From My Writing Playlist

Admittedly, I’m not big on the voice of the lead singer. He kind of put me off the band for a while. The release of the album ‘The Last Stand’ changed all that. These songs are amazing and it’s hard for me to resist a band with good music where the subject matter is history!

When to listen: World building. Sabaton likes to tell stories in their songs that deal in historical events and groups of people. It’s a unique type of metal that is great for brainstorming.



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Just Start Over… #Writing #Author #Advice

Hi Jim,

I’m in a major bind… I was working on my latest piece. I’d been working on it for days and… forgot to save it. I was about 140 pages in and suddenly my computer blue-screened. I’ve lost everything and Word didn’t auto-save it. I’m not sure of what to do now. I feel like having to start from scratch is a fairly daunting task.
What should I do?

Thanks,
Terry


Hi Terry,

We’ve all been there. This is a mistake that we’ve all made at one point or another. I personally had to dodge being hit in the head by a laptop thrown by my roommate in college after his 20 page paper was lost when the same thing happened to him.

(Hehe… after writing multiple novels, thinking back on how tough we all used to think a typed 30 page, double spaced paper was… Oh man…)

Ahem… However, seriously Terry, 140 PAGES AND NOT ONE SAVE!? I’m sorry to say this, but you were really tempting fate more than any writer EVER should. Always save… ALWAYS! At minimum, save it at the end of every page, at minimum. Sorry to repeat myself, but it bears repeating.

Look, you’re going to have to. There really isn’t anything you can do. Think of it this way, you remember most of the story and can now really start to add meat to what you had already started on. Think of it as a chance to improve upon what you previously wrote.
Honestly, I myself have completely deleted and started stories over more than once when I didn’t think the story worked well, so it’s not unheard of and starting over is par for the course.

Anyway, that’s the best advice I can give you. Start over, good luck, and start saving!!!



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have multiple published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Drakin, The Story of Raiya Sample Chapter #Writing #Fantasy #SciFi

 

Drakin: The Story of Raiya


Book Synopsis:
‘ “Abomination, freak, monster…”  You get used to names like these when you have yellow eyes, horns, and scales, but Raiya could have really cared less.

After being forced into exile because of her appearance, Raiya’s mind has been focused on one goal; hunting down the dragon lord that killed her parents. For over thirty years, humanity has been locked in a struggle for survival against a race of dragons that had fallen from the heavens. They took everything from her and consumed the planet in a fierce war. Humanity’s numbers are quickly dwindling, leaving her few options in the way of allies.

What she doesn’t know is that her journey will strike at the very heart of the Red War and uncover truths about her past that she may not want to know. Can she finish what she started while coming to terms with the truths of her origin? ‘


SAMPLE CHAPTER

Chapter I

“Unbelievable… thirty years of this shit…  wonder how we’ve been able to keep this up for so long.”

As Jagger pulled his jeep onto what was once Route 9, he reached over to the dash and turned the radio on. A tired-sounding voice appeared over the speaker, “This Matt Lowry, WPR hourly news. Today the Second Battalion, Eastern division, rendezvoused with the Third Battalion outside of New Washington beneath the third parallel in district 5. They were successful at warding off the dragon advance. Casualties were estimated at 30%. However, initial reports estimate that at least six dragons were downed in the fight…”

Jagger sighed. Why do I even bother listening to this? It’s never good news, just a constant reminder that we’re all fucked. Every time those beasts attack, we’re pushed a little closer to extinction.

“In other news, Captain Suen Luli of the Eastern Coalition Air Corps was awarded for…”

Click.

Jagger turned the radio off. He knew the typical song and dance of the news source. They’d tell the bad news first and then deliver some good news which would be played up to be more important. He understood why things were done this way. Morale was very important… especially when it was hidden from no one that humanity was losing the war quite badly.

The jeep drove under the remains of an old overpass that had long since collapsed. It maneuvered gently around the piles of debris. Jagger had spent a lot of time rebuilding and refurbishing his truck. He wasn’t about to get it banged up. Once it cleared the debris, he pressed the gas and picked up speed.

A sign on the side read ‘Now Entering Natick.’ Jagger had been told stories about how that whole area used to be lively with stores and restaurants for people to enjoy. He was too young to remember any of this.

The Red War had been going on for years before his birth, and Natick had been laid to waste while he was still a young child. Now all that remained was rubbed and maybe some salvageable equipment buried in the dirt.

The jeep rounded a large piece concrete that, at one time had been the side of a storefront. This was usually Jagger’s marker to find his way back home. As the jeep hit the open road, a loud noise cut through the air. Shreeeee!

Jagger hit the brakes, “Wyverns… shit! One of those days…”

Jagger quickly put the car in park before reaching behind the passenger seat and grabbing a large bolt rifle. A dark shadow passed overhead as he checked the cartridge battery. The indicator light jumped from red to blue, showing a full charge. Good… let’s do this!

Jagger jumped out of the jeep, brushed a few strands of his long, brown hair out of his face and aimed the rifle. The first wyvern he saw was flying low overhead. He ducked down behind the large piece of rubble that he has passed a moment ago. His gray eyes followed the target. He watched and waited… waited until he had lined up a clean shot, and pulled the trigger. Three large, positively-charged bolts flew from the barrel. Two shots hit the large beast, sending it falling from the sky. I’ve gotten too used to taking down drakes. I used to be able to hit with all three shots!

Sparks of blue electricity flashed through its body as it hit the barrel ground. The wyvern’s skin was too thick for the bolts to do any real damage. They only stunned it, but it was enough to give Jagger the advantage.

He quickly ran to the wyvern, pulled a large machete from his belt, and jabbed it into the only vulnerable part of a dragon’s body; the eyes.

The blade destroyed the creature’s left eye and plunged into its brain. The dying wyvern let out a painful cry as it tried to dislodge the blade. It was a gruesome sight that Jagger had grown used to. He’d been trained for a long time to show no mercy.

Every time he had to watch this scene, he remembered back to the first one he’d killed during his training. He remembered that it had made him sick to his stomach. Seeing a creature suffer like that seemed cruel, but every time he was about to look away his drill sergeant would stop him and force him to watch, “They’re lethal to the very end. Turning your back on one now could be the biggest mistake you ever make.”

‘The biggest mistake.’ It was something that he’d never forgotten.

The wounded beast slowly ceased movement as death overtook it. Jagger placed his foot over the beast’s snout and pulled his blade from its head. Greenish-purple blood spewed from the wound as Jagger wiped the blade off.

As Jagger finished cleaning the blade, he turned to head back to his jeep and grab a few supplies. The snout of a second wyvern was in his path. Oh shit…

Somehow the beast had used its partner’s death screams as a cover to hold Jagger’s attention long enough for it to sneak up on him. The beast smiled, “Hope you taste good!”

Jagger frowned, “This is one meal you’re going to have to work for.”

Jagger gripped the blade at his side, knowing he’d never raise it in time. He waited for the wyvern to lunge. This was likely it, “Bring it on… you ugly freak!”

As the wyvern took a step towards him, a black blur appeared in its path. It shrieked in surprise upon realizing that it had become outnumbered.

Jagger blinked as his eyes adjusted to the new player. They were completely clad in black robes from head to toe, making identification impossible. A gray backpack was strapped tightly to their back. Whoever this was, they moved with lightning speed.

The wyvern snapped at the robed figure, only to have the figure dodge out of the way and grab it by the neck. The stranger held the wyvern in a headlock as it struggled to get out. Jagger watched as it hissed and roared, “Damn… this guy is good!”

“Let go, bitch or I’ll tear your heart out!” The wyvern snarled.

Female… okay, well that’s a start. Jagger thought as he quickly moved to grab his bolt gun.

No amount of thrashing could shake this stranger lose. Her hands were locked tightly around the wyvern’s neck. She spoke in a voice that was barely more than a whisper, “No… you won’t…”

To Jagger’s utter shock, she jerked her arms, causing the wyvern’s neck to sharply turn to the side. The sound of a loud snap caused the wyvern to go limp.

The skeletal structure and bone mass of even the youngest dragons were considerably thicker than humans. Their muscle tissue was also incredibly strong. No human being should posess that strength. It was a physical impossibility.

Jagger watched in amazement as she let go of the beast, tossed its head to the side, and turned to confront him. He put on a friendly smile and nodded nervously. Careful Jagger, she looks like she’s ready to kill you. “Thanks.”

He couldn’t see most of her face under the hood, but her yellow eyes almost looked like they were glowing. Her voice was deep and very quiet when she spoke. It was almost a whisper and difficult to hear, “It was stupid of you to leave your car. A jeep can outrun those beasts and they always hunt in pairs, at least.”

Yup… definitely a woman. “It didn’t seem that dangerous. Wyverns can’t breathe fire, so its easier to fight on foot, especially if there’s only one. I didn’t see the second, and I’m usually not caught off guard like that.”

“One stupid move… all it takes.”

“Words of Wisdom.”

“Why did you fight?”

“Instinct I guess.”

“I see…”

The figure stared at him for a moment. To Jagger, it felt like he was in the middle of drill inspection back at WesCon command. Her eyes darted up and down for a moment before she abruptly turned and began walking away.

Jagger called after her, “Wait!”

The figure stopped but did not turn and did not respond. Jagger took a few cautious steps towards it, “I owe you one for helping me. Do you need anything?”

“No.”

“Really? Nothing?”

“No… not unless…”

“Yeah?”

The figure paused for a moment. Jagger waited as she slowly turned around. Her hood was down as though she were looking at her stomach, “I haven’t eaten in a few days…  I could use of some supplies. Do you have any?”

Jagger smiled, “No, but my town is nearby. Hop in, I’m heading for New Framingham. There are plenty of shops there.”

“A… town?”

“Yeah, you’ll be able to find anything you want there.”

“I… I’m not sure…” The figure replied in a nervous whisper. “I don’t typically do well around large groups of people.”

Jagger looked at her oddly, “Well… It’s the only major hub in this part of old New England after Boston and Worcester were destroyed. The survivors moved out here and established a fortified city in the only nearby area with buildings left standing.”

“Boston and Worcester… they were both destroyed?”

Really? How could she not know about this? “Yeah, for almost ten years now, where have you been?”

“Away…”

“Away?”

The robed woman climbed into the jeep and rested her hands on her lap. She turned to watch as Jagger grabbed a saw out of the back, “Yes… I’ve been wandering the country since my grandparents were killed by an elder dragon. I don’t have access to a radio so…”

Her eyes narrowed as Jagger walked over to one of the fallen wyverns, “Wait… what are you doing?”

Jagger looked down at the saw, “I’m going to get their teeth.”

“Why?”

“Dragon teeth are flame-resistant. They can be melted down and used to make armor, weapons, walls… all kinds of different things. They’re worth a fortune if you can get them.”

He placed the saw on the nearest wyvern’s mouth and began to run the blade across its gums. Blood stained his hands as he struggled to make conversation, “So… you’re a nomad?”

“There a better way to live beyond city walls?”

“Not really…” Jagger chuckled as he removed the upper jaw. “Okay… well let’s see, ten years huh?”

“Yeah.”

“All right so I can fill you in on the Red War, but what do you know so far?”

The girl shrugged, “Not much… From what my grandparents told me, the dragons first appeared in New York… After decimating Manhattan, they flew east and were seen weeks later heading towards Siberia. The five of them disappeared for about five years. When they reappeared, there were many… many more of them and they continued to multiply.”

She leaned on the roll bar of the old jeep as Jagger threw the teeth into the back. He then quickly wiped his hands and went to work on the second wyvern, “They were immune to conventional weapons and were too fast for nukes to work… not for a lack of trying… obviously.”

Jagger looked around the barren wasteland that used to be Wellesley, Massachusetts and nodded, “Obviously… is that it?”

“No.” The woman replied stoically. “I heard that countries were toppled by the onslaught of the dragons… Even the U.S. Government retreated. I heard the president’s speech, vowing to return and retake the land lost to the dragons… That was three days before he and his chiefs of staff were all killed. The remaining world leaders set aside their differences and formed into two governing bodies; the Eastern and Western Coalitions. They established regional governors, but the cities and settlements themselves are largely self-governed… That’s all I know.”

Jagger nodded as he removed the second wyvern’s jaw, “Sounds like you’ve heard most of it. The problem was that most weapons couldn’t penetrate a dragon’s scales. Missiles didn’t work, bullets didn’t… some armor piercers did, but they’re rare. Eventually we developed electrostatic shock weapons and super-focused lasers that could burn a hole through them, but by then…

Jagger let out a deep sigh as he spoke,”… by then, it was almost too late. Humanity had been reduced to nearly 2 billion people.”

“You’re losing the war…” The woman said in a whisper.

Jagger grabbed a bottle of water from behind his seat and poured some over his hands. The cool water rinsed away the dragon’s blood and soothed his skin, “Don’t you mean we’re losing?”

“Sure…”

Jagger got behind the wheel of the jeep and started it up. The engine came to life and caused the entire car to vibrate. He pulled back on the break and allowed the car to wheel forward.

The stranger eyed the dash, “Your car’s engine sounds different. They’re usually louder.”

Jagger smiled, “They’re usually falling apart. I spent years working on this one.”

“Impressive.”

Jagger kept his eyes on the road, though he occasionally looked up to make sure that the sky was clear, “By the way, I’m Lieutenant Jagger Bishop, WesCon Security.”

No response.

“What, you don’t have a name?”

“…”

“All right then…”

Jagger couldn’t be certain, but he thought he detect and annoyed sigh before she spoke, “… Raiya if you must know.”

“Raiya, that’s an unusual name.”

“I’m an unusual person.”

Jagger nodded, “Yeah I believe that, just from watching you.”

“Whatever you say.” Raiya said in a disinterested tone.

Jagger released a deep breath as he watched the debris pass, “So… those were some nice moves you pulled back there. You must be pretty jacked to snap the neck of a dragon. That was amazing.”

“It’s not that hard if you know where the joint is.”

“Maybe you could show me?”

“Doubtful, you also have to be really fast…”

“Oh… too bad.”

As the jeep picked up speed, Raiya struggled to keep her hood up. It acted like a sail, catching the wind that blew past her face. As it was pushed back, small flashes of her skin appeared. She grabbed the sides and forced them forward, holding the hood down over her face.

Jagger had his eyes on the road and could only see her out of the corner of his right, but what he saw left him with more questions than answers. Her skin was tanned, but her pigment appeared to have an almost greenish hue to it. The strands of hair he saw looked like it was a dark olive color. Maybe she dyed it somehow? Yeah right, where would she get dye out here? You’re probably just seeing things.

It was a reasonable thought. He never really had great lateral vision. However, as the hood flew back a second time, he quickly glanced over to confirm what he initially saw. His eyes caught sight of the odd complexion of her skin. There was no doubt that something was off with her. Who or what was this girl? Dragon’s Bane? There hasn’t been a confirmed case of it in a few years…

“Are you okay?” He asked.

“I’m fine… why?”

“Your skin… it’s… pale.”

“So what…? It’s just how I look.”

“All right.”



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

From My Writing Playlist

 

Here’s another one from Sabaton.

When to listen: Same as before. World building. Sabaton likes to tell stories in their songs that deal in historical events and groups of people. It’s a unique type of metal that is great for brainstorming.



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Beating the Writer’s Block #Writing #Author #Advice

Hi Jim,

I saw your posts inviting people to ask for advice, so I thought I’d ask… How do you deal with writer’s block? Right now, I’m having issues with it. I had a great idea, I’ve gotten about half way into writing my story, but now I’ve just run out of steam. I can’t even get myself behind the keyboard to type because I’m dreading it. I don’t want to type page after page of filler, but I don’t know how else to deal with this. Please help! I have a deadline coming up that I need to reach.

Thanks,
Jeff!


Hi Jeff,

Thanks for the email! Writer’s block is a nuisance that has plagued us all at one point or another, and, like the hiccups, we all have different ways of getting rid of it. Realistically, there is no right or wrong way. It’s all about what works for you. I hate to say this, but writers block in some cases has been known to last people years. It’s an unfortunate fact.

Since you mentioned that you’re on a deadline, I’ll give you a few tips…

  1. Rediscover what gave you your initial inspiration. Go play a game, read a book, see a movie, whatever it was, go back down that original path again.
  2. Star over. No, I’m not kidding. If you’ve hit a roadblock, start over and try taking it from a different direction. Keep the original in case you want to go back to it, but start over and try taking your characters down another path. It’s better than sitting there staring blankly at the screen.
  3. Take a break… Don’t think about writing, put it out of your head for a few days and give yourself time to reflect.

If all else fails, I’d say that your best bet is to talk to your publisher/agent and see if the due date can be renegotiated. I’ve found there to be some wiggle room in the past.

Hope this helps,

I’ll open it up to my readers as well, maybe they’ll have some insight here. What does everyone think? Do you have any tips for Jeff to break his writers block?



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have multiple published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Drakin, where to buy, and what’s next? #Writing #Fantasy #SciFi

Hello all!

I hope everyone has enjoyed The Drakin Series!! Please don’t forget to leave me a review on Amazon once you’re done. That really helps me out a lot.

Copies of these books, as well as my others, can be purchased on Amazon by following this link:

James Harrington’s Author Page

They’re also available at Barnes and Noble, as well as many other places where books are sold!

Please feel free to like and reblog this post. Word of mouth helps us writers out a lot!


Drakin: The Story of Raiya


Book Synopsis:
‘ “Abomination, freak, monster…”  You get used to names like these when you have yellow eyes, horns, and scales, but Raiya could have really cared less.

After being forced into exile because of her appearance, Raiya’s mind has been focused on one goal; hunting down the dragon lord that killed her parents. For over thirty years, humanity has been locked in a struggle for survival against a race of dragons that had fallen from the heavens. They took everything from her and consumed the planet in a fierce war. Humanity’s numbers are quickly dwindling, leaving her few options in the way of allies.

What she doesn’t know is that her journey will strike at the very heart of the Red War and uncover truths about her past that she may not want to know. Can she finish what she started while coming to terms with the truths of her origin? ‘


Drakin: The Orphans of Haven


Book Synopsis:

The Red War may be over, but not all wounds have healed. For Sergeant Radley Zall, the nightmares never end. After years of struggling for survival, he finds himself in a dead end job, deporting wayward dragons to the Exclusion Zone. The horrors of his past have left him a broken man, slowing killing himself in a bottle of whiskey. It’s a wearying existence that many former soldiers have been subject to since the war ended, but for Radley, that is all about to change. Throughout his life, Radley’s hatred of dragons has been unmatched until one evening when a small one shows up on his doorstep. The pathetic creature is emaciated and begging for shelter. Her appearance reminds him of his younger self, compelling him to help her. That uncharacteristic decision forces him to confront his past actions— some of which may have contributed to a sinister plot to reignite the Red War and wipe out the few remaining dragons on Earth.


DRAKIN: An Empire of Ashes


 

Synopsis:

Two hundred years have passed, and the Red War has become a distant memory for most. Dragons and humans now live together in peace… but one powerful woman who has been deranged by her own history unleashes her vengeance on a helpless population.

Now, the world’s only hope for survival rests with Kaori, a naïve and wayward princess of the Eastern Empire. Having been disillusioned with her mother’s rule, she discovers a dark secret about her family that will change the course of history forever. She soon crosses paths with Nayeli and Joaquim, a pair of rogues living within her borders.

Their fight for survival takes an unexpected turn as a shadow of from the past reveals that the situation is more dangerous than they know. The fate of billions of lives rests on these three unlikely companions putting aside their differences to stand against the world.



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

From My Writing Playlist

Found this one online not too long ago. It’s soft, relaxing, and is pretty well done.

When to listen: Simply put, this is something to listen to when you need to unwind. I wouldn’t necessarily use it while writing, but perhaps just as a way to detox after.

 



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Bad Reviews… #Writing #Author #Advice

Hi James,
We connected on Twitter and I got your email address from your website. You had made a comment on Twitter to feel free to email for advice.
I’m new to self-publishing and released my first book in January.  I had worked on the manuscript off and on for a couple of years before getting serious about publishing.  I did the best I could on proofing, but couldn’t afford to hire a professional proofreader.  I did, however, hire a professional to convert the file for Amazon ebook & Create Space print version.  Before I read some information from some other successful writers, I had solicited a couple of reviews from a company that does reviews.  My book has 3 prior positive reviews with a 3 1/2 star rating on Amazon.
This company I went with has review agents working for them and the one who did my book review was from Canada and it didn’t show up on Amazon U.S.   The only way I knew it had even been done was purely by accident. I happened to sign in to Goodreads where I had my book listed and saw I had a review with a score of 1, but there were no comments.  Because I was wondering why I had received the low score, I emailed her and she replied with the link to the review on Amazon. ca.
How does an author come to grips with a bad review?  I know I need to put this behind me and move on, but the reviewer is also supposed to be an editor and I was told by the person who runs the company that I should hire her to fix what is wrong instead of complaining about the low review.  Was I out of line by requesting that she remove her review? I based the request according to what the reviewer told me, “I usually don’t even post a review if I can’t give it at least 3 stars.”  I was accused in an email from the person who runs the company as “you’ve been somewhat harassing one of our readers.”
I was devastated.   I know I need to get more thick skinned, but is this normal conduct for a company or reviewer?   I just need another professional authors opinion.   Thanks for letting me vent and I’m looking forward to your reply.

bizwings


Hi J.E.
Hope all is well with you. Thank you for the email! So… honestly I had a similar experience on my first published work. It was given a 1 star review on Goodreads with no reason or comments. I had to go digging a little further for why they gave it 1 star. I don’t know why goodreads pulls in the stars without the review like that, it’s not really fair, but it happens. Truth be told, I avoid that site, I’ve never really been a huge fan.
Personally, I don’t like the idea of hiring someone to write reviews for you. I tend to ask people who read the book to leave reviews and they tend to be pretty good about it. Anyway, were you out of line? Pardon my bluntness… but yes. Hiring reviewers, you always run the risk of getting reviews that you’re not going to like… and paying for them. You’re not paying them to be ‘yessirs’ you’re paying them for their opinions. Plain and simple.
Nothing bites worse than having something you worked hard on, and dedicated a lot of time and money to, getting a bad review. However, you can’t take it personally, because the more you write, the more it’s going to happen. In a world where literally everyone has an opinion and no two of them are ever exactly alike, bad reviews are par for the course. Look at Rotten Tomatoes when it comes to movies. How many movies have a 100% fresh review? How many? Heck even timeless classics like the Wizard of Oz have bad reviews on them (Well… 1% for the Wizard of Oz and I would love to meet the critic with the cast-iron balls who gave that bad review.)
The best way to look at these reviews is to figure out what people didn’t like about your book. If they leave reviews like ‘I don’t like this character, they just didn’t strike me as someone I can relate to.’ Well that’s fine. Someone else will relate to that character. Again, it’s opinion. However then you’re going to get reviews like ‘I found the plot to be a little stale or unbelievable because (insert reason).’
To me, this is constructive criticism. This is something I can take and build off of for my next book. This is the kind of thing you’ll need to get used to, especially if you’re ever going to get people to edit and critique your book. I tell the people who edit mine to hold nothing back. I WANT them to be as brutal as possible and they… hesitantly give me exactly what I want. Why do I want such abuse? Because the more blunt they are, the more I can fix before I publish. The same can be said for people leaving reviews after that fact.
Are their going to be mean reviewers out there? Absolutely, but they are usually in the minority. Most people aren’t being mean, they’re simply sharing their opinion of something they either like or didn’t like so others, including the author know what to look out for. As long as you look at the criticism as constructive, you’ll be a lot happier.
Anyway, I hope this helps! Please feel free to email me if you need further help!
Thanks,
Jim

Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have multiple published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

From My Writing Playlist

Not metal, but given where most of our music comes from, metalheads should appreciate this. This song is extremely old and has a lot of history to it. It is hauntingly beautiful and relaxing. Everything sounds better in Swiss.

When to listen: Honestly, I use it when brainstorming or when relaxing between writing sessions. It really is a song that can be used in multiple places. It’s a very mellow tune.

 



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Character Descriptions #Writing #Author #Advice

Hey Jim,

I was just wondering how you come up with your character descriptions? I’m trying to accurately describe my character, but sometimes it can be hard to figure out exactly how I want them to look, you know?

Thanks,
Gerraid



 

Hi Gerraid,

All too well, I’m afraid. It can be tough figuring out what your character looks like. If you create the character from scratch in your mind, it can be tough to write that person down on paper, especially if it’s a main character description where you want to go into vivid detail. So I’ll give two pieces of advice here:

Minor Characters: Give Hair and Eye color, gender, tall/short, and maybe one or two identifying marks (Scars, facial hair etc.) This is a character that you probably aren’t going to see much, so going into great detail to describe them really isn’t necessary, or even wanted in most cases.

Major/Lead Characters: Okay, here’s where you really want to go into detail, especially if you have a specific idea about what this character looks like.  So what I try to do is take the Minor Character description (see above) and find someone who resembles your description. Study them carefully and describe that person in your text. Be careful to leave out any identifying details such as specific birthmarks, tattoos, or such… unless  the person knows your using them as a template.

Let me give you an example…

In my most recent book, one of my characters is a historical person… however there are no real pictures of her that can identify her. We don’t even know her real hair color other than the fact that people nicknamed her ‘ginger.’

Well I took that nickname and the fact that she’s from Ireland and made the assumption that she had red hair. So I’ve got a redhead, presumably a ginger, which means freckles and fairly pale skin, and from both my story and her historical description, a bit of a violent side.

So I searched for a while, but couldn’t find the right person who matched this character… until I went back and re-watched a few episodes of one of my favorite shows. That’s when I saw her… a red haired bad ass who seemed to have a perpetual scowl on her face. PERFECT!
I looked up a picture of her and then described the shape of her lips, how her hair parted, the way her eyes looked, the shape of her nose, etc. I made a few edits and a few embellishments on the way, but at the end, I had my character.

Everyone has their own way and their own style and my hat goes off to those people who can just pull full character descriptions out of the air.

Anyway, I hope this helps!


 

Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have multiple published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim