Prism Book Alliance® would like to thank Karen Bovenmyer for stopping by today. Please give them a warm welcome.
Title: Swift for the Sun
Author: Karen Bovenmyer
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Anna Sikorska
Release Date: 03/27/2017
Benjamin Lector imagines himself a smuggler, a gun runner, and an all-around scoundrel. A preacher’s son turned criminal, first and foremost, he is a survivor.
When Benjamin is shipwrecked on Dread Island, fortune sends an unlikely savior—a blond savage who is everything Benjamin didn’t know he needed. Falling in love with Sun is easy. But pirates have come looking for the remains of Benjamin’s cargo, and they find their former slave, Sun, instead.
Held captive by the pirates, Benjamin learns the depths of Sun’s past and the horrors he endured and was forced to perpetrate. Together, they must not only escape, but prevent a shipment of weapons from making its way to rebellious colonists. Benjamin is determined to save the man he loves and ensure that a peaceful future together is never threatened again. To succeed might require the unthinkable—an altruistic sacrifice.
Ten things I wish I had known before becoming a published author
The list below is unique to me—I majored in creative writing for both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree, but then took about a decade “off” from school before going back for my MFA. During that time, I attended dozens of writing conferences and drafted eight novels, trying to learn what I needed to know to be a published author—without publishing a thing. I didn’t start submitting work until after I earned my MFA, and here are the ten things I know in my forties that I wish I’d known in my twenties.
- Networking doesn’t have to be lame and awkward. After I figured out how to relax and just have fun at conferences, enjoying people and giving and taking advice, chatting not only about writing but also about other passions (games, Star Wars, sewing) I had a lot more success networking. Once I built real mutual friendships, life-changing opportunities followed and helped me learn the skills I use every day to create, edit, and send out more work.
- Working with an editor on a book is incredibly fun and rewarding. I was afraid when I sold SWIFT FOR THE SUN because I’d struggled so much editing my novels on my own—I thought editing would be the WORST. Boy was I wrong. Working back and forth with Desi Chapman from Dreamspinner has been one of the highlights of my writing life.
- Fear really is your worst enemy. As soon as I stopped letting fear dictate my actions, I started to succeed. It was kind of eerie, really. Give up my fear and send something out, and then someone buys it?!? Inconceivable! Such magic! So amaze! Definitely should have figured that one out quicker…
- Getting rejected by one editor does not mean you, your body of work, or even that story, is unpublishable. I’ve sold stories rejected from no pay or royalties-only market to pro-markets with very little editing. Send your stuff out there. If the story feels done and good to you, send it (and don’t let #3 stop you).
- Conferences are great, but don’t produce lasting learning like a class does. I know I absorbed some things from listening in the crowd, but I learn a heck of a lot more about writing by participating in a class with homework and accountability. I highly recommend the Iowa Writers’ Workshop MOOCs and, of course, earning my MFA from Stonecoast was the single best decision I’ve ever made.
- There ain’t no school like the school of hard knocks. My best teacher is writing for a specific target—reading a magazine/publisher and understanding their aesthetic, talking with/reading about editors and learning their tastes. Then melding, picking, and choosing those hints of desire with the things I’m personally passionate about has been quite fruitful. I explore intersections between what I want to write about and what I think others are interested in, entering a “conversation” with other published work, and writing stories that go all the way and don’t pull punches. The key was to just jump in—do your best, learn from every piece, and keep writing.
- Writing/mental health is linked to physical health. If I don’t get my ten thousand steps in a day, my eight(ish) hours of sleep, or my balanced meals, I simply am not as efficient or inspired. I didn’t really understand that connection until I started making health a priority. Lots of different things have helped me toward publication, but figuring out how to live in a healthy way is absolutely linked to the productivity and quality of my work.
- There’s a trick around almost every block. I don’t only mean writer’s block for particular stories, I also mean fear blocks, productivity blocks, and health blocks. Find out what motivates you and what de-motivates you and put whatever supports in place to get going. I’m extrinsically motivated and a little competitive. I use writing buddies, critique groups, and deadlines with people I love to keep myself accountable and productive.
- Other people make me write, but I have to arrange that pressure. Writers tend to be introverts and everyone’s so very busy. Don’t completely rely on other people to extrinsically motivate you. When people start to drift off or get busy, reach out and let others know you’ve stopped writing and you need some support, or arrange structured writing events to help jumpstart others too.
- Do not read reviews of your novel. Don’t do it. Just don’t. That way lies madness. I’ve learned a lot from reading reviews of my short fiction and poetry, but there is something special about the novel… some little piece of my heart and soul out in the world wrapped up in my self concept. I read an early review for SWIFT FOR THE SUN just a few days ago, and even though the review was positive, I found myself scattered and jittery and unable to write for an entire evening, even though I had another deadline. I should have listened to the many published friends who cautioned me not to.
As I said above, many of these are probably unique only to me, but the real message is a simple one. Find out what motivates you, what supports your learning, writing, sending things out, and slowly reformat your life to include more of those things and less of the things that demotivate you. Hate cooking? Eat out (or cook simply/quickly). Hate cleaning? Hire a maid (or lower your standards). Need total peace and quiet to write? Rent a studio workspace outside the home (or the “quiet zone” of a university library). Whatever it is that makes you tick, your primary goal is to research it, and then subvert your blocks and get going. My very best wishes to you on your journey.
What book or movie to you go to for comfort or inspiration when life’s got you down? Post the title in the comments section and one lucky person will win an ebook copy of my book.
About the Author
Karen Bovenmyer earned an MFA in Creative Writing: Popular Fiction from the University of Southern Maine. She teaches and mentors students at Iowa State University and serves as the Nonfiction Assistant Editor of Escape Artists’ Mothership Zeta Magazine. She is the 2016 recipient of the Horror Writers Association Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Scholarship. Her poems, short stories and novellas appear in more than 40 publications and her first novel, SWIFT FOR THE SUN, an LGBT romantic adventure in 1820s Caribbean, will be available from Dreamspinner Press on March 27, 2017. http://karenbovenmyer.com/
March 20 – MM Good Book Reviews
March 24 – Open Skye Book Reviews
March 24 – Prism Book Alliance
March 27 – Love Bytes
March 28 – Tammy’s Two Cents
March 29 – My Fiction Nook
March 30 – Alpha Book Reviews
March 31 – Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
April 3 – On Top Down Under
April 4 – Boy Meets Boy
April 5 – Kimi-chan Experience
April 6 – Two Chicks Obsessed
April 7 – Dreamspinner Press Blog
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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