The day is finally here! My newest novel, What If There’s Nothing? is now available on Amazon Kindle and paperback! Check it out here!
New Book Coming May 3rd!
How fitting that my last post here was about trying to write through depression, and months later I’m back with my first book in six years! I’m so happy to announce that my new book – What If There’s Nothing? will be coming out on Kindle and paperback on May 3rd!
What If There’s Nothing? is a 230 page story about overcoming trauma, finding forgiveness & love.
Sam’s life is stunted. He’s never been able to move passed a tragedy from his teenager years. He holds blame heavily on himself and his family.
Reilly is taking a few days away from her life as it grows in discourse and complications. She decides to spend a few days with her parents, hoping to escape and have fun with her friends. However, chaos finds her shortly after running into her old friend, Sam.
The Belittling Of Writers
If you’re a writer you have heard the following statements:
“I always wanted to write a book, except…”
“You have so many good ideas – you should write a book!”
“You always have such great stories – you should write a book!”
“Can I be a character in one of your books?”
If you’re a writer you have seen the following phrases somewhere:
“Careful not to make me angry, I’ll put you in my next book! (Or some variation)
Okay, I can only think of one phrase…
All of these insult my passion and profession as a writer to the core of my being. Allow me to explain myself…
I’m all for having fun, making jokes about pretty much everything because who doesn’t want life to be fun? And maybe if these phrases and pieces of conversation were done so in moderation, it wouldn’t be bad because hearing one of these once in a while isn’t a big deal; hell, I wouldn’t even mind it at all. However, the volume of these phrases is out of control. Here’s why these statements are at heart – insulting the profession of writing and making a mockery of what we do.
- “I’ve always wanted to write a book, except I never had the time.” Let’s dissect this. This statement is fine if someone is actually interested and has a desire to write. However, that is never the case. It’s because they see your book and think how cool it would be to have a book of their own. So they put themselves on the same level as you by saying, “Yeah well, I always wanted to write a book, my friends tell me I should.”
- Be careful or you’ll end up in my novel. However innocent and joking as this statement is, a writer isn’t going to compromise his or her own’s book just to put someone they know in the story. It just belittles the act of writing a book. It’s difficult.
I need only ask one question: Do you write? The answer of that question will determine if you’re a writer or not.
Okay, so I’m not going to dissect each one, it would be redundant and boring. But the core belief of all these statements is consistently the belittling of writing. Just because someone thinks it would be cool to be a writer, doesn’t mean they have the stones to do it. And please hear me out, I don’t mean to put myself or fellow writers on some stage and say “YOU CAN’T BE US. WE’RE AWESOME.” That’s not at all what I mean.
For me, writing isn’t a fun, carefree thing I do because it’s my hobby. I already have an post on my site titled “Writing Is Not My Hobby.” It’s not my hobby. It’s my dream, my profession, my passion. It is literally the most important thing to me beyond family and friends. It’s everything to me. So when someone acts like my small and seldom accomplishments could be achieved by anyone who THINKS they could just pick up a pen and write an eighty thousand word book, it backhandedly slaps any writer in the face.
Being a writer is a hard life, and it only gets harder with the evolving…or devolving industry – depending on how you look at it.
Do you have an interest in writing? That’s great! Truly. Talk to a writer about it, they’d love to talk your ear off about everything and I mean everything. The majority of writers and authors are like most musicians – the nicest and most sincere people you will meet. They love talking about their passion. I would love to talk to anyone who wants to get into writing. But these nonchalant statements of how easy it would be to write a book are lazy and angering.
Maybe I’m being too sensitive, if so, just tell me. Zac, stop being a whiny (insert expletive). Either way – I don’t have many things that bother me. But this one takes the cake.
Thanks for reading my tirade.
Writing Is An Extension Of A Soul
Local Book Signing Dates
This post is for the locals in York, PA unless you want to make the journey across a few state lines…haha.
I have 2 dates coming up for INFERNOUS.
The first one is with my good friend Andy Craven, a crazy guy with an insane book called MOSHIAH. If you like sci-fi, this is what you need to get.
This signing is at TG Books at 2107 Industrial Highway, York PA from 1-3.
Check out Andy’s site here
The second signing is just yours truly at the York Emporium at First Friday in York! I’ll be doing a reading as well as selling copies of INFERNOUS. More details to come for this signing…
Demonic Possession Inside The Mind
INFERNOUS HAS ARRIVED
My new horror book is now available to buy on Kindle for only $2.99.
Have you ever wondered what happens inside the mind of a person who’s possessed?
It’s a dark and twisted story – try a free sample and see if you like it.
Thank you for reading
A Song For Swans is FREE!
A Swan Song is something to behold. The silent swan is quiet for its entire life before unveiling a beautiful and revelatory song just before it dies.
Landon is a teenager who’s just gotten cancer a 2nd time and he’s about to go down a dark road. But his story is not without his own Swan Song.
This is A Song For Swans – and for this week it is free on Kindle.
Free Editing Services For Your Writing!
I know, it’s hard to believe right? A free and EFFECTIVE editing service! Fret no longer over looking at the fees for professional editors. Thousands of dollars to edit your novel? Trust me, I know.
If you’ve written the next great novel, epic, poem, short story, it doesn’t matter, this place will have you covered. However, there is a give and take.
The website is http://www.critiquecircle.com and let me break down how the site works.
You critique other people’s stories, usually no more than 1500 word submissions at a time. The site runs off of a point program.
You critique a submission and you’re critique is over 300 words (not a hard feat to accomplish) and you get 1 point. It costs 3 points to submit a piece. It’s not the easiest work but it IS effective.
I’ve submitted 2 different pieces, one was a section in the middle of a novel I was working on and another was the first two chapters of the same novel. I’ve gotten a total of 7 or so critiques and found 1 to be relatively irrelevant and poorly written. The rest of the critiques were very well thought out and helpful points that began to polish my writing to what it needs to be. The community on this site is very helpful and as for me – are better writers than I haha.
It does take up time, but in the meantime, the point system keeps people critiquing so that no work goes untouched. So check out the site and get in on the action.
For a little more info, here is an excerpt taken out of their FAQ page –
|How does it all work…give me the basics|
|Members submit their stories to the story queue, and pay credits to do so. Only a certain number of stories will be displayed each week (more information on this can be found here), so you may have to wait a week or two for yours to come up, depending on how much queue activity there is. When a story comes up for critique, other members can read it and submit their critiques to the author, thus earning credits.
Stories stay in the queue for a week, which runs Wednesday to Wednesday.
To help with queue wait times, we created a custom Newbie Queue. Your first story must be submitted here and, if you wish, you can submit up to three in total before moving to the other queues. When you join the site, you get two free credits, and you can use these towards the cost of posting your first story. While your membership is still new you are also allowed the opportunity to upgrade to a Premium membership (details in the FAQ entry linked here) for an additional credit, which will allow you to submit your first chapter to the queues immediately.
Stories in the Newbie Queue can receive up to six full critiques, while stories in the other queues can receive an unlimited number of critiques.
Once your story in the newbie queue has received 6 crits of more than 150 words each it will be put into older submissions.
When posting a story, authors have some choice in who can view their story. For example, some authors will specify that only people who have been members of this site for a month can read their story. That’s why you may not be able to view all the stories in the queue.
So, those are the basics on how the system works…for more details, please continue reading the FAQs about Story Queue, Giving Critiques, Receiving Critiques, and Submitting a Story.
Read When We Write
Do you find that your writing is at its best when you’re reading a book at the same time? Do you read in the same genre as you’re writing? I find that my writing is at its prime when I’m reading as well. This would make sense because I went through a long dry spell and now that I think about it, I wasn’t reading anything.
So before I go and dive into this, if you’re reading something as you write, be sure of 3 things.
- DO NOT rip off the writer. Being inspired by writing is one of the best tools we as writers can use. Even if you don’t downright plagiarize, it’s not right to rip off from writers.
- Make sure what you’re reading specializes in what you think your weakness is. Dialogue. Read a story that has rich characters and each one has a clear personality that shows in their dialogue. Too many stories die and wither from bad and unbelievable dialogue.
- Lastly is narrative. If you’re writing is weak on narrative, just like dialogue, read books that have long and meaty narratives. I always struggled with detail and narrative while my dialogue thrived. So I started reading books with long paragraphs of details and narratives. As soon as I began, I saw my writing improve before my eyes in just the first writing session.
Are you writing a love story that includes heartache and raw feelings? I’d recommend reading any one of the following: (Most of these are available on Amazon for absurdly cheap prices)
(No spoilers I swear)
I’ll Be There by Holly Goldberg Sloan
This fantastic story is unknown by way too many. It’s a tender story of two brothers (Sam and Riddle) from a broken and dangerous home. They find comforting arms and a warm home in teenager Emily Bell’s household. The story thrives on hard situations with a violent father, and the love Sam has for his brother and the life his new interest – Emily has. The story sucks you in and carries you on each page.
The Promise of Stardust by Priscille Sibley
Tears have never been so close to my eyes because of a book. Matt Beaulieu’s wife Elle suffers a terrible injury and is left brain dead. The catch here is that he finds out she’s pregnant. Through this struggle to keep her body alive there are unexpected challenges that appear that will test both Matt and your heart. Flashbacks in this novel are key as they show the couple younger and allow you time and pages to grow close to both Matt and Elle. This story remains in my top 10 – maybe I’ll make a list sometime.
Are you writing fantasy?
I’m not too versed in this field of writing but I do have two recommendations.
The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
There’s a reason critics tell readers to shelve this next LOTR and The Hobbit. Kvothe (pronounced Kwothe) is a simple boy traveling with his family as a traveling circus. One day he finds his parents and his entire troupe slain. The culprit? A group of people that are thought of as fictional fairytales. His only answers are at a place called The University where they teach magic, but not the cheap “abracadabra” magic. It’s well thought out magic that happens in the mind. This book which is book 1 of a trilogy is good for everything. Narratives and description that rivals any book I’ve ever read and dialogue of equal value.
Need a short story for narrative value?
The Slow Regard of Silent Things – By Patrick Rothfuss
Yes same writer. However this small novelette ranging just over a hundred pages takes a side character from his trilogy and spends a few days with her. Auri is a cute, innocent girl who cracked. She isn’t mentally sane and sees the world in a different light. You don’t need to read his others to understand this. All you need to know is that she lives underground beneath a school and is gathering different items to make a gift for her friend. The entire thing is ALL NARRATIVE. Pages of description of rooms, chambers, pits, wells and everything in between. If you’re not a fan of fantasy, don’t be afraid to give this a chance because it isn’t fantasy at heart. It’s a story of a girl who sees regular items commonly discarded as something special. It’s truly an interesting read.
Are you writing horror?
Horns – Joe Hill
You may not recognize Joe Hill by his penname, but you may recognize Stephen King’s name. Joe Hill is Stephen King’s son and let me tell you, he made his way into horror writing not by being King’s son, but by writing damn good stories.
Ig Parrish’s love of his life, beautiful Merrin Williams is dead; brutally attacked, violated and killed. The town believes he did it no matter what he says. After some drunken night to which he remembers almost nothing, Ig wakes up and has horns on his head. With these horns come influential power over others. He sees into their lives like a peeking through a window and can tell them to do things. This novels covers dark comedy, murder mystery, supernatural, romance, let’s just say it covers everything and covers it well. This is one to read a few times, and then maybe watch the movie (which was actually pretty good).
Let’s go to the King.
The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon by Stephen King
Have you heard of this one? Because it’s not like other King novels. Trisha McFarland is a young girl who is forced to go hiking with her dysfunctional family. After taking a few steps away from the path, she is lost with no idea how to get back. She’s not in a small wooded area either. She’s lost in the Appalachian Trail. In addition to being a survival story, King weaves a sinister plot line with something watching little Trisha from afar. She can hear it growl, she can hear it move around her but she can’t see it. This shorter novel (speaking in terms of King’s usual length) is a smooth and creepy read.
Other very honorable mentions
This Is Where I Leave You – Jonathon Tropper
Do me a favor and read anything by this great writer. Every story he puts out, he creates a new story that mixes heartbreak, nostalgia, humor and some of the richest characters you’ll find in writing. Just do me a favor and read the story before you watch the movie…or don’t watch the movie at all.
This Bright River – Patrick Somerville
This lovely story is also in my top 10. Being my only exposure to Mr. Somerville, I’m not sure why I haven’t picked anything else by him. This book is about a tortured protagonist who has a dark history. He runs into a woman from his past with a terrible life as well and the two clash and mix. It’s a dark love story that travels through family secrets, possible murders and worse things still.
That should about do it. Thanks for reading, and feel free to comment what you like to read when you write, or what you’re reading right now.