Quote of the Month

“A story is a letter that the author writes to himself, to tell himself things that he would be unable to discover otherwise.”

Carlos Ruiz Zafón, The Shadow of the Wind


March 15th, 2017 is the final day to submit workshop proposals for the 2017 workshop! Have an idea? Then click here to submit your workshop or panels!


The 2017 Guest Author is…Diana Rowland!


Alumni Publications

Blood Bound by Traci Douglass, Romance
Anna Frost goes undercover in an notorious Otherworld biker gang to try and find her missing sister and teams up with Dante, half demon, half human. Working together, they discover white-hot passion in each other’s arms, but will her quest for the truth cost him more than he ever bargained for?

Blood Freed by Traci Douglass, Romance
Wild child Liz Frost is ready to turn over a new leaf and what better way to prove she can be responsible than by volunteering to answer a call for help. Dex MacCallahan is tasked with guarding Liz on a mission he can’t refuse. Together, Dex and Liz must search for the information they need, but when their simmering chemistry boils over into searing hot passion, will they risk losing their hearts to save the ones they love?

Defending the Future 7: Man And Machine Anthology byJudi Fleming, Science-Fiction Short Story

The plan had been to un-man the battlespace, replacing flesh and blood with steel and carbon fiber. Machines, both remote-controlled and autonomous A.I.s, would fight and be destroyed in the name of freedom; sparing the troops at the cost of the nation’s treasure. However, as with any arms race, the opposing side’s technology eventually catches ups to yours, resulting in the need to put lives back in harm’s way on the frontline; to deal with, and adapt to the unknown, as only humans can.

The Ceiling Man by Patricia Lillie, Horror Novel

The stranger only Abby, an autistic teen, sees and hears introduces her to evil. When her mother falls under the stranger’s sway, she must solve the puzzle of The Ceiling Man and save them both. A Kindle Scout selection.

Satisfying Silicon by Virginia Nelson, Romance Anthology
Lady Dead may be number five on his hit list, but she trusts that Silicon will come for her. Save her or kill her… either way, it’ll be a hot ride.

Killing Cancer: When Dad And I Fought A Titan by Donna J. W. Munro, Other Short Story

Jeff: Ghost-buster Extraordinaire by Elsa M Carruthers, Horror Short Story
A comical horror short. Reprint

Coppelius by Kristina Elyse Butke, Fantasy Poem
A poem inspired by E.T.A. Hoffmann’s “The Sandman.”

A Strange and Distant Safety by Jennifer Loring, Romance Short Story
For one young man, the nightmare scenario of abduction and torture becomes the key to unlocking his ultimate fantasy.

No One on Earth by Jennifer Loring, Romance Novella
Will two timelines that have always intersected, no matter when or where, finally be forced to diverge?

Arizona Impulse by Tiffany Avery writing as B. Leslie Tirrell, Science-Fiction Novella
Celebrity chefs, politicians, and the holidays combine to create scandal due to a looming famine.


Featured Blog Post

This could be your time to shine!
Submit your blog or become a guest blogger on the IYWM blog.


Stay Connected

IYWM is on Twitter at @IYWM
Follow us to stay up to date with the IYWM Workshop and discover writing articles.We’re also on Instagram @IYWM.Workshop
Take a pic of your bookcover and tag us! We’d love to repost!

Our world is rife with darkness. Even a cursory glance at current events reveals suffering, death, destruction, and hate. As a person with a highly-sensitive empathy response (I literally feel what others feel—I can’t stop it), I can’t pay attention to too much, or I make myself physically ill.

I’ve had conversations with other writers at genre conventions about the current rage for “grim-dark” stories. These are tales like Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, and Breaking Bad, where the world itself is suffused with despair and everyone can die. The draw seems to be a sense of realism, of not “shying away” from the darker aspects of life.

While a tone of foreboding and despair is perhaps “realistic,” I don’t find that a compelling reason to partake of that kind of fiction. I go to fiction to imagine a world that could be, a better world. If I want to read about genocide, plague, catastrophe, rape, murder, and war, I can go to any news website on the internet.

Instead, I prefer stories of hope—where justice prevails and where love conquers. I don’t feel that this makes me naïve (although it does make me an optimist). I am a warrior, writing in defense of what I believe to be absolutely true: that if we, as a species, embraced love, accepting our differences and understanding our similarities, that our world would be radically changed. The beating heart of every world religion is love and acceptance, despite what man tries to twist and change about each prophet’s words to justify their rage and hate.

So I write love stories, and I try to add a little love into the universe. I model relationships that I feel are healthy, based on mutual respect and attraction—not on manipulation and abuse. My characters enjoy vigorous sex lives, again based on an understanding that sex is not and should not be shameful, hidden, or vilified. Women and their desires are elevated, celebrated, and equal to men and theirs. They are not made to feel dirty or broken because they feel and experience physical passion.

I made a promise, when I started this series, that none of my characters would ever be raped, either within the story or to create a backstory conflict. Not because I am disconnected from reality, but because I am very, very connected to it. Nearly every woman I know has been sexually assaulted. And if not outright assaulted, has been the victim of misogyny and oppression—has been catcalled, touched inappropriately, or had to deal with unwanted advances that quickly progressed to violence when they politely declined.

So my books will never, ever go to that conflict well. My world is a safe place for my female characters. They have plenty of other problems, but rape isn’t one of them. Instead, I allow my stories to wallow in hope. Hope that things will get better, that we can make a better world, that love and acceptance and understanding and empathy and compassion can and should be the strongest forces in the world.

In my books, love conquers all. Doesn’t that sound like a world you’d want to live in?


ABOUT CARA

Cara McKinnon wrote her first fantasy romance at the age of six, about a unicorn couple that falls in love and has adventures (there is also pie). Now she writes about humans falling in love and having adventures, but she can’t quite stop including magic.

She loves history and historical romance, so she decided to set her books in an alternate Victorian era where magic is not only real but a part of everyday life.

Cara attended the best writing school in the world, Seton Hill University, where she received an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction and found her writing tribe. She lives on the East Coast of the US with her husband, two kids, and an oversized lapdog named Jake.

Visit her on her website caramckinnon.com, where you can find more information about the Fay of Skye series, writing and romance, and ways to get in touch!

Writer Quote of the Month

“Every book you’ve ever read, at one point in time, was just an idea in someone’s head. It didn’t become a book until they sat down and wrote it.” ― Unknown


Ask An Editor

In Your Write Mind has teamed up with some incredible editors to offer you the chance to get your questions about story, revision, and more answered! Email your questions to SocialMedia.IYWM@gmail.com and you might see them answered in an upcoming newsletter or blog post.

Until then, here are a couple good articles to brush up on what an editor can do for you.

NPR: “What Exactly Does An Editor Do?

Dead Good: “What Does a Book Editor Do?


Alumni Publications

Essential Magic by Cara McKinnon.
A witch driven to excel. A mage ashamed of his past. A desire that could lead them to bliss…or peril.

Steel Magic by J.L. Gribble
Book 2 in the Steel Empires series, an urban fantasy/alternate history adventure

Winner Takes All by Meg Mims,
Cora Peterson is dead set on winning the Fourth of July Barrel Auction with her Mile High Apple Pie. She expects her rival might best her once again, but what she doesn’t expect is a bid for love from the handsome newcomer to Cady Corners…


 Featured Blog Post

This could be your time to shine!
Submit your blog or become a guest blogger on the IYWM blog.
Just email socialmedia.IYWM@gmail.com


 Stay Connected

IYWM is on Twitter at @IYWM
Follow us to stay up to date with the IYWM Workshop and discover writing articles.

We’re also on Instagram @IYWM.Workshop 

Take a pic of your bookcovers and tag us! We’d love to repost!
Check out the amazing activities and events we held at past IYWM events!

So you have a book published.

Great!

You’re selling it online, you’ve got it in stores, and you’re waiting for the sales to roll in. When lo and behold, it’s time for a convention or conference! This gives you the chance to have a signing and selling table, and you’ve decided to take the plunge. But we’ve all seen the authors who fail to generate sales at such events. How can you ensure you’re not one of them?

I’ve sold my books at half a dozen different events. I’ve had both extreme success and sold every copy I brought, and I’ve had events where two copies were all I was able to move. I’ve sold through a central convention vendor, through my publisher’s central table, and myself. I’ve carried my novels, novellas, and anthologies. I’ve never had an event where I sold no copies, but over time tweaking my sales pitch, varying my table display, and altering my “writer uniform” a bit, I’ve hit upon some strategies that work.

Here are things I’ve done that have generated more sales at an event, whether this is your first book or your fifteenth.

In my non-author life, I currently teach English and cultural studies courses to college students but have worked in college recruitment and retention, and even spent many years in retail (including as a bookseller) and customer service work. I’m not, by nature, super extroverted. You don’t have to be an extreme extrovert to hand-sell your books, but you should probably practice being comfortable talking to strangers one-on-one.

Remember: convention attendees are already into reading; you’re just talking to someone else who, like you, loves books. You already have an in with them; it’s simply a matter of closing the deal.

First, I wear something I feel extremely physically comfortable in, but that is just the tiniest bit different from what other people might be wearing. Even if your “writer uniform” is mostly psychological, you want to feel good, you want to look your best, and you don’t want to wear something complicated and fussy that will have you tugging at your clothes all night. Look good, but be able to move freely and easily.

I now have a lucky event outfit that I once sold out in, so now I try to wear it or a variation of it to all my events. It also gives me a visual brand, but it’s extremely low-key.

Maybe your writer uniform is jeans and a blazer, maybe it’s a favorite dress that you look really good in, or maybe it’s a lucky necktie or a pair of earrings. You don’t have to go fancy, and you don’t have to spend money. But dirty, worn clothing isn’t going to impress your fan base.

Imagine you’re in a band—you don’t have to wear a tuxedo or ball gown or anything, but you should look like one of the musicians, not one of the roadies. Don’t wear a T-shirt advertising the convention you’re attending, for instance. You will look like any other attendee or perhaps a con volunteer. You are advertising yourself and your work, not the event. If there’s an outfit you’ve gotten compliments on, that’s a good choice.

When you’re selling your books, you’re technically at work, so think about how you’d dress for a job while still being yourself, and consider adopting a few visual signatures, even if you vary them up a little.

I’ve become known for always wearing crazy shoes—platforms, boots, what have you—and these serve several purposes. The rest of my outfit is pretty staid (typically jeans and a white shirt and black blazer), so having one crazy thing that also acts as a conversation starter is fun. But also, as a short person, it adds some height that I can use to my advantage in order to better hear tall people talking to me as well as lending me a visual form of authority in a way.

For you, maybe a pair of TARDIS earrings or a Star Wars necktie can do the trick—it’s like having a superpower. No one knows you’re secretly a Jedi or a Time Lord or not as tall as you look, but you’re magically able to project an air of confidence because of this secret “power” item in your uniform. Look like your version of polished and writerly to allow you to work from the outside in on your self-assurance and poise. We don’t want to believe that appearance matters, but on a basic level, being neat and clean and professional does help quite a bit.

When navigating customers, smile at everyone who passes your table. Always look friendly and approachable. Say hi to anyone who lingers even a second. Make eye contact. Ask if they’re having fun at the event. Ask them what kind of books they like to read or (if appropriate) write. Comment on another book they’re holding or compliment their outfit or a piece of jewelry.

These are nerdy people at many of these events. If you’re at an SF con, there will be some Whovians or Whedonites with let’s say a Firefly T-shirt or maybe a TARDIS jewelry piece. Comment on it. Ask if they got it there. Link their interest to your book(s) somehow. Just get them talking about what they like, and see how it might parallel your own work. Ask who they’re shopping for and what other books they like.

Talk to the authors selling beside you. Tell each other about each other’s books so you can recommend each other’s work. Be willing just to do trades with other authors. “Would you like a copy of my book for a copy of yours?” If they don’t want to trade, that’s fine, but again, cross-selling is a great networking tool.

When talking to your fellow authors or your customers, be a good listener, but make sure you can also be heard. Speak more loudly than you think you need to. Those places are terrible for hearing people well. When someone approaches, stand up. You can sit back down to sign, but try to stand up as much as possible. If you’re chatting with the author next to you, stop (even if you must ignore the other person for a moment) and stand up and talk to your customer.

And finally, when customers are dithering, don’t be afraid to say, “Would you like a copy?” Be kind even to people who don’t buy. Offer them some swag. Give them a postcard with a QR code on it where they can at least buy the e-book. If someone is hesitating and the sale is open for another 15 minutes, consider a “fire sale.” Offer a bundle price if they buy multiple titles or offer them a little extra discount. Claim it’s so you don’t have to take any copies home with you. If I’m making my own sales, I pre-program a few different types of discounts in my sales software depending on what type of event I’m going to. Most of these apps will also allow you to add a one-time discount in, too, so you can make these decisions on the fly.

So, in sum, make sure you look and feel confident, be friendly, and get people talking about their interests. Network with your fellow authors. Consider discounts to help close the sale. After a few events, you’ll discover what works best for you personally, where you feel the most confident, and what tends to make sales happen or not happen. I’ve managed to sell books even at events without all the best conditions. Make the most of what you’re best at. Make your table look visually appealing. Be positive and upbeat.

And most of all, have fun. Your enthusiasm for your product will be infectious.


BOOKS-thecuriositykillers

 

Kathleen W. Taylor Kollman received her MFA from Seton Hill University in 2015 and is now a Ph.D. student at Bowling Green State University. As K.W. Taylor, she writes science fiction, fantasy, and horror. Her latest novel, The Curiosity Killers, was published by Dog Star Books in spring of 2016. Find her at kwtaylorwriter.com.

 

 

 

 


 

 

Writer Quote of the Month
“If you have any young friends who aspire to become writers, the second-greatest favor you can do them is to present them with copies of The Elements of Style. The first greatest, of course, is to shoot them now, while they’re happy.”
– Dorothy Parker
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There’s Still Time to Register
Registration is now open for the 2016 In Your Write Mind Workshop for just $165.

Register Now!

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Guest Speakers

AGENT GUEST OF HONOR
Kimberly Brower represents a wide range of authors, particularly those who write contemporary romance, women’s fiction, thrillers and young adult. Her clients are New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today and Amazon best selling authors, who are both traditionally and self published. She graduated with a business degree from California State University, Northridge and a law degree from Loyola Law School, Los Angeles. She is originally from New Jersey, but is happy to be back on the east coast, living in New York City.

AUTHOR GUEST OF HONOR
Daniel José Older is the author of the ghost noir collection, Salsa Nocturna and the adult books in the Bone Street Rumbaurban fantasy series. His short stories and essays have appeared in Tor.com, Salon, BuzzFeed, New Haven Review, PANK, Apex and Strange Horizons as well as the anthologies Subversion and Mothership: Tales Of Afrofuturism And Beyond. His debut YA novel Shadowshaper has garnered several starred reviews, was listed as a 2015 Kirkus Prize finalist and on several Best Books of the Year list. Please visit him online at www.GhostStar.net for his thoughts on writing, his decade-long career as an NYC paramedic and to listen to his music. Follow him on Twitter @djolder.

EDITOR GUEST OF HONOR
Diana M. Pho is an associate editor at Tor Books and blogs for Tor.com. She is also an academic scholar, activist, performer, and general rabble-rouser. In the steampunk community, she is best-known for running Beyond Victoriana, an award-winning, US-based blog on multicultural steampunk. She has published numerous articles on science fiction and its community, and written introductions to The Anatomy of Steampunk, Steampunk World, and The Best of Spanish Steampunk. She has been interviewed for many media outlets about fandom, including CBS’s Inside Edition, MSN.com, BBC America, the Travel Channel, HGTV, and the Science Channel. Follow her on Tumblr at writersyndrome.tumblr.com and Twitter at @writersyndrome.

AGENT GUEST OF HONOR
Eric Ruben is an attorney with over 25 years experience. His clients are authors in numerous genres. Eric got his start in publishing when suggested that NY Times best-selling author Suzanne Brockmann write about Navy SEALs as heroes and helped create the genre of romantic military suspense. He is an award-winning performer and writer who has appeared in films, commercials, and Off-Broadway theater. Also a producer of film and theater, Eric’s experience gives him a unique perspective that benefits all his showbiz clients. You can follow him on Twitter at @TheEricRuben.

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IYWM Scholarship Raffle Baskets

We’re still accepting donations for the scholarship raffle baskets. If you want to donate, we’d really appreciate if you fill out this quick form.

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Booksigning
We’re throwing a booksigning with readings at the McKenna Salvitti Gymnasium. See between 15 and 25 different authors available for book signings and personal questions about their craft.
Friday, June 24, from 7 pm – 10 pm

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IYWM 2016 Schedule!
Check out the schedule of events  for the 2016 In Your Write Mind Workshop!

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Alumni Publications
Murder in Morningside Heights  by Victoria Thompson
In the latest from the bestselling author of Murder on St. Nicholas Avenue, former police sergeant Frank Malloy and his wife adjust to life in New York high society as they investigate a death in the field of higher learning…

Winner Takes All by Meg Mims
Cora Peterson is dead set on winning the Fourth of July Barrel Auction with her Mile High Apple Pie. She expects her rival might best her once again, but what she doesn’t expect is a bid for love from the handsome newcomer to Cady Corners…

The Margarita Chica Finds Love: Boxed Set by Jacki King
Leslie Stetler is here to sell you sex. And lots of it. Welcome to her sassy, sexy world, Southern California’s “Inland Empire” where fortunes and fantasies boil together under the blazing sun.

The Trouble with Antlers (a.k.a. Melvin’s Rampant Rack) by A.J. Culey
Melvin Moose has a problem. Anytime a girl gets too close, his antlers go on walkabout, popping out of his human head at the most inopportune moments. As if that weren’t bad enough, a human girl just enrolled at his school, and if she catches sight of his unruly rack, it’s all over for Shifterville.

The Zombie Mishap by Samantha Lienhard
When two scientists accidentally create a zombie, they find themselves in a terrible predicament. Determined not to let anyone learn what they did, they embark on a desperate mission to stop their creation before it’s too late.

A Mother’s Love ~ An Anthology of Murder and Mayhem, “Balad of a Mother and Slave” by Donna Wagenblast Munro
A mother’s love has no boundaries. In every species, mothers risk their own lives and sacrifice themselves to save their children. Throughout the animal kingdom, even the most gentle of creatures attack and kill to protect their young.

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Featured Blog Post
This could be your time to shine!
Submit your blog or become a guest blogger on the IYWM blog.
Just email socialmedia.IYWM at gmail.com

 

Everyone here at IYWM wishes all of you and your’s a magical holiday! May your new year be filled with many good books, fulfilled dreams, and may the muse be ever on your side!

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Writer Quote of the Month
“In order to write about life first you must live it.”
― Ernest Hemingway
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“Inspiration Station
Exoplanets renamed after scientists, gods and the undead (Wired UK)
“Arion, Taphao Kaew, Poltergeist and Tadmor are just some of the new official names given to distant planets and their alien suns by the International Astronomical Union…”

How to spot a psychopath according to a psychopath (Independent)
“Self proclaimed pyschopath Jacob Wells shares the tell-tale signs you might be hanging out with a pyschopath…”

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Write Better, Write Now!

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Industry News
A Side of Relish: Little Pickle Adds YA Imprint (Publishers Weekly)
Curious commonality among books that get banned (Upworthy)
11 Common Publishing Terms All Writers Should Know (Writer’s Digest)

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Stay Connected
IYWM is on Twitter at @IYWM (https://twitter.com/IYWM/)
Follow us to stay up to date with the IYWM Workshop and discover writing articles.

We’re also on Instagram @IYWM.Workshop (https://instagram.com/iywm.workshop)
Take a pic of your bookcover and tag us! We’d love to repost!

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Give the gift of good books!
The 24 Best Science Fiction Books Of 2015  (BuzzFeed Books)
The 32 Best Fantasy Books Of 2015 (BuzzFeed Books)
Top 10 Horror: 2015 (Booklist Online)
Top 10 Best Romance Novels of 2015  (Heavy)
Best mystery books and thrillers of 2015 (Washington Post)
The best young adult books of 2015 (Telegraph)

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Alumni Publications
Aileen O’Conor Latcham writing as Aileen Erin, Alpha Unleashed (Alpha Girl Book 5)
Luciana may have failed to steal Tessa McCaide’s magic, but she’s just getting started on her crusade for magical domination. If Tessa doesn’t find a way to stop her demonic summoning, it could mean the end of everything.

Lauren Stone writing as Lola Dodge, Quanta
Just because Quanta can see the future doesn’t mean she can change it. She’s spent most of her life imprisoned, feeding her captors information to keep herself alive, but she’s finally reached the endgame and her death creeps closer by the moment.

Mary DeSantis writing as Deanna Dee, Finish Him
When Sonya Black’s sister is drugged, Sonya launches an amateur investigation only to end up, answerless, at the feet of Jaxon Nyles. Can Sonya find the perp and avoid (or give in to) the chemistry brewing between her and Jaxon?

Mary DeSantis writing as Deanna Dee, The First for Noelle
A Christmas short set in the Games of Love world. Can Noelle work up the courage to approach Trey and maybe get her first kiss this holiday season?

Mary DeSantis writing as Deanna Dee, A Merry Little Christmas Solo
Haley’s been competing with Gavin in choir for years, but is he really her enemy?

Jennifer Loring, Firebird (The Firebird Trilogy Book 1)
Stephanie Hartwell is a journalist chasing the story of her career: hockey superstar Aleksandr Volynsky, an Olympian, Stanley Cup Champion, and her first love. Romance rekindles, but tragedy soon reveals Aleksandr’s dark side. When he discovers the truth behind his self-destructive behavior, will his newfound self-awareness be enough to convince Stephanie to give him one last chance?

Kathleen W. Taylor writing as K.W. Taylor, Method Writing
Method actors inhabit their characters. Method writers do, too. John goes to elaborate lengths to study the habits, physiology, and needs of a vampire.

Shelly Bates writing as Shelly Adina, Devices Brightly Shining: A steampunk Christmas novella
When Sydney and Hugh Meriwether-Astor (two young cousins of Gloria Meriwether-Astor) arrive in London, the inhabitants of Carrick House are happy to welcome them. But when Maggie learns that Sydney has his own plans for the family business she decides it’s time for someone with a spine, an airship of her own, and reasons to put fields of air between herself and decisions about her future to pull up ropes and warn Gloria that betrayal is closer than she thinks…

Kristin Dearborn, Stolen Away
Trisha doesn’t have much going for her, but she is a good mother. That’s what she’s always told herself, anyway. She wakes in the middle of the night to hear her infant son has been taken. Her daughter, who saw the kidnapping, tearfully tells her a monster took him. Her ex-boyfriend Joel owes the Russian Mafia a million dollars, but that’s nothing compared to the trouble Trisha’s got herself into. Searching for her son, Trisha and Joel won’t let gangsters, demons, or Joel’s overbearing mother stop them.

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Featured Blog Post
This could be your time to shine!
Submit your blog or become a guest blogger on the IYWM blog.
Just email socialmedia.IYWM@gmail.com

Writer Quote of the Month

“When I sit down to write a book, I do not say to myself, ‘I am going to produce a work of art.’ I write it because there is some lie that I want to expose, some fact to which I want to draw attention, and my initial concern is to get a hearing.”
—George Orwell
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Stay Connected

IYWM is on Twitter at @IYWM
Follow us to stay up to date with the IYWM Workshop and discover writing articles.

We’re also on Instagram @IYWM.Workshop
Take a pic of your bookcover and tag us! We’d love to repost!

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Alumni Publications

Aileen O’Conor Latcham writing as Aileen Erin, Alpha Unleashed (Alpha Girl Book 5)

Luciana may have failed to steal Tessa McCaide’s magic, but she’s just getting started on her crusade for magical domination. If Tessa doesn’t find a way to stop her demonic summoning, it could mean the end of everything.

Available to download from the following retailers:
iTunes
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Kobo

Lauren Stone writing as Lola Dodge, Quanta

Mary DeSantis writing as Deanna Dee, Finish Him
When Sonya Black’s sister is drugged, Sonya launches an amateur investigation only to end up, answerless, at the feet of Jaxon Nyles. Can Sonya find the perp and avoid (or give in to) the chemistry brewing between her and Jaxon?

Mary DeSantis writing as Deanna Dee, The First for Noelle
A Christmas short set in the Games of Love world. Can Noelle work up the courage to approach Trey and maybe get her first kiss this holiday season?

Mary DeSantis writing as Deanna Dee, A Merry Little Christmas Solo
Haley’s been competing with Gavin in choir for years, but is he really her enemy?

Jennifer Loring, Firebird (The Firebird Trilogy Book 1)
Stephanie Hartwell is a journalist chasing the story of her career: hockey superstar Aleksandr Volynsky, an Olympian, Stanley Cup Champion, and her first love. Romance rekindles, but tragedy soon reveals Aleksandr’s dark side. When he discovers the truth behind his self-destructive behavior, will his newfound self-awareness be enough to convince Stephanie to give him one last chance?

Kathleen W. Taylor writing as K.W. Taylor, Method Writing
Method actors inhabit their characters. Method writers do, too. John goes to elaborate lengths to study the habits, physiology, and needs of a vampire.

Shelly Bates writing as Shelly Adina, Devices Brightly Shining: A steampunk Christmas novella
When Sydney and Hugh Meriwether-Astor (two young cousins of Gloria Meriwether-Astor) arrive in London, the inhabitants of Carrick House are happy to welcome them. But when Maggie learns that Sydney has his own plans for the family business she decides it’s time for someone with a spine, an airship of her own, and reasons to put fields of air between herself and decisions about her future to pull up ropes and warn Gloria that betrayal is closer than she thinks…

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Featured Blog PostThis could be your time to shine!

This could be your time to shine!
Submit your blog or become a guest blogger on the IYWM blog.

ron

As many members of the Seton Hill Writer Popular Fiction program and In Your Write Mind Workshop attendees may already know, we lost one of our own very recently. Ron Shannon was a kind and vibrant colleague and friend.  In February of this year, Ron wrote a guest post for this blog, which is republished below in his memory.

Ron, you were one of the best of us. Though you are gone, you will always live on as part of our family.

Donations to the Seton Hill Scholarship fund can be made in memory of Ron at alumni.setonhill.edu/give

Links to purchase Ron’s books.

The Hedgerows of June & Gabriel’s Wing

Anticipating the 2015 In Your Write Mind Conference

Time is drawing near. It’s time for writers of different genres to congregate at an amazing Catholic University, a dreamscape structure, situated on a hill in Greensburg Pennsylvania. This sort of thing doesn’t happen. Conferences are genre specific. Horror people get together to discuss how to scare their readers to death. Romance writers are drawn to a huge convention and I wonder if they ponder the merits of erotic and sweet.  I’m sure when science fiction writers assemble they transform their surroundings to a realm of marvel and inventiveness. Fantasy stretches reality to undiscovered dimensions hidden in the cosmos. Is there a place for the genre that chose me? Adventure sprinkled with romantic elements.

What is applicable to In Your Write Mind is not genre. It doesn’t matter if you are published and about to hit the big time, or if you are struggling to get noticed. It’s not important what your sales are; well at least for this conference. What is important is that you write, you are a writer and you identify with that tribe. You can come here and be at home, accepted, and you won’t be demoralized because your writer’s heart is filled with insecurities.

I normally arrive on campus early the first day. Others don’t usually show up until around noon. I like to get there and wander the halls, find a place to sit with what I am currently reading, and be alone to absorb the ambiance of the school. Old and haunted, it is a living, breathing organism that tells me I’m where I belong. I daydream, like any writer, and think about what it would be like if I could spend more time on campus, maybe teach. I allow my imagination to spin off in all directions. It’s story time and I think about taking notes. I should take notes, but I don’t worry about such things. I don’t want to lose the moment. I go back to reading, but I find I’m too excited to concentrate. Stories and characters float in my head. Like turbulent clouds they change shape, radiate youthful ideas, and create fresh memories. I should be cautious, guard my visions, like a schoolboy in class, but it’s not going to happen. I take out my notebook and scribble. I have a character, a story, perhaps an answer to a peculiar dilemma. It doesn’t matter. I smile to myself and take another walk. People will show up soon. If the weather is nice I will go out and sit on one of the benches or swings. More notes, more reading.

People are showing up now and they stop to talk. We catch up. Chat about things important to writers. What are you writing? Have you published? I saw your note on Facebook. Congratulations on your short story, your award, finishing that first draft. Yes, my thesis is published. I am happy, but I wish sales were better. Don’t be troubled. We will talk about that blog, that virtual tour, that review you loved.

This is why I came here, the friendships, the discussions outside of the classroom, the time with people who have my dreams, aspirations, and interests. I escape my day job, uninteresting careers, and office politics. The normality of life is good fodder, but not what I seek. I am part of this group. I am not the introverted outsider. I am not the pitiful daydreamer. I am another writer and we are working to help each other to succeed. I am home.

This is what this conference is all about. If you are not alum of the Writing Popular Fiction program it’s okay. You are welcomed here. You are part of the tribe. Yes, you are introverted and find it difficult to mingle. That’s okay because you’ll find most of us are the same. We suffer from the same maladies, but in this world the malady is essential. It provides the capacity to sit in isolation for hours and live through our characters. It’s what makes us whole and our lives worth living. We accept fellow travelers. You will fit in here. Just say hello, someone will ask what you write, ask about your current project. How did you hear about In Your Write Mind? We’re glad you’re here.

I am looking forward to Seton Hill. I know it will end before it begins. I know I will not recover for weeks. I will dream about the campus. I will reach out for inspiration. I will take new experiences and in some way I will grow from them. My writing will improve and I will find the label of writer an honor and a privilege.

Writer Quote of the Month

Get through a draft as quickly as possible. Hard to know the shape of the thing until you have a draft. Literally, when I wrote the last page of my first draft of Lincoln’s Melancholy I thought, Oh, shit, now I get the shape of this. But I had wasted years, literally years, writing and re-writing the first third to first half. The old writer’s rule applies: Have the courage to write badly.

– Joshua Wolf Shenk

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Alumni Publications

Mary Karlik

Book title: Horseplay: A Hickville High Companion
Genre: YA Contemporary Romance
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Chris Von Halle
Book title: The Fourth Generation

Genre: YA Dystopia
On the verge of perishing from a plague that kills all seventeen-year-olds, a curious Gorin spies on the rulers’ off-limits mansion and makes a discovery that, although horrifying, just might save everybody in town from their tragically shortened lives.

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Mary DeSantis writing as Deanna Dee

Book title: Summer Crush
Story title: Boarderline Love

Genre: YA Contemporary

Nearly drowning wasn’t part of Dalya’s vacation plans. Neither was being rescued by a guy with a perfect six pack and a haunted look in his eyes. Mason reminds Dalya too much of her over-protective older brother, but when he offers to teach her to surf, she can’t say no. Can Dalya get past her frustration with her brother to realize how much Mason means to her?

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Aubry Gross

Book title: Big Girls Need Love Too

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Plus-size Molly has had it–with herself and her best friend Benjamin. And, well, his perfect girlfriend Emery, too. It’s time to get over Benjamin. Stat. Except, well, getting over Benjamin shouldn’t be this hard; after all, there are only so many bad dates, secretive guys, and ill-timed declarations of love a girl can handle.

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Harper Shaddock
Book title: Bad Alpha
Story title: Becoming the Alpha’s Mate

Genre: Romance (Heat Level 3 of 4)

After escaping an abusive ex, lone-wolf Brenna is looking for a fresh start. She never expected to stumble across a pack’s territory, or that the Alpha would claim her for a mate. Remy had enough on his plate dealing with a rival pack, but it was love at first howl and he’s not about to lose his mate…even if it means fighting her past her fears.
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Featured Blog Post

This could be your time to shine!
Submit your blog or become a guest blogger on the IYWM blog.
Just email socialmedia.IYWM@gmail.com

I’m writing this post because fanfiction is a buzzword again, thanks to the publication of “Grey” by E. L. James–or, more specifically, the Twitter debacle that was #AskELJames, which included tweets slamming fanfiction in general. I’ve seen several posts from authors defending fanfiction in response to such tweets–and fanfiction very well should be defended–but I’m also disheartened to see that many well-intentioned people misunderstand the legalities of fanfiction and the Fair Use clause, and are shooting incorrect information out there into the world.I’m writing this post because fanfiction is a buzzword again, thanks to the publication of “Grey” by E. L. James–or, more specifically, the Twitter debacle that was #AskELJames, which included tweets slamming fanfiction in general. I’ve seen several posts from authors defending fanfiction in response to such tweets–and fanfiction very well should be defended–but I’m also disheartened to see that many well-intentioned people misunderstand the legalities of fanfiction and the Fair Use clause, and are shooting incorrect information out there into the world.

Before I elaborate on the legal stuff, let me add this disclaimer: I am not a lawyer. I am not licensed to provide legal counsel to anyone. But I do know copyright and fair use, because it’s an integral part of what I do for a living (I make things, yay!). That, and the U.S. Copyright Office website is very clear on defining these terms, so I have no problem discussing them and linking to the source material throughout this post.

~*~

Here are the icky truths that people don’t always want to hear, especially when it comes to fanworks:

  • Without permission directly granted from the original copyright owner, any creation of derivative works is illegal.
  • Copyright violators do not determine if their work falls under the protection of Fair Use; that decision is made through arbitration.
  • Fair Use is not a right. Fair Use is a defense argument used in legal proceedings, and is a circumstantial provision that does not guarantee protection for those who violate copyright law.
  • Attribution isn’t a protection from copyright violation, but you still need to do it anyway.
  • Including disclaimers with derivative works (“All rights belong to their prospective owners” / “These characters don’t belong to me” / “Work is protected under Fair Use”) is not a protection from copyright violation. If you’re going to bother including a disclaimer, you still need to properly attribute the author, copyright holder, and trademark owner.
And probably the biggest one that puts people into defense-mode:
Taking something that isn’t yours, without permission, is stealing.  

~*~
The specific erroneous statement that pushed me to write this post was a pro blogger’s claim that fanfiction is “a transformative work protected under copyright law.”

Well…there are two ways to interpret that statement:

  1. Transformation of an original work doesn’t violate copyright.
  2. The transformation itself (the new work) is protected under copyright law.

#1 is incorrect.
#2 is correct.

Fun, right?

Fanworks–fanfiction, fan art, fan films–are derivatives of an original work. They “transform” the original work by taking major pieces from it (characters, plot, etc.) and placing those original components in new scenarios with new depictions. Without permission from the original copyright holder to build upon, transmit, copy, and transform a preexisting work, derivatives are illegal.

Why are they illegal? Because, as Title 17 of the US Code explains, rights to a created work are exclusive to the creator. It’s a Constitutional Provision meant to protect authors and their work, but is also meant to “promote the progress of science and the useful arts” by limiting the exclusivity of the work–meaning, eventually, creations will  belong to everyone (Source). Until that time passes, you cannot take what isn’t yours, no matter how well-intentioned you may be.

~*~

It is very important to emphasize that copyright does not protect ideas, but instead, how ideas are rendered.

Source; original artist unknown.
Teachable moment: I am violating copyright law by using this image without permission. I am using it in the hopes that it will be considered legal under the Fair Use provision in US copyright law. However, it’s still stealing, so I must be prepared to remove the image if asked; and accept the consequences for publishing it without the copyright owner’s permission.

The Star Wars vs. Harry Potter infographic is effective because it illustrates that these works share ideas but their creators render them very, very differently. J. K. Rowling decided to write a fantasy set in a parallel, magical world that exists along with our own, set in the UK in the relative present. George Lucas decided to write a space opera set “long ago in a galaxy far far away.” Concepts may overlap, but the key elements of the narrative–characters, dialogue, voice, etc.–are original, wholly belonging to their respective creators.

In other words, ideas are intangibles that belong to and are shared by everyone, but their specific, unique expressions, once physically rendered, belong to the individual creator. In the US (and many other countries worldwide), that uniquely rendered piece is automatically protected under copyright law. What is one man’s hobby is another one’s livelihood, and copyright law is designed to protect both.

~*~
Source. Original artist unknown.

And now, a case study!

Once upon a time, fanfiction author Snow Queen’s Ice Dragon took Twilight‘s lead characters Bella and Edward, as created by author Stephenie Meyer, and wrote them into a new story called “Master of the Universe.” She, like thousands of other readers, wanted more from Bella and Edward’s relationship–Twilight was marketed to teenagers, and adult readers wanted to see something that reflected adult interests and situations. “Master of the Universe” was a fanfic that included Bella and Edward in a BDSM, sexual relationship–an R-rated Twilight readers were looking for.

Snow Queen’s Ice Dragon broke the law when she wrote “Master of the Universe,” because she did not invent, and did not own, the characters of Bella and Edward–Stephenie Meyer did. The only way Snow Queen’s Ice Dragon fanfic would be legal is if she contacted author Stephenie Meyer directly to get permission to publish “Master of the Universe” (yes, posting online means you are, in fact, publishing your work).

She published it anyway. And it was so popular that it she later decided to commercially self-publish it as an ebook, and after making a good deal of money from that, made a deal with Random House and made a hell of a lot more money. “Master of the Universe” is now known  as “Fifty Shades of Grey” and Snow Queen’s Ice Dragon is now known as E. L. James. And she’s a bazillionaire, because she gave her fans exactly they wanted.

But there was still a huge outcry from the public about the situation, saying that the similarities warranted legal action. My basic understanding is that Random House and E. L. James scrubbed “Master of the Universe” of all of its Twilight references, but kept everything else. Why? Because “everything else” legally belongs to E. L. James–it’s her unique rendition of overlapping ideas.

Random House asserts that “[…]  the 50 Shades series is wholly original fiction and that the author has warranted it [a]s original fiction, deviating substantially from the original fan fiction known as Master of the Universe” (Source). The internet disagrees with Random House’s claim and there’s some pretty interesting line-by-line comparisons showing that not a lot was changed between “Master” and “50 Shades”…but legally, does it matter?

Nope.

  • E. L. James’s “Fifty Shades of Grey” does not contain Stephenie Meyer’s plot, characters, and original prose–it is a work unique to E.L. James.
  • Stephenie Meyer recognized that “Fifty Shades” was completely different than her own (source). Her acquiescence demonstrates that she does not see a copyright or legal issue with the publication of “Fifty Shades.”
  • “Master of the Universe,” which did violate copyright, was taken down and is unavailable to readers except for the small snippets in blog posts where people are making comparisons between that and “Fifty Shades.” Essentially, “Master of the Universe” no longer exists, and Stephenie Meyer chose not to take legal action against E. L. James for “Master” or “50 Shades.”

Basically, the copyright violations were removed, and most importantly, the original author doesn’t care about the copyright violation anyway, so that’s that.

~*~

Why are you writing this? Are you against fanfiction or something? Nope. I love fanfiction. I wrote Harry Potter parodies and fanfiction starting as early as 1999, before the internet made fandoms and fanworks a tangible thing. I tend to do fanart more than anything else, but I recently wrote fanfic for Darker than Black that I hope to post online at some point, and some dirty fanfic for Dramatical Murder that may never see the light of day because I can’t believe my brain could pump something like that out.

Fanfiction is amazing because it allows you to be experimental in safe parameters, and indeed write things you never thought your brain could pump out. Fanfiction is a great way to learn to write, and a great way to learn about directly connecting to an audience and fulfilling their needs, which is key if you want to break out into commercial fiction. Fanfiction communities can provide great support and direct feedback. And above all else, fanfiction is incredibly fun…

Which is why you shouldn’t stop writing fanfic, or making fan art, or shooting fan films and making parodies.

You just need to be aware that there is a risk when you publish this stuff, and it’s simply this: if the copyright owner makes a claim against your work, you must submit to the demands of the copyright holder.

That means if the author tells you to take something down, you take it down and you leave it down. It also means that if the author seeks litigation, you must recognize that they have the right to do so (and that’s when you can hope your lawyer will use the Fair Use defense).

Many authors and artists are just fine with fanworks. They see fans as invaluable, and sometimes even as family; they also recognize the perks of fanfic and fanarts–free publicity, a built-in, dedicated audience, and (depending on their attitude), a source for valid criticism and mutual inspiration.

There are others who are vehemently against fanfiction (George R. R. Martin and Anne Rice, for example) and they have every right, legal and personal, to discourage it (while fans are important, authors don’t “owe” them).  There may be authors who don’t have a problem with fanfiction, but their publishers, agents, or licensees do, so the author professionally sides with them (Ursula Le Guin is an example). And there are some authors who admit they don’t quite understand fanfiction, so they stay neutral or avoid it altogether (like Juliet Marillier).

If you’re not sure about an author’s personal stance on fanworks, you can usually find out their policy or opinion directly on their websites. Another great resource is fanlore.org‘s vast compilation of Professional Author Fanfic Policies, which continues to grow as more information is made available. I highly recommend checking it out!

Don’t be afraid of making fanworks. Fanworks are amazing!

Just be informed, and make decisions that mitigate potential consequences of copyright violation:

  1. Try to get permission from the copyright holder if you want to publish a derivative work. If you don’t know where to start, read this article. It’s not as difficult as you may think to contact the owner for permissions, and I’m speaking from experience.
  2. Know the author or artist’s policies on fanworks–if they’re against it, then you probably shouldn’t publish.
  3. Authors and artists who are against fanworks are not bad people. One of the arguments I read from a particularly frothy Anne Rice complaint is that she had no right to go after fans, and that she should be appreciative that fanfiction of her work even exists. Nope. Authors don’t owe you accolades or adoration because you “borrowed” something they labored over. If they are “unappreciative” of your appropriation, you don’t fire back with a “you should be grateful!” argument. Nope nope nope.
  4. Publish in safe communities, where fanworks are promoted and encouraged (fanfiction.net, deviantArt, Wattpad, etc).
  5. Don’t sell fanworks! If you charge for anything that is derivative or transformative, this will hurt the Fair Use defense if legal action is taken against you. Plus, profiting off of others’ work without permission is just a dick thing to do. Although many fanartists sell derivative work (posters, tee shirts, etc.), they might’ve gotten the licensing to do so. And if they didn’t, just because it seems like they’re getting away with it doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll go that way for you, too. There will always be a risk if you sell derivative works without permission; if you want to play it safe, stay not-for-profit.
  6. Always provide proper attribution when you use things that aren’t yours, and if you’re going to do a disclaimer, you need to be very clear–writing “I don’t own this” is a WELL, DUH. Something like, “This is a non-commercial work of fanfiction. The characters of Draco Malfoy and Luna Lovegood are the sole invention and property of author J. K. Rowling” is a lot more effective than “Rights belong to their prospective owners,” which is a weak, deliberately vague statement. Attribution and disclaimers do not negate copyright violation, but they are a factor in determining the Fair Use defense (which again, is decided in the courts, and not by you). Attribution and disclaimers also provide credit where credit is due, which is the proper way to go about acknowledging work that isn’t yours.
  7. Comply with all requests and don’t get defensive about it. Again, if you didn’t get permission to take it,  you stole it. The original owner has the right to send a cease-and-desist or DCMA takedown notice, and you must comply with their request. If they choose to take legal action against you, they are in their right to do so. I personally never hear of litigation happening unless the infringement harms the original owner’s livelihood in some way (hurting their business, theft of profits, etc.), so usually, it’s a request for deletion and nothing beyond that (in other words, don’t panic!).
  8. If you want to make money off of fanworks, check out places like Kindle Worlds, which has several franchises available for fanfic writers to legally publish their works for profit.  You can also check out works in the public domain, or search Creative Commons for licenses that allow derivative works for commercial purposes.
~*~

Holy cats, this was a long one. I hope you found it helpful, and if you have any questions about Copyright and Fair Use, don’t be afraid to consult the US Copyright Office website, which explains both in detail. The Stanford Law Libraries site for Copyright and Fair Use is another excellent source for more information.

~*~
Shameless advertisement: If you like what you’ve read in this article, check out my Convention appearances on the Works section of the site–I cover this and more in my panel Fanfic into Fiction. I’ll be at Matsuricon in August. Stop and say hello!