Broadening Horizons through Research

John Reinhard Dizon Guest Post
by John Reinhard Dizon

Writers’ block can be one of the most formidable obstacles along an author’s road to success. It can be ascribed to different causes: in my case, it was being depressed over the sudden inactivity of my rock band after a successful performance run. I immersed myself in the world of computer games as a means of distraction, and did not get back on track for an entire year. I was able to make the best of a bad situation through researching one of the highlights of the greatly-addictive game.

I chose Serbia as one of my nations in a game of world conquest. I recalled the Serbian War of the 90’s, but back then I was pursuing my degree and was out of touch with current events. Catching up to speed, I learned about the internecine feuds leading to the collapse of Yugoslavia and the key players within the conflict. I discovered Serbia to be a fascinating country whose society and culture reflects those of their neighbors in Eastern Europe as well as the Mediterranean area. I went so far as to begin learning basic Serbian words and phrases. I was delighted to find there was a small Serbian community here in the Kansas City area. Continue reading “Broadening Horizons through Research”

Keeping Track of Online Appearances

We all know one of the hardest aspects of being an indie writer is keeping our name out there in front of readers. Luckily, we have a zillion ways to do that: Facebook, Twitter, our own blog, guest blogs, review sites, author interviews. There really is no lack of exposure if we go looking for it and ask for it. But for some of us, the problem is not getting the exposure, it’s keeping track of it all.

I’m guessing I’m not the only one who’s made an arrangement to provide a guest post or author interview, and once I got the piece off to the site owner, I completely forgot about it. If I’m lucky, the site owner sends out an e-mail the day before to suggest tweets or FB posts; if I’m not, I hear three days later from someone, “Hey, nice post last week.” Ug. Continue reading “Keeping Track of Online Appearances”

The Long Game

Guest post
by Jake Bible

I have to admit something which you really aren’t supposed to: I’m a really good poker player. Like really good. Good enough that I used to play online for hours a day and actually win. I won tournaments, sit and go tables, stakes tables.

At least until the tide turned. Online poker started getting flooded with rookies that played wild and didn’t have a clue how the game worked. They threw enough chaos into the mix that even my best moves would lose. You couldn’t bluff them because they were too stupid to be bluffed. You couldn’t bully them because they were too stupid to be bullied. All you could do was hope the luck of the cards would come your way on a showdown.

And I don’t play by luck. I don’t. So I quit playing poker online. Just cashed out and walked away. I mean, why sit for hours on end in front of a computer screen when you have no clue if there will be a pay off or not? Continue reading “The Long Game”

Taking the Plunge and Writing for a YA Audience

Guest Post
by Charles Ray

I’ve been writing since my teens; more years than I care to count; and, even as a teenager, what I wrote was aimed at an adult audience.

I am constantly coming across articles suggesting that writers consider targeting the YA market. My problem was, having for so long been immersed in a world of gritty reality and often harsh speech, I wasn’t sure I could make the transition and still retain what I view as my ‘unique’ voice. Continue reading “Taking the Plunge and Writing for a YA Audience”