Good luck to all those brave writers who participate in the fun challenge of writing a 50,000 word novel in 30 days–otherwise known as NaNoWriMo!
Good luck to all those brave writers who participate in the fun challenge of writing a 50,000 word novel in 30 days–otherwise known as NaNoWriMo!
If you click on the link and get to the end of the article, then you’ll notice that I wrote it! The website, Success Story, gave me the opportunity to be one of their online authors. I even get to include my bio.
Slowly but surely, I’m building my writing resume. And, it feels so good. If I would’ve pursued freelance writing a year ago, I wouldn’t have lasted long. Unfortunately, I probably would’ve still been in self-sabotage mode due to fear and lack of confidence.
Now I can honestly say, I love the challenge. It feels empowering reaching out to blogs and magazines to see if they’d take a chance on my article ideas (trust me, I have plenty; my mind never sleeps). It gets even better when editors reach out to me through email thanks to my freelance website.
I’m dressing for success, looking like a professional writer with my blazers, pants, and button down shirts. You never know who you may run into. I haven’t been shy passing out my business cards.
For all the freelancers out there, would you like to share some of your experiences?
I’m so excited! I had the pleasure of being interviewed by the author Barbara G. Tarn. She also has a short story in When the Lights Go Out anthology (free by the way).
If you want to check out my interview, here’s the link–Sunday Surprise.
A collection of twenty-five short stories just in time for Halloween. Enjoy thrills, chills, and mysteries. Meet ghosts, demons, vampires, and monsters everywhere from dark city streets to the English countryside. Scares lurk in the most unexpected places and, when the lights go out, no where is safe and no one will be spared.
Here’s an excerpt from my short story, The Body By the Tree:
There were cracked head stones, dead flowers and weeds coming through the ground. Even the trees looked lifeless. No ghosts. No zombies.
I still wanted to leave as fast as possible anyway. Only Bentley would want to teach me a life lesson on a chilly, windy night. The wind howled like the Hocus Pocus witches were riding their brooms near our ears.
“Do you promise I won’t come across dead people?”
He smirked. “Absolutely.”
Even though I’m a self-published author, I still like to submit stories to different places. Rejections don’t scare me, and acceptances are awesome.
I’ve always dreamt of being included in an anthology. Well, it finally happened! I submitted my short story, The Body By the Tree, to the Ink Slingers anthology. They accepted my story! I’m so excited!
I knew I had to submit because creepy stories are right up my alley. The story had to be 1,000 to 10,000 words and had to stand alone, being spooky, scary, creepy, horror, or Halloween themed.
Ink Slingers is publishing the scary anthology next month–October 1st to be exact. I’ll keep you guys posted..until then, I’m proud to share the awesome book cover:
Damn it feels good to be a writer. I hope other people are fortunate enough to follow their dreams :)
With writing, I’m always open to learning about new rules. I also love to experiment. If you don’t try, then you’ll never know.
In June, my writing buddies, Melissa and Zach, plus me gave ourselves a writing challenge.
I may be aging myself, but have you ever heard of the MASH game? It was a popular game for girls when I was in school. Basically, you created random categories, picked four options for each category, then selected your choices by counting your marks.
Our short story challenge was to come up with a “random” story. My picks were:
I had to present each category into my short story. What a challenge! Having fun, I didn’t take my story too seriously. The main goal was finding motivation to write, which it helped tremendously. I know for a fact that I’m not big on disaster stories. However, I found out that I wouldn’t mind writing more dramas.
Here’s my “random MASH” story if you’re interested:
I Need Gretchen
by Yawatta Hosby
With a blanket draped over my shoulders, I’m still wearing the same shorts and t-shirt I had on three days ago. I can barely hold on to the cup of orange juice in my hand. I imagine that I look like one of those anorexic guys who lose weight for a movie role, except I’m not cute with my disheveled hair, bad breath, stinky armpits, and caked mud on my wet clothes. This isn’t a movie. It’s my life.
A chubby older lady approaches me, a clipboard and pen in her hand. Sympathy in her voice, she asks, “Can I have your name please?”
“Nice to meet you, Lucas. Are you with anyone else?”
I slam my eyes shut, holding back tears. “I’m all alone.”
* * * *
Walking up the long, gravel driveway, I passed hickory trees that had some squirrels fighting over acorns. The front yard was planted with perennials, dogwood, and Virginia creepers. With the Victorian house, I could tell the high-end party would probably take one stern look at me and realize I didn’t belong. Heaven forbid I came from a middle class family in Virginia instead of a rich family in Asheville, North Carolina.
It probably didn’t help that I was going to crash this party. I couldn’t help it; I needed to see my sister Gretchen.
In the gigantic backyard, I noticed her. I could point out my sister’s auburn Mohawk anywhere. She was kissing ass to one of the guests. She always tilted her head to the side and placed her hand over her heart with a loud laugh when she was kissing ass. It worked on our parents all the time.
I could see the lightning flash of recognition in her eyes as Gretchen caught sight of me in her peripheral vision. She had turned her head slowly like she was hoping I’d disappear. Wide-eyed, she motioned for me to leave. Standing still, I ignored her because that’s what little brothers were supposed to do. They were supposed to annoy their big sisters. I read it in a handbook somewhere.
Gliding her way through the crowd like a heavy wind, she finally stood in front of me. I leaned up against an oak tree, anticipating the third degree, knowing I had to charm my way out of a lecture.
“Lucas, what are you doing here?”
“I need your help.”
She glanced at me, concern in her eyes. “Please tell me you have a place to stay. Why haven’t you invited me to your dorm room yet?”
It wasn’t easy, but the words poured out of my mouth like a flash flood. I spilled the beans of flunking out of South College-Asheville my freshmen year. If mom and dad knew, then they wouldn’t have let me come back into town. I couldn’t stay a prisoner at home, being treated like a kid, seeing the disappointment in dad’s eyes every day. I wanted to stay with my sister because I knew she’d always protect me. She never judged; at least not harshly like parents tended to do.
“Do mom and dad know?”
I shook my head.
Without hesitation, she said, ” You can sleep on my couch, but I’m not lying to mom and dad. You better hope they don’t ask me anything.”
I wrapped my arms around her quickly, so she couldn’t protest. I squeezed her tightly. “Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.”
After I let go, Gretchen looked around the yard to see if anyone had been watching, which I found amusing. It must be exhausting caring what others think of you all of the time. She should try and be more of a free spirit like me.
“Maybe you can help me run my business until you get on your feet, dropout.”
“Ha-ha very funny. Don’t worry about me. I got things covered.”
She folded her arms across her chest. “How?”
“I applied to art school. You know I’ve never cared about business, but I’m into video games. I’ll go back to school, and…” I put a big emphasis on the word ‘and,’ knowing Gretchen would appreciate that I had a well thought out plan. “Next week, I intern for Mash Videos. They’re impressed that I developed video games in high school with Uncle Mike.”
“I’m proud of you. I wish dad would support your decision.”
“You know how he is. He thinks I’m just playing around.”
“Well, I got your back.”
* * * *
Babies cry around me. Parents hold their weeping children. I can’t ignore the loud noises. I can’t find silence. I can’t find a place where I can be alone. But, I’m alive…
Instead of staring at the basketball rim, I scan the room. Everyone looks worn out and emotionally drained like me, swollen red eyes from crying, bones sticking out from hunger. I wonder if my life would have been different if I had kept my basketball scholarship to Virginia Tech. I was a fool following my high school sweetheart to North Carolina. She ended up breaking my heart by the end of first semester. I failed every class because of depression. How embarrassing is that?
It doesn’t really matter, in the grand scheme of things, though.
A little girl in pigtails shivers in the cold. She won’t stop staring at me. Maybe I remind her of someone? I smile at her. If I squint my eyes hard enough, she resembles a younger version of Gretchen with doe-like hazel eyes and light caramel skin.
I slide across the bleachers until I’m sitting very close to the young girl and her mother. Before the mom can object, I take the blanket off of me and place it on top of them. The young girl smiles.
“Thank you, young man.”
It hurts to speak, so I just sit in silence. Who knows, we may all die in here. The rain hasn’t let up, sounding like gunshots whenever it hits the tin roof.
I sigh when I notice the chubby woman approach my side of the gym again, clipboard and pen still in hand. Yelling, she says, “We’re running low on supplies. Are there any volunteers who are willing to look for any trapped survivors in the city?”
The chubby woman stares at me like she’s hoping that I’ll raise my hand. Can I be a hero? Do I really have a choice? We can’t expect women or children to risk their lives. I wonder if they would look at me differently if they knew I was only nineteen. I can hear my dad’s voice: “Be a man, son.”
* * * *
Gretchen sequestered me in the kitchen with her staff. When she wasn’t paying attention, I hid on the third floor balcony. I looked down at the guests and decorated landscape, manmade lake included.
I was proud of my sister. She had managed to follow mom’s footsteps. They both attended a prestigious culinary school, worked for a famous chef in Dublin, then made names for themselves in the US. The only difference, mom worked in a restaurant, and Gretchen started her own catering service.
Hopefully, one day I’d become successful like them. Dad wouldn’t let me live it down if I didn’t. He was a circuit judge. The day I told him I had no desire to ever be a judge or lawyer was the day I broke him. Covering the resentment, he urged me to get a business degree. He wouldn’t even entertain the thought of his son becoming an artist. He said art was for wimps. A stubborn man, that one.
The wind swept colorful leaves up into the air like a baton ribbon. I glanced up at the sky. It was still sunny, no clouds in sight. It started to drizzle though. I stood against the wall of the house, protecting my dreads from the rain. I scanned the party one last time. No one seemed affected by the drizzle. I hid in a room and took a nap.
Hours later, I woke up to Gretchen screaming my name. Heavy winds shook the house. Finding my balance, I opened the balcony door and peaked over. The rough rain almost knocked me down. I held into the rail.
“Lucas, we have to get outta here!”
I could barely hear her. I felt a sense of dread seeing her frightened expression. My eyes never left hers. “I’m coming down!”
The guy she spoke with earlier grabbed her arm and whispered something into her ear. He closed his eyes, waiting for something.
I couldn’t see behind the house unless I ran to the other side of the room.
Gretchen and the guy vanished. A gigantic wave forced them under water. Windows broke from the impact, the railing trapped me. It felt like I was under a waterfall. “Gretchen! Gretchen!” Once water filled my lungs, I began choking.
No! I had to save my sister! Please help me!
I had sat on that Victorian house roof for three days before a rescue team found me. My body was wrinkled and white like baby powder. I just kept rocking back and forth, glaring into the distance. They probably thought I was a mute because I wouldn’t answer their questions. For three days, I had watched Gretchen’s body, face down, dead in the lake. Just floating. Floating like a wilted flower in a puddle. It haunted me. I didn’t know what stopped me from stepping off the roof and drowning myself.
Maybe guilt? I should have protected my sister. I should be dead like her. I had planned on wasting away on that roof. I planned to starve myself. I would die a painful, slow death. I sobbed uncontrollably when help arrived. Not tears of joy, but tears of hopelessness. They had ruined my plan of joining my sister. How could I live without her?
* * * *
I’m in a rowboat with two other guys. I have no idea how we’re going to fit more people in our boat if we find survivors. The rain stings my skin like sleet. Water completely drowns the streets of Asheville. Roofs are the only visible parts on buildings. The gym was built on a mountain, but heaven forbid, there’s a mudslide.
I don’t even have the strength to paddle anymore. What’s the point? Dead bodies are everywhere. I’m not strong enough for this. I need my big sister. I need Gretchen.
I really pushed myself by experimenting with non-linear plot and creating a drama. It would’ve been too easy to stay in my comfort zone, creating a suspense. I’m happy with the end product because I learned a lot about my writer self.
The other day I heard some good news. My boss’s daughter wants to be a writer. How cool is that? I love hearing about people who want to share their words with the world. It takes bravery and vulnerability, two traits I admire. I would love the chance to talk about writing with her one day. If anything can bring me out of my shy bubble, it’s talking about writing and/or tv shows and movies.
The good news motivated me to write this post, sharing what I’ve been up to. My editor, Monica Shaughnessy, was awesome in making Twisted Obsession the best it could be. I’m finished my rewrite. Now, I’m just waiting on that perfect book cover.
My writing buddies Melissa, Zach, and I are brainstorming ideas for a tv spec pilot. I can’t wait until we work on the script and try to sell to networks. It’ll be fun. My only dilemma–if I pursue writing screenplays, would I actually consider moving to California?
I’m back in school, taking an online 20 week course–Marketing 101 for Freelance Writers. I’m been busy with my homework. Just like I had to create my author platform before I published my first book, I have to create a professional social media prescene before I can land professional gigs.
Melissa and I decided to give ourselves another short story challenge. We’re going to produce one story every month for the rest of the year. I’m happy we went back to that because it keeps me motivated. In fact, I have two projects due by August 31st:
I’ve also been dabbling with two novels. One in the revision stage, and the other is only starting out as the first draft.
As you can see, I’ve been a busy bee these past few months, which is exactly why I haven’t been blogging as much. Blah to there only being 24 hours in a day. Blah, blah, blah…
For all the writers out there, what projects are you working on?
I’ve been taking Carol Tice’s Marketing 101 class for freelance writers, and it’s been paying off. She’s been teaching us confidence. I’m not afraid or too timid to put myself out there anymore. I ordered new business cards and created a new freelance writer’s website. I also have a new twitter handle: @hosby_freelance.
I’m in business, folks :)
This week has been rough for me, losing a step-uncle. He was one of my favorites because he was always smiling and in a joking mood. He had a way of making you feel like you could get through anything.
I wrote a Facebook post: “Take chances. Smile everyday. Laugh til your stomach hurts. Love people, not material things.” This is my new motto of life. Life is way too short not to be living it.
I didn’t know this post would prepare me for a future gig, but it totally did. Today was Pee Wee’s funeral, such a sad day. So many broken hearts. Pastor Tyrone Lockett approached me to ask about my mom–they’re cousins. We reminisced about the past, then I mentioned I’m a writer. He told me it was great hearing about family following their dreams and succeeding. Before we ended the conversation, we swapped business cards and he asked me to write a poem about life. He wants to read it in church during one of his Sunday sermons.
That’s such an honor. I can’t wait to get started on my first assignment. I may even have to sit in church that day to listen to cousin Tyrone speak my words.
What does life mean to you?
I’d like to welcome my special guest Sharlene Almond, author of Initiated to Kill. Please enjoy her insightful interview.
1. Do you have any advice for other writers trying to get published?
Get persisting. You will get a lot of rejections unfortunately, but it does with what we do. If you love to write, you never know what might happen.
A good query letter is also key. You need to be able to hook the publisher pretty quickly. A query letter shouldn’t be long winded, but get straight to the point.
In the end, it’s easy to fit into the popular genre, it’s harder to actually write what you enjoy writing if it’s not so popular. However, like many books now, in which once a upon a time they weren’t popular, you never know when your one could be the next best thing.
2. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I hope Initiated to Kill can challenge what you thought you knew. To go deep into the psyche of a serial killer, and perhaps understand the inner workings.
To learn about the European countries and beyond. And of course, perhaps to learn more about body language of others, and yourself…
3. What are your thoughts on the fact that both trade and self-published authors have to promote their own work?
An author is always going to have the inside knowledge of educating people on their work. It can be frustrating at times to have to do a lot of the work, and very time-consuming; especially when trying to write and study at the same time.
With promotional blogs like yours though, it does make it easier to get the word out. And I’m sure for reviewers and interviewers, having that personal contact with the author is quite invaluable.
At times, I do wish my publisher would do a bit more, as they do have more contacts than I do. And can arrange things like blog tours etc. I personally think if publishers would work alongside authors a bit more, publicity would be all the better, and it is the best of both worlds.
4. What genre do you write for? Your favorite aspect? Your least favorite aspect?
My main genre is thrillers; however, sub-genres are historical, psychological and international. I love messing with readers’ heads a bit. Examining the psychology of the characters is fun because so much is unveiled – their flaws, their strengths. Comparing the historical killers to the 21st century killers. And writing about the places that the stories are located in.
I can’t say I have a least favourite aspect. Everything connects in with each other. Some reviewers have commented that how I write can be confusing at times, as the plot keeps on going back in time. However, I do pride myself on being different. My technique of writing allows the sub-plots to go in-depth and behind the background of the characters.
I like to look at my writing as layers. Layer upon layer, little by little more is revealed, so by the end of the novel, what has happened makes sense. That is what is fun, to learn about the characters, myself included. The more I write, the more I learn about every character.
There are so many facets to my books, which is the only way I really like. Although for some they may struggle, I would hope that at least it would be memorable.
5. What are your current/next projects?
I have written four books. Right now I am contacting publishers about my second novel, and about to edit my third novel.
My second novel is based on the first female serial killer, Elizabeth Bathory, while the 21st century aspect is based on young girls disappearing in Romania, and Annabella Cordova is now part of a vigilante organisation to bring down the most ruthless killers.
My second novel isn’t symbolic like the first; however, they all interconnect.
My third novel is based on the 70 Jewish zealots that committed suicide in 72 Ad; while the 21st century aspect is based on bodies found in the desert, organs removed, and Egyptian symbols carved on the flesh.
Finally, the fourth novel is based on the bubonic plague. How it started, and how it spread – or the theory of how and why it began. And then coming to the modern-day aspect, Annabella is sent to Greece to dig into the many deaths occurring in Greece and beyond. The victims displaying the same symptoms of the bubonic plague.
6. Do you prefer to work alone or with critique partners/beta-readers?
It’s always good to get a second opinion. So, when I have finished writing, it can be helpful to have someone read over it, and tell me what they did and didn’t like about it.
Of course, in the end, I do go by what I like. Not everyone is going to like my novel, they’re not quite like the mainstream thrillers that are out there. But that is what I hope will help them to stand out amongst the rest.
7. How do you find time to write?
I treat writing both as a hobby and an occupation. Whether it’s first thing in the morning, or later on in the day, writing a chapter or two on a regular basis slowly brings about a complete manuscript. And when you enjoy what you are doing, it is easy to fit it in.
8. Did you always want to become an author?
Ever since I can remember, I enjoyed writing. I would start something, but then not know exactly how to finish it. Finally one day, I put my mind to it – it would write a full length novel. Now I have four.
9. Is there any writing rituals you complete before creating your manuscripts/drafts?
Writing a brief character synopsis and plot synopsis, as well as doing a chapter outline in spreadsheet format, all help me to formulate what I want to write.
10. Do you write the beginning/opening first or do you tend to write out of order (with whatever scenes interest you the most)?
I always write in order. Going by my chapter outline, each chapter always builds from the last, so they interconnect with one another. If I didn’t write the previous chapter, then many chapters simply wouldn’t make sense. Especially for my novels, it is vital all chapters are in order, each chapter being a layer on the last.
11. Have you ever hated something you wrote?
No, although some things may need improving on. Everything I have written has a certain amount of ‘me’ in my writing.
12. Which is the easiest for you–novel, novella, or short story? Why?
Definitely a novel. Too much is going on in my head to put it into a short story. I like my writing because of everything that is included in it. If I didn’t have all those aspects, I don’t think I would enjoy it as much.
13. While you were writing, did you ever feel like you were one of your characters?
Yes, I quite like putting myself in Annabella’s shoes. I feel that if I almost step into my character’s shoes, they become more alive, more realistic. It’s quite fun writing about things that would be quite adventurous to be able to do. Writing about things that possibly may never happen, bringing those events to live.
14. How did you come up with the title?
It was quite simple really. Two men initiated into anorganisation to kill. Hence, Initiated to Kill.
15. What inspired you to write your latest book? What is the book about?
My latest book is about the Bubonic Plague. I think it was actually because of the news report on these different diseases that have been dormant for years, only to suddenly reappear.
The bubonic plague conspiracy is based on some thinking that the plague was actually man-made. So the premise on my book, is just that. The plague was man-made to bring about a major revolution; to change everything as the world knew it.
And like all my books, the present day events coincide with the past. So, again the plague once again springs to life; killing thousands in its path.
16. Any blogs, websites, social media you’d like to share?
Links to my social media:
Amazon Author page:
Thanks again, Sharlene, for stopping by. Good luck with your publishing journey.
So…this social experiment isn’t a challenge for a specific event. It’s more of an overall theme that I need to change, regarding my life.
In the past, I’ve purposefully dressed as a plain jane. My goal was to fade in the background–not to be seen and not to be heard. My reason: I didn’t want to attract jerks. I’m talking the crazy guys who act like just because they said hi or looked in your direction, you owe them your undivided attention. I hate aggression and/or passive aggressiveness just because some guy has his sight on you. Gross….
Maybe those types of guys seek me out because I’m a loner or they sense my shy nature. Either way, they realize right away I don’t play that game. Keep it moving hee hee.
I told my coworker Ashley this, and she had the best advice I ever heard. She put everything into perspective, and I really appreciated her advice.
She said that I shouldn’t dress myself down to avoid the jerks. I should always look on point because the nice guy I’m looking for may not notice me if I’m trying to fade in the background.
So…my social experiment is to always present myself in the best light. Lately, I’ve been saying hi to strangers (even with a smile–a shy one, of course) and asking a question to get a brief conversation going.
I feel like I’m in the 2015 version of Clueless. I love makeovers, exactly why I bought this cool purple lipstick. It’s time to be bold and experiment. Wish me luck!
I have more social experiments to go. If you have any suggestions, let me know.