Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Writer's block a luxury Devon can't afford

Hi Devon, thank you for joining us today. So sorry about the Blogger problems. Please get comfortable and tell us a little about your adventure

Do you see writing as a career?

Absolutely.  It's how I pay the bills.  Writer's block is a luxury for the unpublished or under-published.  I don't show up at the desk every day and do the work, I can't pay the bills, eat, or keep a roof over my head.  It's insulting to go to a conference or a dinner with people who call themselves writers who moan about "not having time" to write, or "I don't expect to make money from my books, I just want to see them out here."  Yes, writing is a passion, a vocation, a calling, but it's also a highly-skilled JOB.  It's the fusion of skill and imagination and talent.  It's a career, and I look to the long term as well as the short term.  Besides, there's no such thing as "no time to write."  Writing is ALWAYS a choice.  Not writing is ALWAYS  a choice.

What book are you reading now?

More like "books"!  ;)  I'm taking an online archaeology class from Sue Alcock at Brown University, and our text book is by Colin Renfrew, so I've got that.  I like his writing, so I also have another book, and a stack of archaeology and geology books that are fed into the book that's currently on submission, and to an adaptation I'm finishing up this summer.  I just finished reading the Gaslamp Anthology, QUEEN VICTORIA'S BOOK OF SPELLS, which was fantastic, and I'm reading Erin Hart's THE BOOK OF KILLOWEN, and I just started T.J. Brown's SUMMERSET ABBEY, which I'm enjoying enormously.  I also have a stack of other books that feed into various projects on my plate.

Can you give us some details about your recent release?

OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK, the second Jain Lazarus Adventure, recently released from Solstice Publishing, with the first book in the series, HEX BREAKER, now available in print as well as digital.  The first book in the series was from Jain's POV.  This one is from Wyatt's -- Jain disappears after a romantic weekend in Vermont, and he's the main suspect, yet her boss hires him to find her.  Wyatt, who's far too practical to go for paranormal what-not, uses old-school detective work to find her, although he's surrounded by mermaids and shapeshifters and paranormally-gifted teens.  The bulk of the book takes place off the shores of Cape Cod, which is great, now that I live on the Cape!  The third book in the series, CRAVE THE HUNT, is told from Jain and Billy Root's points of view.  Billy was a supporting character in HEX BREAKER and became a fan favorite.  CRAVE THE HUNT is Billy's coming of age -- even though he's thirty!  Late bloomer.

I also have some non-fiction in release, a series of Topic Workbooks out on Smashwords, developed from some of the most popular writing courses I teach.  They include SETTING UP YOUR SUBMISSION SYSTEM, THE SERIES BIBLE, CREATIVE STIMULUS, and THE COMPLEX ANTAGONIST.  I'll have some more of those workbooks coming out over the next few months. I also have two short mysteries featuring Nina Bell out on Smashwords, "Too Much Mistletoe" and "Tumble" and a comic/fantasy/romance as Ava Dunne called "Just Jump in and Fly."  I'll have a steampunk story called "The Ramsey Chase" going up soon.

My paranormal romantic suspense, set backstage at a Broadway show, ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT (as Annabel Aidan) is still available in print and digitally from Champagne Books.

My agent is shopping a few projects, and I've got a few things out on submission, so hopefully I'll have even more good news soon!

In what genre do you prefer to write and why?

I write across genres.  I do a lot of paranormal, because I find the world a magical place, and I like to explore possibilities.  I'm writing more mystery again, because I love it, as a reader and writer.  I like to see smart characters figure things out and have to struggle with their notions of "right".  I'm doing more steampunk and gaslamp fantasy lately, because I love the possibilities in there.  I think you can explore a lot of emotional truth in fiction in a way that connects more with readers than you can in non-fiction, if you get up on a soap box.

What place inspires you the most?

Many places inspire me.  I'm a big believer in setting as character (I teach a class on that topic), and in emotional geography along with physical geography.  I use New York City in a lot of my work -- I lived and worked there for many years, on Broadway, and I know it very well.  Cape Cod has always inspired me, and that's one of the reasons I live there now.  Other inspirations:  Scotland, New Orleans, Iceland, Prague.  Those are the places that I feel most deeply connected to.

Have you ever travelled  to a place and come away with a story unexpectedly?

Everywhere I go inspires stories.  A trip to New Bedford planted the seed for a series of books set around whaling -- which will take me years to develop, but will be worth it.  Last weekend's trip to a gallery opening, also in New Bedford, spurred the idea of a short story (or maybe novella) set during an art gallery walk.  When I was in NY a few weeks ago, visiting the Hatshepsut Sphinx at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, I came away with the idea for a ghost story.  A walk through the gardens of Yaddo in Saratoga inspired another piece.

EVERYTHING is inspiration, if you look and listen.  We're so lucky, as writers.  Nothing we experience is ever wasted.

Do you have any advice for new writers at the beginning of their adventure?

Write every day, at least five-six days per week.  There's no substitute for showing up and doing the work.  Deadlines are sacred.  Once you are on a publishing contract, you don't have three weeks to write a chapter.  You have two weeks to turn around the revision on your book.  Get into the habit now: 1000 words a day, five days a week, for the rest of your life, as Carolyn See says in MAKING A LITERARY LIFE.  Hold your boundaries.  If someone in your life sabotages your writing, it's not a sign of love.  It's a sign of disrespect that goes far beyond writing.  And remember -- there's no such thing as "no time to write."  If you constantly "don't have time" to write, it means you don't really want to. Which is fine, but own it.  No excuses. 


     Detective Wyatt East finds himself the primary suspect when hex breaker Jain Lazarus disappears after their romantic weekend in Vermont.  In spite of the suspicions, Jain's boss, Maitland Stiles, hires Wyatt to track her down, forcing him to face aspects of his own painful past and revealing more about hers.
     Saddled with two rebellious runaway paranormal teens, he's embroiled in a shapeshifter pack disagreement, and must learn to work with both a caustic dragon and a cantankerous mermaid to not only find Jain, but help her help an old friend who's in over his head.   Wyatt learns he is not without psychic abilities of his own, although he prefers old-fashioned detective work.

         “Again, Mr. Collins,” said Wyatt.  “What can I do for you?”
         “When did you last see Jain Lazarus?”
         “We spent a four day weekend together about six weeks ago in Vermont.”
         “Have you spoken to her since?”
         “I left a few messages on her voice mail, but I haven’t heard back.”
         “Yes, we know that.  We have her phone.”
         Wyatt felt a chill run down his spine.  “Why would you have her phone?”
         “Was she in good health when you parted?”
         “We went skiing in the morning.  We went back to change.  She got a phone call – on the landline, not her cell, and said she had to go.  She left before I did.”
         “No one’s seen or heard from her since that weekend in Vermont.”
         “Are you looking for her?”
         “Yes.  She was due in our office the very next morning to get briefed on a new assignment.  The proprietor of the inn tells a different story.”
         “What do you mean?”
“He says the two of you left in the morning, but you came back alone.”
         “That’s not true.”
         “And there’s no record of a call going through to your room.”
“That doesn’t make sense.”
         “Did you argue with Jain that weekend?’
         No.  We had a great time.”
         “Don’t lie to me, Detective.  I’m every bit as capable of discerning a liar as you are.”
         “Then you know I’m telling the truth.”
         “Either that or you’re even more talented than Jain believed.  You are the last person we know who saw Jain before her disappearance.”

Devon Ellington is a full-time writer, publishing under a half a dozen names in fiction and non-fiction, and providing business writing and editing services to an international client base.  An internationally produced playwright, she also creates mission-specific entertainment for non-profits such as the National Marine Life Center.  She teaches online and in-person all over the world, and her work appears in a wide range of anthologies.  Her blog, Ink in My Coffee, deals with the daily ups and downs of a writer's life:  http://devonellington.wordpress.com.

Amazon Kindle Link:
Visit the Jain Lazarus site:  http://hexbreaker.devonellingtonwork.com

Visit Billy Root’s blog:  http://billyrootblogs.wordpress.com

Jain Lazarus Adventures on Facebook:

Topic Workbooks on Smashwords:


Devon Ellington website:  www.devonellingtonwork.com

Fearless Ink Author Services:  http://www.fearlessink.com/authors.html

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for having me as a guest!