Season of the Winter Witch

Season of the Winter Witch

Season of the Winter Witch

by Amanda M. Sawyer

Magic didn’t arrive until the snow did.

Winter was long past when it should have made its initial appearance. Autumn had been unseasonably warm. The first frost wasn’t until mid-November, when the last leaves that hung to the trees for dear life, finally fell to the ground and crumbled underfoot. Continue reading

Feature Friday: A Conversation with Diana Giovinazzo

Today for Feature Friday, I am excited to interview Diana Giovinazzo!

Diana is a long-time friend and critique partner of mine, whose debut novel The Woman in Red is will be published by Grand Central Publishing, an imprint of Hatchette Book Group. We’ve talked to one another about all stages of the writing process.

Since the theme lately has been about how we put ourselves out there as writers, I thought Diana would be the perfect person to talk about this topic with us.

Amanda: Hi Diana! Thank you for talking to me about this today! As I’ve talked to you about in the past, it’s really scary as a writer or creator of any sort to allow ourselves to be vulnerable and put both ourselves and our work out there. What advice would you give an author who is on the fence about sharing their work with others, or who is anxious about querying?

Diana: Thank you! I am honored to be here. To be a writer means that you slit your wrist and pour it on the page and to share that can be scary, but its that vulnerability that makes the art. Every writer I have ever talked to is anxious about their work being shared. It doesn’t matter if it’s their first book or their fifth book, they still worry about how others will perceive their work. That fear and doubt never go away, you can either let it dictate your dreams or, to paraphrase Carrie Fisher, you can just do it anyway and tell the fear to F*^@k off.

Amanda: How would you describe your querying experience? Was there any point where you were just like “nope, I want this to end now”?

Diana: Querying was both the hardest and most rewarding thing I have ever done. Almost every week I was sending out query letters and when you get email after email of people saying, at best, “I like your book but I don’t love it enough to represent you,” you start to get a little frustrated and that self-doubt comes in as you wonder am I good enough. I came really close multiple times of giving up but I promised myself that I would stick with it until I pitched 100 agents. I also had a great support network of friends that I could turn to. (And if you are wondering, my agent was #87)

Amanda: What things can a writer or creator do to make sharing their work less scary? Does that fear ever go away?

Diana: Lol, see question one above. I think to get used to having others get used to reading your work, the best thing to do is to to work with a critique partner or two. At least, in my opinion, the writing  relationship we developed was incredibly nurturing so that when I submitted my work out to others it made it easier for me to deal with their feedback

Amanda: What are you most excited for with the publication of your debut novel?

Diana: Honestly, I am most excited about it getting out into the world. From start to finish, it’s taken me roughly four years and I can’t wait to see the finished product sitting on a store shelf. It’s something I have dreamed of since I was a kid.

Amanda: Where do you feel most vulnerable with the publication of your debut novel?

Diana: Honestly, nowhere. I have the most amazing agent and editor at Grand Central that believe in my book just as much, if not more so than I do. It’s shaping up to be a fantastic experience.

Amanda: What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever gotten about sharing your work with others?

Diana: “Unless you are being rejected at least five times before breakfast you aren’t working hard enough.”

Amanda: Thank you so much for talking to me about vulnerability as a writer and creator. I can’t wait to see The Woman in Red on shelves.

Diana: It was my pleasure! I can’t wait, for it to come out as well. If you want to stay up to date with what’s happening with my book feel free to sign up for my newsletter.

FInd Diana on Social Media

Follow her on Twitter @DianaGauthor
Like Diana’s author page on Facebook
Check out her INSTAGRAM (there’s dog pics)!

A really long time ago, I interviewed Diana about being Critique Partners! SEE THAT HERE.

Find me on social media

Like Amanda Sawyer- Author on Facebook

Find me on Instagram @amandasnoseinabook

Follow me on Twitter @amandamarie5187

 

Writing Wednesday: Being vulnerable with our creations

Writing Wednesday: Being vulnerable with our creativity

When was the last time you allowed yourself to be vulnerable with your writing, art, or other creations?

Does the thought of that make you want to curl up in a ball and hide under the covers? I admit it makes me want to. But as authors and creators we have to open ourselves up and be vulnerable.

Vulnerability is defined as “capable of or susceptible to being wounded or hurt, as by a weapon, open to moral attack, criticism, temptation, etc.” (dictionary.com).

So sharing our work with others is the most vulnerable creatives can be. Whether it is sharing with a critique partner or beta reader, querying, publishing, or asking people to read and review your work. There is always the chance that something can go horribly wrong, that you will recieve harsh feedback or criticism of your art.

But there is also the chance that something amazing can happen.

That is what I want you to remember.

I’ve been sitting on a finished manuscript since last summer. It’s done, edited, and the best I can possibly make it on my own. Yet, I’ve done absolutely nothing with this since last September, with the intent to query but that never happened. Why? Because I am afraid of allowing myself to be vulnerable. Like I mentioned at the beginning of this post, vulnerability makes me want to curl up in a ball and hide. My writing, while not autobiographical in the least, is where I am most vulnerable. So much of me went into this book. The thought of people reading it is terrifying to me. The thought of sending a query letter and the first chapter to agents makes me anxious as hell. It’s not the rejection that scares me as much as putting my work (and myself) out there.

Last week, I confronted my issues with vulnerability.

Continue reading

Monday Motivation: Plans for Amanda’s Nose in a Book

Monday Motivation: Blog Post Banner

It’s time for some Monday Motivation!

Monday can be hard, especially when you’ve just come out of a weekend that was much busier than you anticipated (pretty much every weekend when you’re an adult, right?). But it really doesn’t have to be. Not if you’re doing something you love. Making what you’re passionate about a career is something that so many people dream of, myself included. Monday Motivation is one thing that I want to bring to Amanda’s Nose in a Book at least once a month, to give you something that will motivate you to read, write, be creative, and do the things you love!

The past few years I have been trying to decide what to do with my career, with this blog, and just with what I want to do in general.

Amanda’s Nose in a Book has been pretty quiet. But it’s time to change that. I absolutely loved it when I was posting here regularly! It was fun,  I connected with other readers and writers, and met my two critique partners here.

I’ve decided to get “the fear” again (yes that is a friends reference) and use this space to combine my two passions: teaching and writing.

I’m an English teacher (currently a substitute) where I live. While subbing isn’t a bad job at all and I get to do something different every day, it’s not something that I am super passionate about. I love teaching. I love writing. And for a long time I’ve tried to find a way to combine the two.

In the upcoming months, there will be some huge and awesome changes to this site, and I will be starting so many other new endeavors.

Continue reading

Writing Wednesday: Preptober

Writing Wednesday: Preptober

Happy  Preptober!

What’s Preptober, you ask? Well it’s the best month in the whole year (October) and NaNoWriMo Prep time. Hence, Preptober!

It’s the time of year when those of us participating in NaNoWriMo start to brainstorm, to develop our ideas, to come up with Pinterest boards for inspiration (here’s mine).  If you’re a pantser, this might be all that you do, just come up with a vague idea for a story, the characters, etc.

If, like me, you like to plan a little bit more, Preptober is your best friend!

I love knowing my story’s premise before I start writing. Brainstorming is probably my favorite part of the planning process. I love how bits and pieces of things start to come together as I find connections.

Do you use a notebook, Word (Scrivener or Google Doc), or your phone to help you keep track of your growing ideas?

As you plan this October, you’re going to need a place to record your ideas (you don’t want to lose those. That’s the worst). So make sure you have a notebook or computer document of some sort where you can add to your story idea as you come up with more information. This is also helpful when you have many ideas and are trying to figure out which one you like the best (often that is the idea you have brainstormed the most about). Continue reading

Writing Wednesday: Starting a New Project

Writing Wednesday: Starting a New Project

So you finished your last writing project. What do you do now?

Starting a new project can be scary, especially when you’ve spent so long writing, revising, and editing a manuscript already.

How do you know when it’s time to let one project go, and put it out into the universe, and start another one? That’s a tricky question, and there is no “right” answer. You just know. Maybe you’ve decided that your current manuscript isn’t the one that you want to query with, maybe you’ve been in the query trenches for what feels like forever, maybe you have published already but are just waiting around to be struck by some sort of inspiration.

But if we want to have careers as writers, we need to write more than one thing. And there is no better time than the present to start a new project.

Even if you write just for the fun of it, the only way that you can grow and get better is to keep writing. As you look at a new, fresh (and very very blank) Word document, doubt and fear may rise up. Don’t let it.

Instead, allow this new project to take you on an adventure you’ve never been on before.

Allow this new project to fill your imagination with new characters, settings, conflicts, and stories. Imagine yourself as a character in your story and see where that takes you.

Let yourself play.

You’re in the beginning stages, the brainstorming stages of your project at the moment. It’s okay if you throw your main character into the most ridiculous place right off the bat. See what happens and embrace it!

Most importantly, have fun!

Whether you are a pantser, a planner, or some combination of the two, it’s important that you have fun and that you love your story. You won’t love it all the time, but try to enjoy your new story and your new world. Add elements that you love. Make it exciting for yourself.

Starting a new project is a fun and exciting time for a writer. Time to take that shiny new idea and run with it!

Like Amanda Sawyer- Author on Facebook
Find me on Instagram @amandasnoseinabook
Follow me on Twitter @amandamarie5187

What you can expect from Amanda’s Nose in a Book!

So in all honesty, I’ve been trying (and not trying) to get this blog back up and running for a while now. A friend suggested that I try a posting schedule to help me stay focused and organized, so I figured that would be a great way to get me posting and talking to all of you lovelies again! I’ve missed you!

Here’s my weekly schedule!

Monday

Mondays can be rough for people, so I’ve decided that Mondays will be a great day to start off the week with a book review, a book chat, or something fun and bookish. Let’s not hate Mondays together!

Tuesday

This is my day to share Top Ten lists. This might be a Top Ten Tuesday feature. Or it might be a list of my own making. Either way, this is a great day to find fun, new reads for yourself. Continue reading

Write 365- Day 2: Making a Plan

write 365 day 2: making a plan to write

If you’re just as in love with these journals as I am, you can find them at http://www.heyatlascreative.com/shop .

A few days ago, a friend mentioned that she was challenging herself to write every single day for an entire year.

And I thought, hey I can do that.

I should do that. I will at the very least try to write every single day for a year.

Since last November, I’ve been struggling to motivate myself to write. Last year was the first in 4 years that I didn’t win NaNoWriMo. I was depressed and couldn’t find that creative spark within myself. This year, I decided to rewrite my entire first novel as a young adult novel because the story worked better that way. The progress with that has been slow the last few months.

Write 365 might just be the thing to get my brain acclimated to writing every day, to accomplishing some words in a WIP every single day. And I understand that this may be hard, that there may be some days were the words just don’t flow. I’m prepared for that. I’m also prepared to not get myself down if there’s a day that I don’t write. Continue reading

You Can’t Always Get What You Want

About two years ago, I left my job as a receptionist and social media maven to pursue teaching.

Since I spent years studying education, I thought that it was time to put that to good use.

So I got the fear and put in my two week’s notice.

Since then, I’ve been substitute teaching in two districts around where I live and loving it. I teach nearly every day and had two long-term sub placements.

This summer, there were two job openings. Both in the districts where I work. I thought, score! This could be my chance!

So I worked on polishing up my resume and cover letter. I spent days making sure they were both stellar and even work shopped them with a friend. With my fingers crossed, I applied to both jobs very early in the summer. Continue reading

Camp NaNo Diary- Day 1- My Survival Kit

Hello and happy day 1 of Camp NaNoWriMo!

Are any of you struggling to get going today? I know that I was. I spent nearly one whole day this week going through the last draft of my novel and planning out what changes I wanted to make and what needed to stay the same. But when it came down to it this morning I looked at a blank Word document for a while before getting distracted by something else.

A few hours later I made myself come back to my computer. I made myself open up that new document. I looked over my notes, looked over where I left off in the previous chapter and started to write.

Once the words started flowing, I finally started to put that self doubt aside.

Continue reading