CHRIS’S CORNER Welcomes Guest Blogger Geoff Talbot: How to Be Inspired Forever

I can’t remember when I first discovered this week’s guest blogger but it was definitely on Twitter, where I’ve made a lot of my most critical finds and struck up some of my most heartfelt friendships, believe it or not. It’s amazing what inspiration you can find out on Twitter – don’t let naysayers tell you otherwise. Geoff Talbot is a perfect example. Originally hailing from New Zealand and now planted in the beautiful state of Oregon here in the States, he’s a filmmaker and producer, and founder of SevenSentences.com, daily inspiration for creative people. Every day, Geoff pops into inboxes across the world and takes a topic – any topic – and breaks it down eloquently and meaningfully…into seven sentences. These mini-blogs can often say more in seven sentences than I or another writer can attempt to expound on in seven paragraphs or seven pages!

More than anything, there have been days when Geoff’s words provided some much-needed encouragement to keep writing, continue plugging along in my creative journey and fight the good fight. And for that, I’ll always be grateful. So I went out on a limb and I approached this busy gentleman about maybe doing a little seven-sentence guest blog for my lovely readers here. And you know what? The gracious man said yes. So, thank you, Geoff, for that!

And what better topic for him to encapsulate than inspiration. So without further ado, I give you Geoff and one of his signature seven-sentences, and I encourage you to visit his site and sign up for his daily email. I assure you it will be a welcomed guest into your workday and into your psyche.

And you can follow Geoff on Twitter here.

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GeoffTalbot
 

 
What is inspiration?
 
Is it like the wind, fickle in nature, unpredictable, staying only for a while, blowing you where-ever it chooses?Many people, believe in moments of inspiration, times where inspiration comes AND then long dry seasons where there is no wind and the soil in which you toil is barren and dry.
 
I do not believe in this kind of inspiration.
 
Inspiration is within you; it is a faithful friend and a lifelong companion, once he or she arrives, they make their home inside of you AND they stay with you from here until eternity.
 
Inspiration is in fact a way of being, it is an internal companion and not an external force.
 
If you want to be continually inspired, then please do not ignore the friend inside of you; like a child you must nurture inspiration, you must provide a safe space for her, you must listen to her, if you love her she will grow.
 
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CHRIS’S CORNER Welcomes Guest Blogger Tamie Burdick of Bookish Temptations: Genre Trends

This week’s guest blogger holds a special distinction and place in my heart, and is not actually aware of this herself. Tamie Burdick at Bookish Temptations is the first book blogger I began following after I discovered the contemporary romance genre, and in particular, the incredible writings of one Mr. Sylvain Reynard, quite possibly…no, definitely…my favorite writer in the genre. It was her book blog that helped me get swept up in sharing the excitement with other fans of his work as well as the similarly awesome writing of such masterful authors as Colleen Hoover, Tammara Webber and others.

Tamie started the site in October 2011 after working with another book blog, and soon realized she could add greater reach and value for readers by building her own team committed to passionate book discussion. Now this trusty posse of very diligent and busy cohorts invites readers on a daily basis to engage in a dialogue about their favorite books and authors, with each other, with the bloggers and often with the authors themselves.

I’ve since begun following a number of other excellent book bloggers, as well, who go out of their way to keep readers updated on the latest author news and offer access to cool contests and exclusive book information. If you’re a reader, you know the service that book bloggers provide, and if you’re an author, you recognize the influence and weight their opinion can potentially carry. With Bookish Temptations garnering nearly 10,000 blog followers, I thought Tamie was the perfect person to share a little insight on what she’s seeing as trends in the genre she (and I) and so many readers have fallen madly in love with…contemporary romance. Swoon. So take it away, Tamie…

And you can follow Tamie and Bookish Temptations on Twitter here.

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BookTempt

When Chris asked me to share my thoughts on trends in the contemporary romance genre, and the direction it may be headed in, I was honored. It’s the genre I read and review/spotlight the most on Bookish Temptations. It’s a topic near and dear to my heart.

As far as trends go here’s some of what I’m seeing…

The line between romance and erotica is getting blurrier by the day. They really were very distinct genres not that long ago. I’m a fan of the incorporation for the most part. I enjoy both genres as long as they’re well written.

That’s the tricky part tho. I’m afraid many authors feel the need to write more graphically than they are comfortable with. What can start as a great story becomes awkward and uncomfortable to me as a reader when this happens.

Throwing in sex for the sake of sex, or using sexual words does not a good story make. It takes a certain skill to balance the romance of a story and to include really great erotica.

My advice to authors is simple. If you aren’t comfortable writing it…then don’t. You can make and develop an extremely satisfying sensual scene without the explicitness. I have many favorite authors that do just that. As a reader and reviewer, I’m far happier with that than feeling like I want to flounce on a book because the author is chasing a certain audience.

Two trends that may or may not be related? The prevalence of series and the shortening of books. Series books aren’t new of course, but it sure seems like there are less and less stand alone novels and more stories that are being made into sequels, trilogies, and beyond. At the same time novels seem to be getting shorter, and I have wondered if authors are being encouraged to write with that in mind.

It’s no secret that I love lengthy stories and series as well, so I’m not quite sure how I feel about this. I’m all for authors telling the most complete story they can, and it’s hard for me to leave some characters behind. I’ve read some novels that actually needed a 3rd book, but I’ve also read some recently that could’ve been told in 2 longer books.

Epilogues…no, they aren’t a new invention, but I see them more and more and more and…I FLOVE this trend. I’m actually starting to get disappointed when I don’t see one at the conclusion of a stand alone or at the end of a series. It’s the perfect way to end with a peek into what happened to our favorite and beloved characters in the future.

Finally, let me cheat just a little…this really can’t be considered a trend, but I have to give a standing ovation to all the fabulous books being written in the New Adult genre. Some of the very best books I’ve read so far this year have come out of this newer classification and I’m thrilled about it. I think this is going to be a huge market for publishers and self- published alike.

Thanks for inviting me to write this guest post , Chris!

CHRIS’S CORNER Welcomes Guest Blogger Cameron Lincoln: In the Zone

I couldn’t be more excited about this week’s guest blogger. I first bumped into author Cameron Lincoln back in March in the Twitterverse. By April, I had gotten an opportunity to enter a fascinating dialogue with him and a few other talented writers in a genre I had never thought about exploring before: erotica. Since then, I’ve read multiple titles from him and some other writers within the genre, and quickly recognized that my own interpretation of what “erotica” meant did not take into account a talented writer’s ability to put his own spin on it.

In Cameron’s case, it was for me a surprising romantic element that weaves throughout the Holiday Heat novella trilogy Waves of Passion, Tides of Lust and Oceans of Desire, as well as his ability to create believable female characters, something that perhaps I unfairly did not expect from a male erotica romance writer. (Now who’s fault was that really…um, the person stererotyping perhaps…MOI?)

Recently, Cameron announced that he’s embarking in another literary direction, as well: a paranormal romance and his first full-length novel. I asked Cameron if he  would mind stopping by my blog this week and as expected, the always charming and ever gracious writer agreed to do so. Cameron sheds some light on what it can be like for a writer building a repertoire in one genre while wanting to scratch that itch to try others. Thanks so much, Cam, for sharing your thoughtful words with us. I’m so happy you could be a part of the Friday series!

You can follow Cameron Lincoln on Twitter here.

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CamLincoln

 

My name is Cameron, and I’m a writer.

So, what kind of stories do you write?

 

The kind with words, generally. They’re usually made up, but not always. The people in them are just like you and me, even if they’re from Mars, or fighting inter-dimensional robots or going at it like unbridled animals on an office desk. Especially then, in fact.

I mean, what kind of stories.

I write erotica and romance. Romantic erotica, really…

I knew it! You’re an erotica writer!

 

No, I’m a writer. I just happen to be writing erotica and romance a lot at the moment. I’ve written other things. Thrillers, sci-fi, horror…

But you’re an erotica writer really, right? That’s your comfort zone.

 

Umm…

When it comes to writing, is there really such a thing as a comfort zone? If you ponder the moments in life that you’re truly comfortable, you may be romantic about it, picturing being safely ensconced in the arms of the one you love; or, if you’re more of a realist, then you’re sitting in your undies eating cookies straight from the pack. Or perhaps I’m revealing too much there. Let me tuck it back.

As a species, we like to see people doing things they’re good at, and if you establish yourself as being good at something, folks generally like to see you do that thing forever more. Admit it…when your favourite singer made a go of being an actor, you cringed, right? Though probably not as much as when your favourite actor picked up the microphone. For every Fresh Prince, there’s a Bruno.

People don’t forget, and readers have mental bookmarks to save previous chapters of their favourite writers’ lives. Stephen King, regardless of whatever book he has just released, is known for horror. JK Rowling will always be ‘the Harry Potter lady.’ Nothing E.L James creates from now on will ever be spoken of without restraints and floggers coming up. But is writing about adolescent witchcraft really Rowling’s comfort zone? Is that – as epic and rich as it is – the only story she ever wanted to tell? Heck no. But it’s the one people expect her to tell, over and over again.

I love stories, as any reader does, and I love them in all their forms. The lyrical beauty of poetry and the rich tapestry of a novel; the heartwrenching majesty of a song that speaks directly to the soul; the pulse-pounding transcendent thrill of a great movie or the bombastic pizzazz of a comic book. I love the flop sweats and shivers brought on by horror, the mind bending delights of science-fiction and the dreamy fantasies brought on by romance. I live for storytelling, and I want to turn my pen to every last genre and medium that gets me excited.

My comfort zone is writing. Creating. Fabricating lies that ironically, must tell the absolute truth. Whether you’re telling stories for yourself or for others to read, there’s a never-ending itch that no end of scratching will cure. To tell more stories. To try new things, to explore new genres, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly… Wait. That’s someone else’s story. Damn, I want to tell one that starts just like that…

I’m recognised now for erotica, but I’d hate to think that was what was expected of me until my fingers drop off. My next big project is a novel in the paranormal genre with a heavy focus on romance. After that, who knows? Either way, accompanied by the relentless clack of the keys – and a big supply of Hobnobs and boxers – I’ll be perfectly comfortable in my zone.

 

CHRIS’S CORNER Welcomes Guest Blogger Angela Schaefers: The Benefit of Writing My Story

It’s another Friday. Are you ready for this work week to come to a close? I certainly wouldn’t object but there is still much writing to do, much more storytelling to take place. And this week’s guest blogger here at CHRIS’S CORNER is no stranger to storytelling. I was first introduced to Angela Schaefers when I was serving as a magazine editor for a local women’s magazine. I learned of a  remarkable woman who had shared her own story of overcoming tragedies and obstacles, including being diagnosed with stage IV cancer over nine years ago.

Angela quickly discovered that by sharing her own story she could inspire others to tackle their personal challenges and begin the healing process. Angela’s message is consistent: everybody has a unique story of value. She’s translated this message into a platform  “Your Story Matters” which has prevailed across a variety of avenues  – from books to articles to social media and speaking engagements, as well as an online radio show aptly titled “Your Story Matters”. In her book Your Story Matters, You Matter, Angela has been able to reach out to others, connect and share her insight on how to learn, heal and share their story.

I asked Angela if she would stop by my blog and talk about the background behind writing her story and the benefits of going through the process, and she was kind enough to say ‘yes.’  Like Angela, I encourage people to find whatever means possible to tell their story – whether it’s through words in a private journal, a shared blog or a book, or through some other means entirely including art, music, food, fashion or another medium. When we share, we learn from each other and ourselves. Thanks, Angela, for sharing with us.

You can follow Angela on Twitter here.

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AngelaSchaefers

When I first wrote my story I felt I was only doing so for my kids, to leave them a written record of who I was and who I had become based on my past. I never knew until later how much I was writing my story for my own healing, for others’ encouragement and as part of my journey to discover my purpose. The beginning of writing our story, or any other way we capture it (art, images, etc.) is powerful as it leads to more and more self knowledge. The unfolding of our authentic selves and our lives, while unpeeling layers of memories embedded in our hearts and minds, leads to learning a great deal about oneself.

When I started to write my story, from my beginning, I was charged with this surreal energy that was stirred by wanting to remember all the details that shaped me. There were times that details I suddenly remembered made me laugh and smile, especially those experiences that instantly made sense about why I was the unique person that I am. Silly and fun loving, but unique!

And then there were the moments when I was writing and had to pause. Sometimes these pauses lasted more than a day or two. It was overwhelming at those times when I recalled parts of my story that were uncomfortable, painful and even gut wrenching. I had to take the time to catch my breath and let it all sink in. I had to allow the pain to surface. I may have wanted to stop writing my story, but I knew that my story needed to be unraveled. As time went on, I knew it should be shared.

Knowing my story, facing my truths and dealing with my feelings about it helped me to discover more about myself than I ever knew I could. It helped me to interpret where my worldview came from. It helped me to understand why I felt a certain way about things and why I  reacted and responded the way I did to various things and people.

Part of the healing process for me, that stemmed from the knowledge of my story, was learning to forgive both myself and others over painful circumstances through out my life. I was finally able to discern ‘why’ about a great deal of things and to put into perspective how my current life and my future was not based on my past. What was imparted to me from my story was all part of the process of learning and growing, yet it (the past) no longer had a grip on me.

The gift in learning from my story was the awareness that all I had been through in my life was worth it because it was all for the purpose of gaining wisdom. That enlightenment helped me to change my life for the better and when shared with others has helped many on their own journey.

Over time, I discovered that my story mattered! My story offers hope to the hopeless, encouragement and inspiration to many. I was empowered by it and am able to empower others too! This knowledge brought me to the realization that my purpose is, in part, to share my story and others’ stories, too; to incite positive connections to those similar to us and not. Sharing our stories with one another creates kinship and can  help overcome barriers to conflict and communication. What better way for each of us to do our part to change the world, for good, one story at a time!

I implore you to get your story out of your head and onto paper, on a canvas or into a media form. Learn from it, heal from it and share it!

CHRIS’S CORNER Welcomes Guest Blogger Carrie Bailey: Friends Don’t Let Friends Blog Alone

Yesterday, I let the proverbial cat out of the bag in a new blog. The concept of #FollowFridays just took on a whole new meaning at the KuhnStories site.

Today marks the introduction of CHRIS’S CORNER, a special Friday feature during which I pass the reins to a trusted voice and give that guest the floor here at my blog to shed some light on a topic of interest to me, as well as my readers and blog followers.

I’m excited about launching the inaugural edition of this new Friday morning guest blogger series by introducing you to the key inspiration for it. Her name is Carrie Bailey, and if you don’t already follow her, I suspect you will by the time you’re done reading her blog.

Carrie hails from the Pacific Northwest and has the coffee addiction to substantiate it. More than that, the self-described “dystopian author” had the creativity, ingenuity and chutzpah to approach me about guest-blogging at my site. When I responded with my signature dopey look of confusion tinged with a little shame, she offered to enlighten and virtually christen my blog in the role of guest blogger. Seeing an educational opportunity that could stretch far beyond this week, I decided to invite others after Carrie to talk about a variety of topics of interest among the worlds of books, writing, pop culture and the like, so you will hear from many of these incredible people for weeks and months to come.

So, today, CHRIS’S CORNER brings you Carrie Bailey, author of  the fortchcoming The Guards of Auck and the novella Bungle of Oz, among others. She also serves as a charming ringmaster of sorts for a talented consortium of independent writers at The Peevish Penman. This blog is worth checking out for writers of any genre and level of experience to savor practical writing and publishing tips and advice wrapped in a tasty, nutritious and frequently hilarious wrapper. For more info about Carrie and her work, you can also visit www.carriebaileybooks.com.

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Writer-Carrie-Bailey-Japanese-Gardens

Chris wrote the most touching post I’ve read in a long time. It was titled My Own Sesame Street (Sort of). At the end of the post, she thanked the people online who make her feel like part of something bigger than just one computer and one woman with a story to tell. The best part is that I was one of them. Me. That was awesome.

After I finished reading it, I contacted her and suggested a guest post. Chris responded by telling me she would have to figure out how that would be done. I was stunned. Floored. Gasping for breath. A friend of mine who hadn’t been guest posting? This would be fixed, and I was just the blogger to get the ball rolling. After explaining the email, cut, and paste routine, I thought about what it was like when I first begin inviting guests to post on Peevish Penman.

Most of the people who agreed to write a post for my site were looking to increase the traffic to their own online homes. Each guest post is an opportunity for blogging authors to link to their websites, blogs, Facebook accounts, Twitter accounts, and similar. The authors I invited wrote about press releases, writing scams, and lots of important issues about working as a freelance writer that I didn’t understand at the time, to be honest. I’ve gone back and read those posts when I was ready for the information and often found them invaluable.

Some of my early guest authors were people who sought out author websites for quick links and put no useful information in their posts. No opinions. No resources. No interesting anecdotes. They got a few quick links, stated what they were selling, and then I never heard from them again. My blog often felt cheaper after they had gone. Dirty almost, like it needed a metaphorical shower and a friend’s shoulder to cry on over an afternoon mimosa. This happens because links inside blog posts on other websites are used in the complex calculations that Google performs to determine which pages and posts come up in their search engine. Yeah, that applies to the other search engines, too, and that’s all they were after. They didn’t care about me or my blog AT ALL! Sob!

Great guest posting experiences have the same things in common with great dinner party guests, i.e. bringing wine, arriving on time, amusing anecdotes. There are just a few guidelines that make all the difference.

Bring quality content.

Imagine if you invited someone to your house for dinner and then they handed out their business card, bragged about their busy schedule, tried to sell all the other guests insurance or something, and then left early. Yeah, no. They won’t be invited back. A good guest post brings something of value to your blog. They offer experience, humor, support, and they avoid going for the hard sell.

Personally, I didn’t know what to say when I first started writing guest posts for other people’s blogs. I had been posting other people’s writing on my own site for two years before I gathered the courage to ask someone if I could write something for them. It wasn’t exactly good. I tried to be funny, but I didn’t understand their audience. The author who accepted my second attempt changed half of my wording until it didn’t even sound like me anymore. We still tweet each other though. We were both learning and they understood that as well as I did.

Build relationships.

The Internet brings out the strangest behavior in otherwise normal people. You wouldn’t show up to someone’s house, open the door, and shout, “I’m awesome! Buy my stuff! Bye!” and then turn around run down their driveway cackling madly about how great you are at business without engaging anyone in conversation. Yet, the internet leads some to think this is the best way to approach visiting other people’s blogs. Some authors don’t even return to your site to respond to comments.

Guest posters may not have anything to offer each other for a while after exchanging posts. But, done right, it’s the start of a good relationship. Sometimes I catch one of their tweets or they catch mine and we rekindle our association. Morgan Barnhart wrote many posts for my site in the early stages of my writing career when I was blogging without a clue. Now she owns Sociable Boost and I know I can go to her site for the best information about social media. She’s also a voice talent and is one of the first people to review my publications.

That’s right. Effective guest posting is about networking. When I get a chance to connect one on one with another author, we often sit down and trade efforts over a few weeks. We trade badges, which are another way to increase linking, we trade reviews of each other’s work, we trade tips on blogging and social media, and we give each other beneficial feedback. These relationships can run their course, but often that leads to us recommending each other for years. It’s more than just a link.

Occasionally, I run into someone who doesn’t want to network and is only interested in being a writing buddy and we exchange contact information. They may want to work together eventually, but they don’t feel ready to self-promote. These can be valuable friends, but I take caution and put limits on my interactions with people who don’t view writing as a business. Jealousy comes in all forms and it seems to hover around those obsessed with their worth as artists. Yes, I’ve gotten drunk calls from writers. Writers who wasted my time by posting guest posts of mine and pulled them down when I didn’t take their drunk call every evening and stop working on my novel to begin a joint venture with them. Wait, no, I mean alcoholics. Avoid alcoholic authors. Shy ones are fine.

 I want to thank Chris for giving me the chance to write about guest posting. I’m finally at the place where I feel comfortable with what I have to offer other people with my writing. If there is any advice I can give Chris or anyone else on getting started, I’d like to say treat people’s blogs like their homes. That’s what I’m really trying to say. We spend a lot of time developing them and making them our face to the world of online publishing. If you can remember that at all times, you’ll be in high demand and well admired everywhere you post.

Carrie Bailey is the author of a reptilian self-help book and an Oz novella about Bungle, the glass cat with pink marble brains. She obsesses over pineapple and coffee daily on Twitter as @PeevishPenman.