Tag Archives: YA

Conversation(s) with Death (aka Delirious Musings about the Writer’s Block)

Great way to start a Friday! Look at me firing the engines like it’s the Fourth of July! Four posts in three days, something good must be brewing.

I want to talk about the writer’s block. Inspirational drought. Loss of prose, reading appetite and everything in between, the death of a writer. I blogged about having the block, capital B-asshole-block, years ago when I was but a young pup and really thought I knew what I was talking about.

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Can you hear them laugh? Because I certainly can!

Gosh, my block was like premature ejaculating for a teenage boy, annoying but never really impacted my work to the point where I really considered myself retired from the writing world. In other words, I hit dry spells but could still half decently screw the shit out of a manuscript and feel pretty good about it. Graphic enough for you? Because I just got started.

Anyway… fast forward to the past four years. What forced this terrible drought upon me (and you because you are fully part of my creative process)?

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Well… like I said before here life was shitty and then got considerably better. I did not have pain as fuel to guide my process anymore, so I dried out like a sad sad dying flower.

It was an adjustment, no doubt. Life is just completely different for me. I still have bad times but they are nothing in comparison to the hell I went through. Writing happy is not the same as writing depressed. But something else interfered with my musings too. I think I was in it for something else than writing. I wanted validation, acceptance, instant success and a large following that would provide me with the love I couldn’t find within myself. Once I discovered that love, I said fuck this shit, I don’t need y’all! I basically went from one extreme to another.

The writer’s block is a personal struggle. I did not understand that. There’s no magic pill or potion you can take to beat it every time. While my life did a one-eighty, my writing halted. My ideas simmered quietly in the background. I watched more than I read and I learned to live outside of the realm of words. I discovered unspoken emotions and feelings that did not have a place on my page years ago because I did not know about them. Now I get it when people say writing is all about experience. You can be a young pup and write about fantastical worlds all day, but you need to have lived to sprinkle a dose of reality and credibility to your stories, so that the reader can fully immerse themselves in your universe (and hopefully never want to come out).

I attended a writers’ conference years ago (my only one) and everything that was talked about there was just a big old sales pitch. How to write your next best-selling novel? How to see it on the big screen (and have a hot and promising heartthrob portray your main character, preferably shirtless because we all love a nice pair of male nipples, am I right)? How to craft a catchy opening chapter? What makes people buy your book like it’s crack?

Granted, it was a romance writer conference, and I don’t do romance. But I’m pretty sure other genre conferences follow the same format mostly to attract the ones who want to hit that best seller list, and tell all their friends “I made it!”

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Just like about anything there are clinics you can take to learn all the tricks, you can search Google all day or you can pay experts aka best-selling authors to rob you of your creative spirit. Yes, they are really good at convincing you you need to change your voice to fit in to the likes of a specific audience (usually females age 18-49).

So you end up talking with people about YOUR project, and they manage to drive you as far away as possible from it to sell you THEIR project. Some agent talked to me about writing stories that take place in the 1920s, because why not? Meanwhile I’m trying to sell a paranormal story that plays very much in 2014. Granted, it was not romance but still, there were agents out there who looked for other genres.

It’s like pitching a new TV show. You try to be original, but they steer you to recycle ideas. Give them a spin in a new costume and maybe a horse carriage. Like how many versions of Glee do we need? It’s sickening, you start vomiting on your own prose and you constantly doubt yourself because you don’t know anymore if what you like to write is what people like to read.

Mark my words. After being brainwashed by many many many people, and my slogan is To Thine Own Art Be True, I strayed so far away from my art, I barely recognized myself.

Because I listened (I’m a good listener) I had retained everything that was said about trends and styles, and openings, and catchy words and all this shit in my brain, I ended up changing a story, which was not good to begin with because of xyz reasons that would be too long to explain here, but I changed it, and my character, originally an adult in her late twenties, became a seventeen year old brat.

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I wrote YA. I have nothing against YA authors or readers, good for you if you love teenagers. I personally fucking hate YA. Yes, the cursing is necessary. Because I’m at a point where this gives me a physical reaction of absolute and undivided rejection when I think of YA. Like even if it sells, I can’t fucking stand teenage angst. Give me a seventeen year old who knows nothing about life but her struggles are oh so compelling. You know what she needs? A job. Once you start trekking to work you start to appreciate free time. The process of digging into a genre I freaking despise felt like breaking a leg over and over again. It was just a painful and horrible process. I should have stopped it in the starting blocks. I should have trashed it, and went the route of my usual stuff. But I wrote YA because good people (friends) told me it was trendy and I’d get a bigger shot at attracting readers. I sold my soul and I didn’t stick to my guns. I listened to the advice, refused to listen to my own gut, and went down the YA path which was unappealing, full of stuff I did not care to discover and I really committed to the process too, which made the experience even worse.

Writing should not be painful. Not like this at least. Editing is. Fine, but writing should be free, and fun, and even if the stuff you write about is dark, and challenging, you should still enjoy it, otherwise why do it? After countless full rewrites, I managed to write a YA book about drug addiction, which isn’t so glamorous so no, my stuff ended up being not so relatable to the general public. Sorry, no Prince Charming here. The biggest blow though was when I was finally done, and I sent a copy of the book to a good friend, they did not read it (although they love YA), they critiqued the cover as not being YA enough, and then proceeded to comment that they love to read books that have a message, and talk about real life experiences (which I thought my book was about because drug addiction, you guys).

I should have let this one go. I should have not expected instant gratification or any kind of support although I thought I deserved at least a little bit of support, especially after reading YA books just to be a good pal. I learned people are people and they are not as perfect as I think they are, and they will fail my expectations. There’s no bad blood between this friend and myself, I never really told her how I felt anyway, and I don’t think it’d change anything if I did, so I’m letting this one go.

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Calm and serenity. 

My YA story was really about me though. I had a lot of anger that had to get out. I was a thirty year old female living in New York City and fighting her demons one bottle of scotch at a time. Some people said my drinking was not so much a problem as it was a crutch. Nope folks, my drinking was a problem, a problem that could have cost me my life. It took me a lot of introspection to realize that, and to move away from that.

Oh this got real serious all of a sudden. Here let’s lift the mood up. I’m fine. I got through it. But walking away from my true original goals and writing YA was simply not a good idea. In the end I managed to write a novel, which is still profound, and good, and will teach you something, but please don’t fit into a box. This is art people, we are not supposed to have boundaries. You create the rules. You define which ones you want to break. There is a voice for everyone. Fitting into a category just because people say so is just the stupidest way to ruin mojo.

You gotta find your own muse. You can’t use someone else’s. I’m not a YA author. I write horror, I write paranormal, I write sci-fi, but deep under the layers, I write about me. My characters get shit faced, they fuck strangers and they regret it the next day. My characters are dark and funny, and they all live in New York City even when I send them in outer space. I think my biggest mistake is that I tried to pasteurize a product that wasn’t meant to be clean and pretty. It was meant to hit you in the ribs and make you choke on your own blood. I could not do that with YA. Right, you’re going to tell me The Hunger Games or Divergent are pretty gory, so it could have worked. Yeah, it could have, except I don’t want my main character to be a virgin, and teenager. I want my characters to have lived, and sinned, so they can find salvation. I want them to have experienced life just the same I am experiencing it. With the good and the bad, everything that makes us human is what I like to write about, even in a fantasy world.

I get it. I’m not mainstream. Although multifaceted dark characters and noir backdrops are pretty trendy on Netflix. I don’t care about mainstream.

So there you have it. My block was all my doing. I didn’t stay true to myself. I signed some imaginary contract with some imaginary publisher targeting an imaginary audience and putting all the elements in my book I thought you’d like. Don’t get me wrong, the book is good stuff. But it’s not true to me.

Therefore I’m starting fresh. I’m dusting off the works in progress and we’re going to get real and dirty. You’re going to feel my dread. You’re going to feel my anguish. You’re going to ride the roller coaster and you will ask for more on the way down. There is pain in my story but this pain gave birth to a beautiful muse. She’s much more beautiful and kind than my old bottle of scotch, that’s for sure.

I’m not dead yet. I never died. I just got turned off, and stuck to a mold that wasn’t for me. As much freedom as writing gives me, I turned my writing process into a jail cell. The block had been self-imposed, left a bad taste in my mouth, and really made me believe I was done.

The muse woke up though. I don’t know why now is the time for her to wake up, but I’m grateful she did because I have a lot to write about.

Let’s waste no time then!

#CoverReveal – #32Seconds gets a makeover

Hi folks,

Sorry for the blog silence, but I’m (very) busy working on my Manicheans Trilogy at the moment, and life has gotten so full, I haven’t had a chance to stop by and let you know what was going on.

Well, I keep marketing my YA novel 32 Seconds, and to rise up to the occasion, have given the novel a new cover, more YA and definitely up to par with the best books out there.

Enjoy! A book tour will happen soon, so stay tuned!

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#32Seconds – #BookTour 2/2 through 2/14 #promotion

Hello folks,

Marketing continues for my novel 32 Seconds as I’m making big progress on my upcoming trilogy The Manicheans.

The lovely Debdatta has scheduled a gigantic book tour with 30 stops! Thank you to all the blog hosts for their support. The tour ranges from author interview, to guest post, character interview and reviews of 32 Seconds.

So mark your calendars!

#TourSchedule :: 32 Seconds by Johanna K. Pitcairn

To the average onlooker, the city of Los Angeles represents glitz, glamour, and the celebrity lifestyle. But to seventeen-year-old Julie Jones, the city is a vast host of problems she’s longing to get away from. The latest? An unfortunate disagreement with her ex-boyfriend Mark—one that could land her in some serious hot water.

So rather than face the troubles that torment her, Julie decides to run away from her old life and start fresh somewhere new. But her parents aren’t on board with the plan, and she soon finds her bank accounts frozen and her wallet empty.

With just seventy-five dollars and a full tank of gas, the troubled teen is far too stubborn to turn around and head home. So what’s a girl to do?

What Julie doesn’t know is that her travels are about to take her somewhere unexpected—a place where she’ll be forced to come face to face with the ghosts of her past in order to secure her future.

A tale of redemption, hope, and freedom lost and found, 32 Seconds is a thought-provoking exploration into the human spirit and the nature of forgiveness.

Available on Amazon
About the Author
Johanna K. Pitcairn has dreamed of becoming a writer since childhood–authoring her first novel at the age of nine, and countless poems, stories, and screenplays by the age of seventeen. Later, rather than pursuing a career as a director and screenwriter, she decided to go to law school, driven by her father’s opinion that “writing does not pay the bills.”
Ten years later, she moved to New York City, which inspired her to go back to the excitement, wonder, and constant change of being a writer. Pitcairn is a huge fan of psychological-thriller novels and movies, and delves into her hopes, fears, friends, enemies, and everything in between in her own writing.
Contact the Author:
 
Tour Schedule
2nd February
Anita Sahu – Book Review
Kay – Guest Post
Kristy Gillespie  – Guest Post
3rd February
Deea – Guest Post
Kyra Dune – Interview
4th February
Arti – Book Review
Barbie Herrera – Interview.
Falguni Kothari – Character Interview
Nimi Arora – Book Review
5th February
Annamaria Bazzi – Guest Post
Cinta  – Guest Post
Laurie WJN  – Guest Post
6th February
Linzé Brandon  – Guest Post
Niyati – Book Review
7th February
Kritika Narula – Book Review
Priti – Book Review
9th February
Caris McRae – Book Review
Claudia Burgoa – Interview
Dottie  – Guest Post
K.R. Morrison  – Guest Post
Vicky – Interview 
10th February
A.G.Moye  – Guest Post
Vishal  – Guest Post
11th February
Marni J  – Guest Post
Mohur  – Guest Post
12th February
Nikita – Book Review
13th February
Kaie Hein – Book Review
Rochelle – Book Review
14th February
Beth – Book Review

 

– See more at: http://b00kr3vi3wtours.blogspot.in/2015/01/32SecondsSchedule.html

Easy Does It – but Do It! Julie Jones has a word or two… #32Seconds

Hi folks!

So I will tentatively release 32 Seconds on November 7. Of course, this date might change – if it does change, the next date will be December 5 – my birthday, and this one shall be the final release date of this awesome novel. I’m not rushing myself, so we will see what comes first.

Other thoughts that went through my mind today – how to deal with life and all the ups and downs and unexpected events that make the writing journey a bit more perilous. I am very happy no one is pushing me with deadlines because I would be unable to meet any of them. But I still have to stick to a schedule, otherwise, nothing would be done. Time must do its work too. I’m not the type of author who follows a strict outline. My process is more organic, and changes as I change.

Now that 32 Seconds is being copy edited, I’m already thinking ahead, and preparing myself to tackle The Manicheans…I started writing this story in 2010 (yeah, speaking of deadlines…)! Lots will evolve, but the main characters have already found their spot in my heart and mind, and I cherish them like my children.

Julie Jones from 32 Seconds has decided to take on the hot seat today – to keep me focused. She thinks I won’t think of her once I start working on the next project…Here she comes. I better let her work her magic or she will nag me for the rest of the day. Enjoy!

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Phew! Got here as fast as I could. Don’t want people to forget about me so I will talk and talk and talk until you know my name and who I am and what I did, and bam! Julie Jones becomes your favorite character ever. Although, it might be overkill. I should know better than to brag about myself. My awesomeness can be surpassed, I had to learn that the hard way, and yes, I am not perfect (even if I think sometimes, the world just doesn’t understand me and I am ultra-perfection reincarnated.)

Hum, if my ego tries to push more crap down your throat, you might not want to read my story, and I swear, it ends well! Alright, I’m keeping it in check then. What was the topic today?

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Yes, I am a procrastinator. I am the specialist of let’s do it later if we’re too busy now, which in my book is an acceptable excuse. I am always busy. I gotta run all over the place, drive my Bubble (I call my car Bubble) all over Los Angeles and take care of business. Good business. Not the non-kosher occupation I used to love doing until my world turned upside down and I landed in a place where nothing made sense. The Underworld, my friends, was quite the journey. But I digress…

Easy does it, that’s my motto. I apply it every day – and try not to stress myself out until I hit panic mode. Because I’m great at procrastinating (I already said that), and piling up stuff until the laundry list is too long and I get overwhelmed. Discipline and structure are two words that don’t belong to my vocab, but I try, I really try. So I do what I can, when I can, and I don’t beat myself up too much (although I love to do that too). Self-confidence is the key. But arrogance is a no-no. Gotta find the middle-line, which to me is invisible, and very hard to find when I’m in a hurry, but heck. The world wasn’t made in a day. No need to worry then.

I’m sure you can relate. My friend here is doing the best she can to keep up with me, and it’s tough, I grant her that, because I’m a tough cookie. I managed to mellow out a bit though. Just a tad. She has to use patience. Lots of it. She’s a great gal. I’m very lucky to have been born in her imagination. Her mind is a bit messy at times, but always entertaining. I never get bored there.

Alright, my time is up. I don’t want to keep writing until I publish a bible, and there’s so much to say until 32 Seconds is out, so you’ll have time to get to know me…

Ciao fellas, until next time.

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32 Seconds – Coming Soon!

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Getting there, getting there!! 32 Seconds #Release

Sorrrrrrry! Haven’t been very active on this front, it’s because I was busy working on my novel 32 Seconds. And it’s getting there, slowly but surely. The copy editing will start now, which means, I can aim at a release date in the Fall. I haven’t set a day yet, but I think November will probably work. My mom asked if I could release it on her birthday, which is November 7, and I will certainly do my best to grant her wishes.

What’s new otherwise? Life’s good, very good, can’t complain. I remain inspired, and ready to tackle on the next project, The Manicheans Trilogy, Volume 1! That, my friends, promises to be epic. But first things first, I will focus on 32 Seconds and promise to release a beautiful novel, which I hope you will enjoy. I will announce here when pre-orders are available. And for the first week of the release, there will be a lot of goodies and prizes, and all that awesome stuff, so stay tuned. I know you will.

Have a happy Monday (at least as happy as it can get) and I will post again on this platform very soon.

🙂

32 Seconds

At seventeen years old, Julie Jones is one tormented teenager for whom the glam and glitz of Los Angeles don’t mean much anymore. Born troublemaker, she seeks to forget about the demons of her past by leaving her family and friends behind. Her journey to a fresh start takes her to the outskirts of a small town where an old lady lures her outside a one-dollar store, and gives her an enchanted chocolate.

After eating the magic piece of candy, Julie enters a parallel universe called the Underworld, where she meets her handsome guide, Evan. Despite her constant struggle to grasp the severity about her past deeds, and the main reason behind her ill-being, Julie keeps moving on through obstacles and challenges as Evan feeds her answers to many of her questions.

Why does Julie feel like she doesn’t belong anywhere? Why does her anger control every one of her actions? Why does she keep having visions about her best friend Kara, whom she hasn’t been in touch with for the past two years? Deep down, Julie knows she won’t find peace of mind until she accepts the truth about her anger. And why Kara keeps coming back.

#Humility

Humility is a word I’ve learned to use more often nowadays. A few years back, I would have laughed in your face and demonstrated in all possible ways how humble I was, and how I didn’t need to get humbler because truly, I was the humblest out there.

Fact. I was the cockiest jerk alive. And I believed my life revolved around hitting the bestseller list, becoming a millionaire by selling books, and being worshiped like a god because I deserved it. All this hard work trying to be a successful author, it couldn’t be wasted. Had the devil showed up at my door, I’d have signed a contract right here and there to sell my soul for fame and fortune. No matter the consequences, material achievement was my primary goal. Young-Adult

Needless to say, all this cockiness led me nowhere but straight into a wall. Have you ever watched the movie Young Adult starring Charlize Theron? She portrays a successful YA author, who has no real friends, drinks herself into oblivion, tries to rekindle a relationship with her ex knowing he’s moved on since breaking up with her, and all she does is drive herself more insane, day by day, thinking she’s the hottest and smartest, and treating everyone else around her like crap because look at her, she’s was successful once!

Yeah, well, somehow, I was her. And it took a good slap in the face to understand material gain meant nothing if I wasn’t humble, and truly meant it, not pretended it. Humility takes work. It’s much easier to tell people to go eff themselves, than to realize I am in the wrong. Humility comes with maturity. And just because I manage to stay off my high horse one day doesn’t mean I’m not going to jump on it tomorrow, so constant reminders I’m not the hottest piece out there is mandatory homework if I want to stay sane.

I often compared myself to other authors and thought the worst about their work, without really taking a close look at my own writing, and realizing, well, my work needs serious improvement. Why spend so much time focusing on what others were doing wrong, and think I already knew everything? I lacked humility.

Today, I put things in perspective. I understand we all go at our own pace, and some go faster than others, some win prizes before I do, and you know what? It’s fine. I’m happy for them. I’m not going to spend time dissecting every word out of your story, and highlighting all the mistakes. It’s not my job. I’m here to improve myself. Not judge.

No matter where this adventure takes me, to a bestselling title or not, I’m not looking for fame and fortune. All I’m trying to do is express myself to the best of my abilities. The bitter and egocentric me has been chained down to the radiator in the basement of my writing castle, and I’m not letting this fucker out.

I’m done being an ass.

 

Note to Self (207) It’s a matter of life and death

I haven’t been very active on this platform and I sincerely apologize, but I have been extremely busy dealing with a few pressing projects. I’m working on the second volume of Death by Chocolate, and honestly, I wouldn’t have thought it’d be so difficult to finish this story. No idea whether it was easier to write drunk, or whether I’m stuck because this story is too complex to be finished in one night, but I’m struggling. That’s alright, I still find the time to write, and it will be done very soon. I’d expect a release this summer.

My other project The Manicheans will also become my daily routine because this one has been dormant for over two years and the first volume has been rewritten at least five times by now. It’s screaming to be published. So I’m going to tackle this project as soon as Death by Chocolate is completed.

If you haven’t had a chance to get your copy of Death by Chocolate, please visit Amazon or Barnes and Noble. The current edition is available as an e-book, but I expect to release the full copy of Death by Chocolate – Vol 1 and 2 – as one big book and you’ll get the chance to actually buy a physical copy.

I’m pasting the links to Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Grab a copy and leave a review! I’d really appreciate your feedback.

If you don’t know what Death by Chocolate is about, watch the trailer below! Catch you later guys!