A letter to my “devout” relatives and friends– THERE IS NO WAR ON CHRISTMAS!

To all my devout relatives and others who believe in building a society of fear: I’m sick of this War on Christmas crap, I am seriously about to unfriend/unfollow people. Sorry, but I can’t take another Christmas of this. Yes, I am about to censor my relatives, here is why:

In the Unites States, Christmas became a Federal Holiday in 1870 since then it has won and continues to eat holidays in December, November. We barely care about Thanksgiving, except that it opens our way to Black Friday and Christmas Shopping. Though the US has citizens from every major religion, no other religious holiday is a US federal holiday. Winter Solstice, Chanukah, and Ramadan are NOT Federal Holidays so let’s show generosity of spirit and be good winners.

Just so everyone’s knows the US Federal Holidays are
New Year’s Day
Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Washington’s Birthday (Sometimes referred to as President’s Day)
Memorial Day
Independence Day
Labor Day
Columbus Day
Veterans Day
Thanksgiving Day
Christmas Day

Want more proof on the fake war on Christmas? Look around you.

Santa is in EVERY mall in the United States. Red and Green Bunting is everywhere. f you want to see a Nativity Scene, find a Christian church. While, yes, towns no longer sponsor Nativity Scenes–and I’d say that’s a good thing since we are supposed to have Freedom of Religion–plenty of churches have Nativity Scenes for the season.

Last weekend on the FoodNetwork, I watched Outrageous Christmas, not Outrageous Ramadan. (And I might not celebrate Ramadan, but I’d love a show about the traditions and food of their celebration) Last night, during RAW (WWE Professional Wrestling) Santa and elves showed up. During the breaks, I saw plenty of Christmas commercials, but no Chanukah commercials.

So if your biggest problem is that in certain instances you say to a general group of people “Happy Holidays” rather than “Merry Christmas,” you have no real problem!

Internet memes ignore the fact the USA is only 238 years old. Our traditions have changed with access to technology and mass media. Don’t believe that in Puritan New England that you could be fined for celebrating. Check out this link for more info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas_in_Puritan_New_England

Christmas hasn’t always even been celebrated on December 25th.

I could go on and on about how the holiday has changed in 200 years, but it is more important to explain what I think of The War on Christmas Memes”  However, here is a link to the history of Christmas in the US, please check it out! http://www.thehistoryofchristmas.com/ch/in_america.htm

This meme is three years old, but was on my Facebook Feed today:

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This is the WORST kind of meme. It tell people of other faiths to LEAVE. That’s is pretty damn un-Christian and un-Americam since our country was founded on Freedom of Religion. Jewish, Muslim, Wiccan, Hindi and Atheist citizens also live (and are *gasp* born) in this country. They have traditions too–some a lot older than America’s version of Christmas.

Please stop filling my Facebook and Twitter feed with this War on Christmas crap, instead show Christmas Goodness such as more pictures of your Christmas trees and cookie recipes and family togetherness…and you can say it’s a Christmas tree on your Facebook posts.
To get this started, I am reposting a picture of Rosie sleeping under my Christmas Tree which was originally posted on Twitter when I explained why I wasn’t #amwriting. IMG_20141126_171021

Where do your ideas come from? Five Ways to Stay Creative

People often ask me where my ideas come from. The short answer is everywhere. I am constantly bombarded with ideas from half heard phrases or stories in the news or silly things that I see. Once one lets the creativity flow, creativty doesn’t like to stop. However that doesn’t tell you how I got there. So here are Five Ways to Get and Stay Creative

1) Don’t be afraid to be a Beginner.
Adults often feel they need to be good at something immediately. When I went to a critique group, I’ve seen many first drafts of first books that suck. Sorry, but that’s the way it is. People get good at something with practice. To be a writer, you need to write. To be a painter, you need to paint. If your first attempts aren’t perfect, keep striving. You will get better.

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I hike with my pups to stay in shape and to relieve stress.

2) Keep your eyes on the process.
Organization helps on a long project such as a novel, a comic book series, or a series of paintings. Having a list, or even a loose outline, of each step can really make the difference between continuing on when it stops being fun, and stopping.

3) Exercise.
Being creative can be painful at times. Creative people open themselves and their work to the world. We want to support each other, yet work in a highly competitive field. Most of us make very little money, but we love it so we do it anyway. So if you are stuck, take a walk. Take care of yourself.

4) Experiment.
If you are stuck, try something new! In my latest project, I wrote a scene by scene outline between draft 2 and 3. Why? Because I could see a few minor points were missing and I needed to find them. Guess what? It worked.

In The Light Side of the Moon, the book began going slow. I needed to mix it  up. I wrote this crazy scene with the protagonist—which I don’t want to talk about since the book is in editing now— but that change is in the manuscript I sent my publisher. Every project has had surprises. Embrace them.

Cover Illustration for First Contact which you can read on Wattpad. It was written as an experiment and trying out Wattled was an experiment too.

Cover Illustration for First Contact which you can read on Wattpad. This short story was written as an experiment and trying it out Wattled was an experiment too.

5) Surround yourself with creative people within your field.
Attend conferences, book store and library events. Join a writing group. Find people to support you with friendship. It’s also important to point out, writers have writer friends so we don’t drive our non-writer friends crazy.

If you can’t find folks in real life, then write a blog. Join Twitter. Join an online group.

 What do you do to stay creative?

Long Road to Publication is more like a Dark Cave filled with Giant Boulders…and monsters don’t forget the monsters.

I’m walking down the path towards publishing my second novel, The Light Side of the Moon. I thought it was going to be easier this time–I was wrong.

Disclaimer: I am not trying to scare you. I did not publish this post during November, because I didn’t want to sound like I am attacking Nanowrimo, speed-writing, or anything that helps authors follow their dreams. However, after four self-published comics and a published novel and short story, I realized that the main attribute that makes or breaks an author is patience.

Here’s why:

Your first draft sucks. Now don’t feel bad, my first draft sucks. When he was alive, Ernest Hemingway’s first drafts sucked. firstdraft

For me, its the first few drafts that are shit. I’m not going to talk about my process today, but its a boulder that’s so big, it has false summits. Other Systems had seven distinct drafts, The Light Side of the Moon had five. My current project entitled The Grove has had two so far, but I know there is at least one more on its way. BTW This is all before professional editing.

Writing the novel is the easiest boulder. It’s big, rocky but with steady work eventually I get over it. So will you. Because whether you write the book or not, is completely within your control.

None of the next steps are within your control.

After I finish the book, I send it out into the world hoping it gets accepted somewhere. 48Fourteen has had manuscripts of mine from anywhere to two months to nine months. Other small publishers have been similar. Large publishers are even longer. I had a manuscript at Angry Robot for nine months before getting a rejection. I had sample chapters at Tor for seven also rejected. I get so many more rejections than acceptances. They don’t hurt anymore. I just list it on the manuscripts spreadsheet, if there is personalized feedback, I try to glean what I can from it–but that’s time.

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Skylight in Ape CavEven short story markets sometimes take months to hear back.

So if you want to be published, authors need to wait, learn patience.

After a traditionally published book is accepted, there is waiting–alot of time in the dark, not knowing what’s going on. I am happy people ask me about the book, but they really have no idea how long each part of publishing takes.

First of all, there is calendar issues. Every publisher has a calendar to get out their yearly catalog. So the publisher has to decide what makes sense for the title and put it in between other titles.

There’s also the cover art. This one isn’t as bad for me, since I do my artwork with 48Fourteen, however, I do need to wait for my cover lettering to be finalized.

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One of the abandoned tunnels at Iron Goat

Next boulder is editing. Right now, The Light Side of the Moon is getting edited. My publisher told me. This is a huge boulder that I have to climb over, cutting my hands in the rough crevices. Not because every word I write is gold, (that last sentence certainly wasn’t) but because I am curious what the editor will suggest. I want to get to work on making it a better book, I don’t know how long the editor will take. Every week I freak out a little more. I have to remind myself that the editor is a person with a life, she will finish it when she finishes it. And I need to stay chill, so she can do a great job.

Seeing your manuscript marked up the first time is pretty shocking. When I was going through Other Systems, I joked that it looked like a smurf died with all the comments. That being said, going through the process is the best thing for your writing.

People often ask, “Does it hurt when they touch your baby?”

Answer: “Not as much as you’d think.”

Truthfully, it doesn’t hurt at all. I don’t argue with my editor. I read their comments and unless I feel they are way off, or I don’t understand them, I get to work on the corrections or rewriting the passages. Only if the editor is way off, I argue. While editing does not hurt, WAITING does. The not knowing. I tend to start thinking weird thoughts. Computers exploding, stuff like that. The Boulder morphs into a monster. Maybe a stone golem or something.

Other Systems had two editorial passes, will The Light Side of the Moon? Who knows.

Then a book goes to formatting and actually become an ebook and a paperback.

Then the book gets released….and its still not over. We stumble around trying to sell it while we write our next book. We need to go slow and steady. We want to write with passion, while everyone tells us to get out our next book: now, now, now. Whether self-published or traditionally-published books sell is up to the whim of the readers. Will they like it? Will they find it compelling?

I can send out review copies, do interviews and go to conferences, but I can’t make people buy my book. I can’t make people read it. That is not in my control. What I can control is how I react to it. My goal is to respond with patience and persistence and to remember the long game. It boils down to the publishing of The Light Side of the Moon or any book is just another step in a career.

Who do you think you are? Well, I am Elizabeth Guizzetti.

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I might be a nobody, but wait…that’s me selling my books at Barnes&Noble

When someone says “Who do you think you are?”

They are actually implying that you are unimportant and your work is unimportant.

And when someone points out, “Well, you’re not [Enter name of best-selling author here]”

They are implying you can’t break the rules because you are a nobody.

There is only one answer to both of those questions:  I am author [insert your name here].

During the rewrite of The Light Side of the Moon, one of the comments that my editor made was that she rarely sees books over 40 chapters.  I admit I came close to mentioning that Other Systems had 46 chapters, but I didn’t want to be argumentative.

Later, I realized this year alone, almost every book I read was over 40 chapters. In fact most of them were over 100 chapters, but when I pointed this out to a friend:  I was reminded that I am not Dan Brown, Stephen King, or Joe Hill.

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Tell me I’m unimportant. Well I’ll go Kaiju. FYI I didn’t destroy Seattle, because I live here and can’t afford the drop in property values, but I’m coming for Bellevue.

 

It happened again when writing my back cover copy for The Light Side of the Moon, I showed some people in my writing group.  I had originally written it from Ellie’s point of view but that really didn’t show the expansiveness of the story.  I was reminded that the rules state that I should name a single main character.

I pointed out that Game of Thrones’s back cover copy that doesn’t name a single character. I was told I am not George RR Martin.

They’re right–I am none of those people. And if I ever forget,  my quarterly royalty checks brings me back to reality.

But tiny royalty checks doesn’t change who I am and how I identify myself in this world.

I am author and illustrator Elizabeth Guizzetti and Ha Ha! As if there are rules on the job that we do– at best, they are only loose guidelines

I write what I want to write just like the authors I mentioned above.  I don’t know how they became best-selling authors. Yes, they write great books. And yes, because they are best-sellers, their publishing houses spend more money on their marketing efforts.  And yes, that by selling movie options they became even better-selling best-selling author.

Besides that? I don’t know if they rubbed on a genie’s bottle or have a lucky rabbits foot and don’t write on Friday the 13th.

It doesn’t matter, their sales do not make me less of an author…and their sales don’t make you less or more of an author either.

I love my job.  Most weeks, I put in over 50 hours which means I made less than a penny an hour last year as an author, but I’m not the only author that makes pennies per hour.  It is estimated that an average’s salary for an author in America is less than $30,000 a year. Yes, there are the authors who win the author lottery,  but there’s a lot more of us who love writing and do it for very little money. Guess what? I’m still an author. I have one book published, and another under contract.

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Here is me and my author buddies Zachary Bonelli and Aubry K. Andersen at the Federal Way Library. We worked hard for this appearance and did awesome!

Writing advice for #NaNoWriMo folks and anyone else who ever wanted to write a book!

Since it is NaNoWriMo month, this is my best advice for anyone who wants to write a novel.

1) Write what you love.

There are two basic problems with writing for the market is that you limit yourself as a writer AND writing a saleable book and getting it published takes time. By the time you get your opus to market, the market has probably moved on.

 

2) Hard work trumps inspiration.

Inspiration is fickle. Hard work matters. I’m telling you, if you want to be an author only one thing matters: butt in chair and words on a page. Enough said.

 

3) Focus on the present.

Stop thinking about seeing your book on TV. Don’t look at previous triumphs and failures. They don’t matter anymore to your current project than your jerk of a sophomore English Teacher who said you can’t string two sentences together. Focus on the ‘right-now’ and the right now it is your job to put words on a page.

And once that novel is completed…

4) Face rejection/critiques like an ADULT.

We all face it. We all have ways to deal with it. Be sad, that’s natural, but realize after every rejection there is a next step. Take that step. And if you get rejection with personal feedback, read it closely. Is there something to be gleaned from this?

 

5) Face success like an ADULT.

Don’t shove your successes into other people’s face. Be humble, because another failure is just around the corner.  Marketing takes work–almost as much work as writing the damn thing. Anyone who says its easy is generally trying to sell you a book on how to market your book.

There is the myth of “If I just get my foot in the door…” It’s a myth. My second book The Martlet was rejected over 30 times. I thought once I was published the first time the next time it would be easier. Nope.

So good luck, and get writing, everyone!

And please feel free to add your own writing advice in the comments if you wish!

 

Release Day! Candace Knoebel’s Evernight Novel 2 in the Night Watchmen Series

Title

 

 

Candace

*The book contains adult content and is appropriate for ages 17+*

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Synopsis

AVAILABLE NOW!

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Excerpt

PEOPLE LIE. EVERY SINGLE DAY.

In fact, most of our world was built on the foundation of lies, some with the intent to serve the greater good, and others with the intent to serve one person’s giant ambitions. But the root of every lie is exactly the same. They’re all equally deceitful, treacherous propositions spewed from the mouths of men and woman alike.

Lies have the power to sound right, yet feel wrong. They have the ability to confuse your heart and twist your mind. The problem is, sometimes these lies become easier to believe than the truth. They become a sort of safety net from reality, a way to avoid what lingers in the back of your mind. And some say that over time, if you believe them long enough, they become real.

At least, that’s what my mother had hoped would happen in my case. But just like every lie ever told, all it takes is one small crack in that foundation for the whole thing to come crashing down.

And it did.

Because everything I thought I knew about myself was a lie. A beautiful and heartrending lie. I wasn’t the Defect my parents would regretfully see off to college before turning their backs on me. I wasn’t the weak friend who didn’t have enough backbone to stand up for what’s right, nor was I the loner without a purpose or a chance at real love. And I sure as hell wasn’t the weapon Bael and the members of the Darkyn Coven intended me to be.

But I am the weapon the Primeval Coven needs me be. Or so they keep saying.

In my Coven, there are two kinds of people: The Hunters and the Witches. They used to hate each other, even though they were on the same team, back in the old days when cars didn’t exist and time was tracked on a sundial. They hated each other so much that eventually a war was brought on by one of the original Witches—a Divine named Mourdyn.

The war was known as the Great Battle of the Covens. It was meant to wipe out the existence of every Hunter, and it devastated the population of my people, the Primevals. It annihilated the population of the Darkyns—the Witches who abandoned our Coven to follow the whims of Mourdyn and his persuasive lies.

But even though a lie can be struck down—imprisoned even—it can’t ever be fully erased. The scars it leaves behind on this earth and in our hearts are eternal, and somewhere along the way, someone will pick that lie back up and breathe life into it once more. Give it the wings it needs to rise again. Only, this time, that lie will be stronger, with an even greater purpose.

And that’s the part that scares me the most.

I glance down at my leg. The burn marks left behind from Bael’s wrath still tingle with echoes of the scorching fire he sent after me after I escaped with Weldon, reminding me that I’m nowhere near ready for the fight that’s sure to come.

And that has to change.

That’s part of why I agreed to come here to Ethryeal City—to the heart of our Coven. It’s where Hunters and Witches in an affinity bond enter as Night Watchmen and leave as Elites. Where those who have broken our Coven laws go to face the High Priesthood. Where those who need refuge… those like me… come to hide.

The only thing is, I never agreed to being separated from everyone I know. They call it debriefing, but with every day that passes, I’m beginning to wonder… to question how long it actually takes.

It’s been seven days and fourteen hours since my unfortunate and unplanned encounter with Bael—the Demon King of the Underground. In these last seven days, I’ve made more promises than I can count on two hands. And in those promises, I think I’ve told more lies than I ever have in my life.

Honesty seems to have slipped out of her bedroom from inside my integrity and, in her place, deceit has crept in with the offer of survival. If I just nod along with the many blending faces all interviewing me, then maybe somehow, I’ll make it out of this phase in my life alive. I’ll make it back into Jaxen’s arms and back into the graces of the friends I’ve come to trust.

But what deceit doesn’t offer is solace, because you can’t fool deceit. It knows every trick in the book.

Every day, twice a day, for the past four days, I’ve recounted in specific order how my friends and I nearly lost our lives in hopes that we’d gain an advantage on the Darkyn Coven and intercept them from taking the Dagger of Retribution. The one that has the power to initiate the removal of the Veil that separates the Underground and all its evil from the humans. The very Dagger that only I have the power to touch.

I’ve been singularly interviewed by every member on the Priesthood, and then by every general and Elder within the hierarchy of our Coven.

And I’m so very tired.

For the past four days, since I left the safe house beneath the church owned by the Night Watchmen, when I haven’t been in a laboratory undergoing strenuous testing, I’ve spent the remaining hours kept in a holding cell stripped of all personality. Chained down by claustrophobia. Shackled to the fears given free rein to destroy my hope.

I don’t have a home anymore. I have four white walls, one white jumpsuit, a white bed, white sheets… the color was bleached from my life the moment I crossed into the legendary Ethryeal City. I keep trying to remember the last time I saw Jaxen’s face, but my soul has fed so often on the happiness of that memory, I fear it’s disappearing. And I don’t know when I’m going to see him again.

They took everything away from me just to keep me repressed. Controlled. But what they don’t know is they cannot control what they do not own, and they do not own me. I can’t trust anyone. No one but myself, because all I know is I am more of a threat to them than I thought.

And the High Priesthood doesn’t know what to do with me.

About the Author

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RElease Day

The final fate of The Light Side of the Moon….

Good News!

The Light Side of the Moon’s rewrite and new artwork was accepted and will be published by 48Fourteen sometime in 2015! I signed the Publishing Agreement on Sunday. 

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Due to overpopulation, lack of natural resources, no public education, and a surplus of political bickering, Earth is a cesspool and our solar system’s  colonies have failed. Nevertheless, outside our solar system, exploration has thrived.

Encouraged by the conquest of Kipos, idealistic dreamers look beyond Earth to build a utopia from the abandoned Lunar Colony Serenitatis. Industrialists reconstruct the colony, but struggle to turn a profit while encouraging scientific discovery.

Brimming with hope amid intense uncertainty and physical hardships, the excommunicated eleven-year-old child bride Ella follows rumors of plentiful jobs on the moon. On roads fraught with danger, she discovers Earth is a bigger place than she ever knew. Lunar Colony Serenitatis is little more than a prison colony. Ella forges unlikely friendships with corrupted androids and the idealistic prison doctor, Ian Whitlatch, who champions equality and rights for inmates. Amid riots and corruption, tragedy and victory, the fate of the colony hangs perilously in the balance.

The editor loved the artwork, but wanted the lettering changed on the cover once these details are nailed down, I’ll be scheduling a cover reveal soon.

Websites

http://elizabethguizzetti.com

http://other-systems.com

Facebook Page

http://www.facebook.com/Elizabeth.Guizzetti.Author

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