Saturday, July 21, 2012

5 Reasons I Love Being a Writer

While working in a factory this summer I decided to create a list of 5 reasons I love being a writer. So, here it is!

#1: I create things.
Everything I do while writing is an act of creation. If I am writing a feature on someone, I am creating a profile of them to share with readers. If I am writing a short story, I am creating a memory in the mind of the readers. If I am writing a novel, I am giving the readers an entire world for them to enjoy.

#2: I plant emotion.
When I write I am planting emotion into a story and that emotion seeps back out to the reader, connecting them to the characters and the story.

#3: I serve others.
By writing I give people enjoyment of a good story and I give them relief from the stresses of the world.

#4: I teach others.
With my writing I can impart knowledge and moral lessons to the readers. I can educate the readers about things they otherwise would never have known. I can help the readers understand things that they may have known about but not understood.

#5: I don't have to work meaningless tasks in a factory full of people going nowhere in life!!!


What are some of your reasons that you love being a writer?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Review of Touching Smoke

Fallon Braeden has never attended a single school consistently in her life. She has never lived in anything apart from hole-in-the-wall motel rooms. All her belongings fit into one duffel bag. She and her mom had always been drifters, moving from place to place, only stopping long enough to resupply on cash before moving out again.

It all changed one day when Fallon began attending a high-end boarding school. After only one week, a massive earthquake consumed the school. Panic and smoke fought to choke the children fleeing the premises.

Fallon, confused and abandoned, is rescued by a handsome man with superhuman powers. He was the same man who she noticed has been following her mom and her around on a motorcycle. He was the same man whom his mother had run off the road a week before. And there he was, rushing her from the burning, crumbling building, and away from unearthly killers in mad scientist's garb who can throw flames and hover off the ground.

This intense action is only the beginning of Touching Smoke, Airicka Phoenix's debut novel. I can assure you, the rest of the book is just as exciting with several surprises and a few delightfully written action scenes. The entire book is a massive chase with the main characters running from the flame throwing men and several other strange people who work for powerful man called Garrison.

Now, seeing as this is a paranormal romance, I cannot neglect to talk about the relationship between Fallon and her rescuer, Isaiah. Fallon feels a deep attraction to him, and it isn't just because he is frightfully good-looking. He, in turn, feels he must protect her no matter the cost. But, toward the book's end, they both begin to wonder if their love is real. This leaves plenty of room for a sequel.

Vampires and Werewolves are the cliche staple of paranormal romance novels. Touching Smoke defies that cliche. And for that I am very glad. Although the entire book is filled with characters of superhuman abilities, the superhuman aspects do not come from being able to transform into a wolf or sucking blood and living forever. The question is, where do the characters superhuman abilities come from? And how do they impact Fallon and Isaiah's relationship? Well, my friends, you'll have to read the book to find out.

I give this book a 4 out of five stars because there were several plot aspects that I saw coming, but that's just me. And I rarely give five stars to anything. Overall, however, I really did enjoy this book and would highly recommend it to anyone looking for romance with a mixing of action and thrill.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Communication Complications #2

I work with a Mexican (I am in no way dissing Mexicans here) at my summer job. Off work, he's a nice guy, but on work he mumbles and does not understand English hand signals. For example, he once held up his pointing finger, you know, the one that means "one minute." So I waited a minute.

Then he came storming around the  corner he had disappeared behind. He told me I was supposed to come  help him. I could barely hear him. Of course that could be due to the loud machines all around us. Anyway, because of the communication difficulties between us, it is very hard to work with that man.

I was also trying to explain once how we could hang a part horizontally. He had no idea what horizontally meant. I had to hang the part horizontally to show him.

I learned that communication complications come not only from language and hand-signal problems, but that it can come from background noise as well. I would say that the background noise is the largest problem between us. Normally, I could dumb down my language and listen closer to understand him, but with that background noise. It is really hard.

This evening, on the way back from work, I realized that even in writing we deal with background noise. We deal with it in our own writing and in the setting and mind of the reader.

In a book for children you can expect that the child, with the amazing, though distract-able imaginations that children have, will have a lot of background noise outside the words you put on the page.

In a novel for teens and adults you can expect that outside stresses will cause background noise.

So, in order to communicate clearly in your writing, you should write with background noise in mind and make sure you cut out background noise within your writing itself. Background noise in writing can be things like poor grammar, cliches, and phrases that are used in only certain areas.

You can help keep a child's attention off outside background noise by keeping your sentences short and your words simple.

With YA/adult books you can eliminate outside background noise by keeping your story full of unexpected things and trying your hardest to draw the reader in. Teenage and adult readers often read a book to take a break from the world of stress outside your pages. Give them a new world and make them forget the outside background noise.

Keep on writing, my friends!

Sincerely,
Joshua A. Spotts

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Prologue

Hey! I just thought all of you might enjoy reading the prologue of the novel version of Wind of Destruction! Sorry if it's a little rough. This is straight from my mind to you. As if I was telling it around a campfire or something. 
Sincerely, 
Joshua A. Spotts 


Prologue
I am no ordinary killer. That is what they told me. That is what they buried deep inside me. Like an old wound healed over but not cleaned, it festers. It destroys me from the inside out. But I have accepted it like a warrior accepts death. It is who I am.
            There are many men who have felt the warmth of blood on their hands. There are few who truly enjoy it. I am one of those few. The deep, rich red color is to my pale hand like jewelry is around the neck of a fair lady.
            The Irontrees stand tall around me, like the shafts of giants’ spears left on an ancient battlefield. Some call this forest beautiful, a holy place of creation. I recognize it for what it truly is…a place of destruction.
            Only one road leads through the Irontree forest. It winds with the Mrazias River partway into the forest, and then a bridge crosses the river at its narrowest width, and the road cuts straight through the rest of the forest, running through Bones Ravine.
I kneel above the road and watch as a few loose rocks tumble down unto the road below. It is cracked and I can make out a few bones stacked behind a small boulder. An entire skeletal foot sticks out within view from the road. Some killers are unprofessional. That skeleton was probably just a victim of revenge.
Something moved in the ravine. It came out from one of the caves. Backing up from the edge, I picked up my crossbow. It was already loaded and drawn back. I sighted down the shaft. A small man, probably an outcast monk, picked a few plants from a patch of tilled ground near the boulder and the skeleton. He scurried back up the cliff-face and stood in his cave’s entrance, back to me.
He was probably harmless, but I couldn’t let him scare my target. This mission would be hard enough without that. I laid my finger to the crossbow’s trigger. I felt the smooth, curved metal press into my skin as I put pressure on it. Then it gave way and the bolt shot forward. The sound of its whistle as it cut through the air was beautiful. A startled scream erupted from the small man’s throat, echoing in the ravine. He fell into his cave, a crossbow bolt through his heart.
I began to crank the crossbow back again when I heard the rattle of coach wheels and the clatter of horse hooves coming up the road from the south. I closed my hand tighter around the crank and wound the crossbow back. With a satisfying click the string found the trigger notch. I laid a bolt in the shaft. Taking out my knife, I cut a rune unto the bolt to give it accuracy. Then I waited.
Three horsemen, fully armored, rode from the protective shade of the trees into the open sunlight of the ravine. Behind them came the coach, pulled by four horses, silver trimming glimmering. One guard drove it. Two guards stood on the back. The windows were round. A tough shot. It was a coach fit for a king and safe enough for a tyrant. Three more horsemen trotted into the canyon following the coach. Behind them marched six pikemen.
I tallied them all in my head. Fifteen guards. The pikemen were standard infantry. But the men on horseback were knights. And the coach guards were likely the best of the group. I had one shot. I closed my eyes. I listened to the sounds all around me. The horses’ shoes on the broken road, the metallic symphony of armor, and sweet hum of my crossbow string, the hiss of the hot sun. 
I aimed the crossbow away from the coach, turning the sharp, glinting point of the crossbow bolt back toward the man in the middle of the three rear horsemen. I pulled the trigger and the bolt threw the man off his horse, nearly taking off his head in the process. The caravan did not panic as they should have. I had just killed their leader.
The caravan just kept riding. Then, once the pikemen had pasted the corpse, the coach and riders tore off down the ravine. The pikemen began to climb the cliffs toward me. How could I have been so stupid? My target had escaped me.
No, he had not escaped. I would get him. I threw my crossbow at a pikeman who had made it to the top of the ravine. It hit him in the forehead and he fell backward, screaming. I rushed along the ravine top. I could hear the pikemen shouting behind me.
I felt the earth shake under my feet as my anger boiled forth like a volcano. My target, the Lord Vincent Decarla, had escaped. I watched as his coat rolled away back into the forest. I knew I would never catch them on foot.
The shouts of the pikemen crept closer. I turned. Five pathetic men, holding short swords, advanced upon me in torn uniforms. I grinned like a skull. The ravine had done most of my work for me.
Two of the pikemen fell as they started to charge, my throwing knives in their throats. I whipped my two curved scimitars from their back-slings and cut through the remaining three men like a reaper through wheat. Indeed, that was what I was, a reaper, harvesting souls. But one soul, one foul seed, remained to be harvested. Its name was Lord Vincent Decaria.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Writing and Working

Writing is work. But so is being employed 40+ hours a week. In this post I am going to talk some about how I find both time and motivation for writing after working ten hour shift most days of the week.

Finding time is difficult. After work I only have five hours of free time before I need to go to bed in order to get up at six the next morning. What I do is I come back to my Brother and Sister-in-Law's and do whatever non-writing related things I have to do. Then, when I know I cannot be interrupted, I just sit down, put on some music, and write. The thing most damaging to a good time of writing is being interrupted.

Methods for finding time:

1. Schedule a specific time to write and stick to it! Make it as important as a meeting on your schedule with a dead uncle who has left you millions!

2. Make sure anything you need to do that will distract you from writing is done.

3. Scatter your writing days throughout the week. You don't have to write every evening or whatever free time you have. You can if you want. But if you choose specific writing days you can get the other things you have to do (apart from work) done on non-writing days.

Finding motivation after a full work day makes finding time look easy. Some days I have come home with sore feet, a terrible headache, and a knot in my back. I sit down, glance at my computer, and then pick up a book instead. Now I love reading books, but should I read someone else's book when I should be writing my own?


I have developed a few methods to gaining motivation:

1. I set my laptop on top of books I want to read. This provides me with a physical reminder that I should write when I pick up the laptop.

2. I open my most recent writing project, shut down my web browsers, turn on some music, and just start writing. I don't worry about the quality of what I am typing. I just type. I lose myself in the story I am telling.

3. I think about my dreams. I think about how practicing writing will help me achieve my dreams. This motivates me because I value my dreams. But dreams don't just come true, they are to be worked for.




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