Assignment: Jailed Innocence

The Master Class has returned! Every week, I will introduce you to three prompts. Choose one (or more), write about it, link up, and move to the head of the class like these authors: Tara, John, and Tessa. It’s that simple.

The rules:

  1. Read the prompts.
  2. Write a story answering the prompt. This can mean you use the prompt as your title, somewhere in your story, or as the idea.
  3. Please share the prompt you chose.
  4. Share the url to your story in the comments OR, if you don’t have your own blog, share your story in the comments. Either way, it will be promoted.
  5. Please keep your stories pg-13 or under since this is a public page. Add trigger warnings where necessary. Keep vulgarity to a minimum.
  6. Think outside the box. These prompts are meant to challenge you.
  7. Have FUN!

Your prompts for this week:

 

All assignments are due by Sunday, February 26, 2017 at 11:59 pm. How will your muse inspire you?

Move to the head of the class with one of these #writingprompts. #amwriting #MCprompt Click To Tweet

Author Andy Peloquin

Not only is Andy Peloquin one of our monthly columnists, but he’s also an author and vlogger. Check out his YouTube page to see his panels in action.

Name: Andy Peloquin
Latest Release: The Last Bucelarii (Book 2): Lament of the Fallen
Genre: Dark fantasy/grimdark
Email: andy.peloquin@gmail.com

Andy Peloquin–a third culture kid to the core–has loved to read since before he could remember. Sherlock Holmes, the Phantom of the Opera, and Father Brown are just a few of the books that ensnared his imagination as a child.

When he discovered science fiction and fantasy through the pages of writers like Edgar Rice Burroughs, J.R.R Tolkien, and Orson Scott Card, he was immediately hooked and hasn’t looked back since.

Reading—and now writing—is his favorite escape, and it provides him an outlet for his innate creativity. He is an artist; words are his palette.

Links: Amazon | Website | Twitter  | Facebook | YouTube

  1. How long have you been writing?

I’ve been writing for close to three years now. I started out writing graphic novel scripts, but quickly branched out into full-length novels. In fact, I could ONLY write full-length works (90k+ words) until this year, when I forayed into short stories.

  1. What kind(s) of writing do you do?

My writing is a bit dark on the surface. It deals with themes like death, loss, violence, murder, betrayal, and the underside of human nature. My stories look at neurological, emotional, and psychological disorders and how they can create monsters from normal people. All of this is presented through the lens of a fantasy world, making these dark concepts even more fascinating for readers!

  1. What are your goals as a writer, both small and large?

My goal is to tell a story that is as real and identifiable as it is fantastic and fictional. You may not think you can identify with a half-demon assassin, but when you realize that he is dealing with “everyman” emotions like the fear of loss, a desire to find his place, and a war with his inner demons, the characters become VERY real. My desire is to bring these stories to life in a way that everyone can relate to them. Of course, being able to tell them in the form of fantasy makes them so much more enjoyable to read.

  1. What inspires you?

I’m a creative person by nature. My mind is always looking for ways to make new and unusual connections between seemingly ordinary things. I’m inspired to tell stories that will showcase how even the simplest of things can have a huge effect on the world around us.

  1. Have you ever fallen in love with a character? Tell us about this romance.

I wouldn’t say “fallen in love”, but I will say that I have no end of fun writing about a bad-ass half-demon killer. Who wouldn’t have a hell of a time telling the story of a near-immortal killer who can pretty much do whatever he wants?

  1. How do you find or make time to write?

Thankfully, I’ve progressed in my career as a freelance copywriter to the point where I can get my work done in the morning. That frees up an hour or so in the afternoon (between chauffeuring my children) to write. I get about 10 hours of writing time per week, at the moment.

  1. Do you write more by logic or intuition, or some combination of the two? Summarize your writing process.

I’ll usually have a story very well thought-out before I sit down to write. I always leave plenty of room for creativity and intuition, but I like to be fairly organized. I won’t have a complete draft of the story–simply a rough outline of where I want it to go. As I write, the details flesh themselves out, so I never have to worry about what comes next.

  1. Who would play you in your life story?

I’d say my personal life story (right now, at least) would be one of the most boring movies ever! Like many writers, it’s an endless struggle (albeit a quiet one) to find the balance between work and life. I’d much rather a movie about my characters!

  1. What projects are you working on at the moment?

I’ve submitted the third book in my half-demon assassin series (The Last Bucelarii) to the publisher, so I’m working to get through the fourth book before starting work on the fifth. However, I’ve just signed a three-book contract for another trilogy–one set in the same world, with the same dark tones, but following a girl sold to the Thieves’ Guild of her city. I need to write two more books before the end of 2017, so that will be consuming most of my time and attention for the immediate future.

  1. What process did you go through to get your work published?

I self-published a book (In the Days: A Tale of the Forgotten Continent) in early 2014, and through that process I realized that I need a team of beta readers, editors, proofreaders, and formatters to help me make my books as good as possible. When writing The Last Bucelarii (Book 1): Blade of the Destroyer, I had it in my mind that I was going to search for a publisher. I finished the book, had it professionally edited and formatted, and had a big book launch in place before I started shopping around for a publisher. All that gave me better leverage, and increased my chances of finding a publisher–which I did, in early 2015.

  1. What is the hardest part of writing for you?

Not having enough time. I wish I could spend more time on it, but it’s a fight to maintain that work-life balance. So I’ve had to limit myself to a certain amount of time so my other important life elements (exercise, kids, etc.) don’t get pushed too far aside. I wish I could spend all day creating and telling stories, but for now, I treasure the time I get.

  1. What do you enjoy most about writing? Share your favorite work.

I love being able to create anything I want! Writing fantasy means I get to create the rules to follow. I can make my characters do anything and go anywhere–all I have to do is dream it up. For me, that’s what makes fantasy the genre of choice.

  1. If you could have any fictional character(s), living or dead, on your survival team after an apocalypse, who would you choose and why?


The Hunter. He may not be much of a team player, but he’s one hell of an ally. Immortal, can heal from anything, susceptible only to iron, he’s pretty much the best protector around.

  1. Which actors would you choose to play the main characters in your story?

I’ve had a hard time thinking who I’d want to play the Hunter in a movie or TV show. He would need to be a serious, somber actor, one with a few years on him. A Jeffrey Dean Morgan type could be good.

  1. What is your favorite escape from day to day living?

Writing. There’s nothing that makes me happier than sitting at my desk with a cup of coffee, a good story line, and an hour or two with nothing to do but bring that story to life!

  1. What are some ways in which you promote your writing? Do you find that these add or detract from your writing time?

I’ve started using Twitter and Facebook more, as well as recording virtual discussion panels to YouTube. They do take up a bit of time, but they’re a lot of fun. Plus, people seem to enjoy them, and I love talking to people.

  1. Who are some of your favorite authors? What impact have they had on your writing?

I’d have to say my two favorite authors are Brandon Sanderson and Scott Lynch. I try to make my characters as intriguing and complex as Scott Lynch, while emulating the writing standard of Brandon Sanderson.

  1. Do you know the secret to originality in writing? Would you share it?

I wouldn’t say there is any ONE secret. However, I will say that telling a story from a new angle is always a great way to go. For example, my The Last Bucelarii series is told from the perspective of a half-demon assassin. Not many books that feature that kind of character as the protagonist (not hero, anti-hero).

  1. What are you currently reading? 

I’m just getting to the end of the last Safehold book by David Weber. Think historical fiction, fantasy, and sci-fi all rolled into one glorious series! I’m also reading a book called Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook by Gary Vaynerchuk. It’s a book on how to be smart with social media and marketing. AMAZING stuff!

  1. What do you think is the future of reading/writing?

I think (and hope) that reading becomes the “cool” thing to do once more. I haven’t played a video game in the last six months because I’m so addicted to both reading and writing. That’s a very strong departure from character for me, but it’s been wonderful to dive headlong into the written word. I believe more and more people will join in the addiction.

Thank you for your time and great answers, Andy! We wish you much success on your writing.

Telling a #story from a new angle is always a great way to go. @andypeloquin @interview… Click To Tweet

A Guide to Facebook Author Takeovers

Whether you have published a book or not, there are still many ways you can begin self-branding on Facebook. One of the easiest ways is through Author Takeovers. Let me clarify, an author takeover is not the same as an event. One is a networking tool, the other is a marketing tool. In brief, Facebook takeovers are great tools for building your fanbase, gaining readers, and getting your name out there. You don’t even have to be published yet to do one. On the other hand, a Facebook event is a marketing tool to bring awareness to your new book and create sales. Since I am huge at networking, let’s talk about successful Facebook author takeovers.

Where to Find Them

author takeoversThe first step really is networking. Join author groups, look for “event” groups and join them. Turn notifications on so you know when people are hosting events and providing author slots you can claim. After you do a couple, and make connections, people should be inviting you to events. The more you attend and participate in, the more readers and authors you meet. I’ve offered a few good places below where you can find connections to author takeover slots and events:

WFW Marketing Group (This is a women’s only group sprung from their very popular Women Fiction Writers group.)

Indie Author Connection

Author Promo Support Group

Author and Book Events

Quill & Ink Book Tours (this is a company who caters to paid promotion for authors, so they always have free events and author signups going on.)

How to Plan Them

Now you’re set up to start building your readership. You’ve signed up for a few takeovers and it hits you: you have NO.IDEA.WHAT.TO.DO. Don’t panic! I got you covered!

author takeoverBefore following any of these steps, you should attend a few events that interest you to learn how it works.

  • Stop in the event early and watch what others are doing.
  • Share the event and invite people to it before your time slot arrives. You can add it to your author Facebook page as an event also.
  • Open a fresh doc and start planning what you’ll post. This saves you time so you can interact and connect with attendees during your time slot.
  • Open a second tab to the event and work back and forth between them to set your posts up without stressing yourself out.
  • Put all your images in one file so they are ready at a click.
  • Use online tools like Picmonkey and Canva to create images and graphics specifically for you and your book. Teasers are a great promotional tool for gaining readers for books not released yet. They are simple to create, just choose a favorite quote from your story and make an image with it.
  • Look for fun quizzes, games, and memes to share during your slot so it’s not all business. The more fun you create during your slot, the more people will want to attend your takeovers. *You also don’t want to be known as a “spammer” sharing nothing but buy links and promos.
  • Offer to answer questions. Start conversations by inviting them to share something about themselves and respond with a comment of your own. People love learning random facts about authors.
  • Get all the facts about the event beforehand. Know when you should start and when to stop, and if you need to introduce the next person.
  • Share your social media links.
  • If you aren’t published yet, you could share a popular post from your blog or instagram.
  • Be confident, be honest, be real, and be yourself. You are the brand and your book is your product.
  • Toss them one last tidbit with your final post and make sure you thank your host for the time.
You are the brand & your #book is the product. Be confident. #author #takeovers #networking… Click To Tweet

Every time I do an author takeover, I learn something new. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t get it right at first. Like anything else, it takes practice. The best tip I can offer you is to participate in the event beyond your author slot. When you interact with the other authors in the event, you’re telling them you care about their work as much as your own. This will leave a lasting impression, and soon you’ll have more invitations rolling in than you have time to do!

Have you done an author takeover? Share your own tips and tricks in the comments.

*Edited post to add this advice from another reader.

Assignment: Anxious Peace

The Master Class has returned! Every week, I will introduce you to three prompts. Choose one, write about it, link up, and move to the head of the class. It’s that simple.

The rules:

  1. Read the prompts.
  2. Write a story answering the prompt. This can mean you use the prompt as your title, somewhere in your story, or as the idea.
  3. Please share the prompt you chose.
  4. Share the url to your story in the comments OR, if you don’t have your own blog, share your story in the comments. Either way, it will be promoted.
  5. Please keep your stories pg-13 or under since this is a public page. Add trigger warnings where necessary. Keep vulgarity to a minimum.
  6. Think outside the box. These prompts are meant to challenge you.
  7. Have FUN!

Your prompts for this week:

 

All assignments are due by Sunday, February 19, 2017 at 11:59 pm. How will your muse inspire you?

Be sure to read last week’s responses by John and Tara!

Move to the head of the class with one of these #writing #prompts. #amwriting #MCprompt Click To Tweet
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