  • Keep posting videos, again for an audience that’s already there because they already care about the book

This made sense to me. I was using logos, after all. LOGIC! The ONE of the three pillars of critical thinking that NEVER LETS YOU DOWN.

Turns out, I’m not even part Vulcan.

Another part of my logic was that writing anything about… well… writing… on here would be pointless, considering how many other writing blogs are out there covering the exact same thing. Pointless, redundant, and a waste of my time to tell people what everyone else has already told them a million times.

All this, of course, flew in the face of what everyone was telling me. I have friends in the industry who I love and respect beyond this world: published authors, agents, editors. All of them have given me advice. I can imagine how many authors like me — unpublished in trade but wanting to be, unagented, unable to write full-time — would kill to be in my place. People pay good money just to sit with an agent or editor for a few minutes, and here I had them as friends, telling me what I needed to do in everyday conversation… for free! But I blew off that coveted advice. Blew it off! Why?

Because to me, it wasn’t logical.

*Facapelm*

This brings us back to the way I learn. They told me things. I didn’t get it. They showed me things. I didn’t understand. I argued because it didn’t make sense that anyone who hadn’t even read the book would care to follow me, watch my videos, go to my websites, etc. Why would they? What would be their motive if not to learn more about books they already liked? This was LOGICAL dangit!

But I had forgotten two vital things about myself:

  1. Logos is not my strength.
  2. I learn by doing.

Lately, I have begun to dip my toes into the “illogical” waters of my friends’ advice. I’d like to say I came to my senses, but to be honest it was more of a pathos response. In other words, I was discouraged by the results of my own logos-fuled decisions. So, begrudgingly (“it doesn’t make SENSE dangit!”) I turned to ethos, and finally listened to the authorities who had been trying to teach me all along. What was that advice?

Act like I already have an audience, and they will come.

What?

But, as illogical as that seems to me, the results, though small at this moment, have been a lot more encouraging even within the first day or two, than in months of following my own logic. I’ve Tweeted about both my book and my blog even when nobody seemed to notice, replied to other people’s Tweets, posted on Facebook in what felt like a vacuum, worked more on a website it has felt like nobody would ever visit, and continue to upload videos to a Patreon only two people follow. I’ve stayed positive when I felt anything but. I’ve been upbeat, excited, and prevalent. Does it still feel like I’m screaming into a void? Most the time. Are people responding anyway? Yes! Not tons — not even tens — but enough to keep me going.

I’m doing it, and thus learning how. This is my strength. I can’t forget that.

Still doesn’t make any freaking sense though. Grumble

Thank You

Posted in Writing with tags , , , , , , , on April 23, 2018 by Jessica Crichton

As I type, my beauteous friend Kitty is editing the first chapter for Scribbler’s Storytime. I’m feeling a strange kind of anxious, like this is the precipice of something huge that will change my life forever.

I’m at work. The day job. And everything here is as it should be. Calm. Collected. Organized. Just as it has been since I started here last July. There is no indication that today is any more special than any other day.

And yet, I’m feeling the universe… shift.

Maybe it’s just wishful thinking. Maybe it’s just that I haven’t done videos before so it’s exciting. Maybe it’s the whole new everything I’ve been working on these last few months.

Or maybe it really is the start of the rest of my life.

In any case, this feeling has given me thoughts of those who brought me to this place. I haven’t done this alone, and while it may be a bit premature, I want to make sure that I acknowledge those who have worked side-by-side with me through this journey.

From the very beginning to today.

So here is a list of people to whom this is a shout out, from earliest in my life to most recent. Thank you — so much — for your part in this great adventure I am on. Without you, some vital steps would never have happened. You have encouraged me, supported me, and cheered me on, and I will never, EVER forget that.

  • Sue Edmiston (AKA Mom)
  • Joanna Crichton (AKA Grandma)
  • Jill Charles
  • Beth Engelhard
  • Misty Robins
  • Anthony Sandoval
  • Cisily Sandoval
  • Conrad Sandoval
  • Jessica Suzanne Turner
  • Kim Thacker
  • Deby Fredericks
  • Kelly Milner Halls
  • John Bladek
  • Jairus Kelley
  • Erin Greene
  • Ronnie Ryno
  • Tim Martin
  • Shelley Martin
  • Nick Jensen
  • Molly Severns
  • Kaye Thornbrugh
  • Debi Schwartz
  • Robert McDonell
  • David Morris
  • Stephanie Regalado
  • Jill Roberts
  • Lesley Sabga
  • Roget Rachford
  • Ksenia Anske
  • Jessica Douglas
  • Brandie Maxwell
  • Kitty Keighley

Please realize that this is not an exhaustive list. It does not include the myriad of teachers, professors, professionals, friends, and family who have, at one time or another, given me encouragement, read my book(s), taught me how to be a better writer, and a billion other things. Those listed here are simply the ones who I can say have cheered me on the most consistently through the years, started me on a major part of my career path, and / or worked hard to edit, draw, paint, and otherwise perfect my worlds. If you’re listed here, it’s because I remember you as someone who gave me hope and help when I most needed it. If you’re on this list, you know why.

And you are thanked beyond words. Truly. Thank you.

Website Revamp, Baby!

Posted in Writing with tags , , , , , , , on April 19, 2018 by Jessica Crichton

I’m gonna start with this awesome little nugget: I just found out I almost have 1000 blog followers! When and how did this happen? But most of you are very quiet. Say hi; I don’t bite! You all rock with your support. Thank you!

In case you can’t tell this site has had a bit of a makeover. I decided that if things pick up with “Guts and Glory” once the 3rd book is out, I MIGHT need this site to be ready. One thing I did was think about what people are looking for when they come to my site, especially those who ask for the URL from me in person — my books. Which before weren’t featured very well. *Facepalm* SO, now they are! I also shortened my menu and updated all the media and review information. I like it a lot more now. What do you think?

Other than FINALLY finishing Book 3, now it’s time for me to get on with completing http://gutsandglorybooks.com. That will take a lot more work, especially the fannish areas. My biggest challenge, besides Books’ Laboratory (anyone know how to create a game from scratch? EEP!) will be keeping everything safe for the kids who use it. I plan to have a requirement of the Nil Name quiz, so they can use that name instead of their own on, for example, the message boards (for the teens), the fan art area (for kids and teens), etc. I will also not have private message options, and I’ll need some mods and admins to help with the boards and chat.

Of course, the usage of these areas will be EXTREMELY small at first (and — let’s face it — possibly forever) but I don’t want there to be an issue I’m not anticipating, just in case. If anyone has any other ideas to keep the place on lock down, please let me know. The last thing I want is to make an unsafe place for my young readers!

But first, I need your help with the Nil Name quiz. I FINALLY got it to work for people other than me, so if you would be willing to take the quiz and tell me what you got and whether it was accurate, I’d really appreciate it. Thank you!

What’s Your Nil Name? Quiz

Jumping into Videos

Posted in Writing with tags , , , , , , on April 8, 2018 by Jessica Crichton

I’m just gonna say it.

I’m nervous.

I’ve done a LOT to really amp up the “Guts and Glory” brand, and am continuing to do so, but I’m not sure if anything will be enough. Plus, the day after tomorrow, I’ll record my first “readin'” for Patreon. It’s easy to SAY you want lots of people to watch you, but when you really THINK about it…

I’m nervous.

I just hope I do it well, and that people like it. I’m still working on my reading out loud skills, plus “Guts and Glory” has… special… verbiage in places.

Well, if ya don’t jump in, you’ll never know if you can swim, right?

This should be quite an adventure! Thanks for going on it with me. ❤

https://www.patreon.com/JessicaCrichton

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