Beauty of Fear-Trailer

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Goals and LIBCON 2015

So yesterday was a very full and satisfying day for me.  Yesterday I was privileged to attend the final  Belt test for our Black Belt candidates.

I was happy to see how many students were taking the test and how hard they worked to get there, but I was in for an unexpected surprise. While greeting families and their students at the door I was approached by father who asked if I remembered him.  Now, I'm terrible with names but great with faces, so yes, I recognized him but I couldn't place him.  Turns out, he remembered me as his son Henry's first instructor in Virginia. It suddenly clicked.  I knew who they were and who Henry was.  He proceeded to tell me that Henry never forgot the words I told him and the rest of my white belt class. "A Black Belt is just a White Belt who never quit."
I was blown away to say the least.  When I saw Henry he looked exactly the same just a little taller.  Dad also told me that he had the first board that Henry ever broke with me hanging up in his bar. Now that tickled me.

When the testing was over, they asked if I would take a picture with Henry which of course I agreed to but was then surprised again, when Dad pulled out Henry's first board for him to hold.  There was the picture I had drawn on it to help him focus on his break. Wow...

I sometimes question my decision to become a martial arts instructor, but in that moment it was all so worth it.
So, fast-forward.  This all began at 7:00am  by noon, we were done and I raced downtown to attend LIBCON 2015 OCLS at the Orlando Public Library. 

There were panels and authors and books galore.  As a writer and of course avid reader, I admit, I was drooling. Anyway, I digress. I missed the Keynote talk by Rick Yancey which I was a bit miffed about but I was still at the Black Belt test, sigh... Enough lamenting, I ended up attending 3 panels and learned so much.  A shout out to the YAChicks their presentation was great and I've included a link to their site so that others can benefit from their wisdom and whimsy.

The Writer Panel:So you want to write a book, was quite insightful since on the panel was a writer who also happened to be an agent, with The Knight Agency, Ms Diver was quite gracious and when I met her downstairs to buy her book, Bad Blood, we spoke briefly and I asked if she accepted unsolicited queries. She gave me her card and suggested I check out the website which I was definitely excited to do and then as she is signing my book she asks the question: "So, what is your book about?" I froze, I realized I had worked on my little schpiel for my other works but hadn't done any practicing on this one, so, I stuttered and rambled and left her shaking my head thinking about what an idiot I am. D'oh!

I continued walking around looking at the various books and came upon one of the YAChicks, Christina Farley. She recognized me and we spoke and I told her what had just happened.  She laughed but was very supportive, telling me a story of her own.  Made me feel better.  I bought her first book, GILDED which I was going to purchase anyway (come on, the main character is a black belt) and thanked her.

On to the YA Highway reader panel which was also a good source for writers and readers alike. They spoke about what inspires, moves and motivates a story as well as how important the readers are in comparison to the story's protagonist. These folks were welcoming and knowledgeable.  As a writer just trying to break into the YA market I realized I did need to read a bit more, much more (though my family would say I read to much)

I finally wrapped up my day and headed home to rest (hurt my leg at testing), to read, and to write.  Well, I did the first two but not the last one. I started reading Gilded and couldn't put it down. I finished it a couple of hours later.  I've already started Bad Blood and am enjoying the differences in them. I've now ordered Farley's second title Silvern and can't wait to read that as well.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that the day was an inspiration to me as I hope it was to other authors and readers who attended. Your local library will usually have similar events for readers and writers alike, take advantage of them.
As for me, I'm actually presenting a little thing called getting your Black Belt in Writing on July 15th at the Central Library. You can see all of the OCLS Writer Programs for July here: Writer's Corner-July 2015

I will also be a signing author at Indie Bookfest 2015, gulp...If you're in the area, come check it out it should be a wonderful reader and writer event.

As always, thanks for reading.

L.E Perez

Friday, June 19, 2015

Black Belt in Writing-Part 3

I started this topic more than a year ago, with my last blog in this series on February 1, 2014. Wow, it's been quite a while hasn't it?  But that makes sense when you think about it because earning a black belt takes time and whole lot of patience. So, just for a bit of review, let's check out our belt ranks again, shall we?

White Belt= ideas bouncing around your head, what to do, what to do...
Yellow Belt=a notebook!  write those ideas down girl or guy...
Orange Belt= These ideas are all over the place but at least they are in one book...
Green Belt=We have a theme! Now to get these ideas sorted...
Purple Belt=I have the meat, but where are the potatoes?
Blue Belt=Slicing and dicing...these characters are starting to seem real...
Red Belt=Backstory?  What the heck is backstory?
Brown Belt=It has a flow!  It actually makes sense as I read it...
Brown/Black or Red/Black=Review, edit,, edit, read...
Black Belt=ready to publish!  Self pub or not, either way you are ready...SUBMIT!
Higher Black Belt Degrees=ALL OF THE ABOVE, all the time...(King, Rowling, Patterson, Cornwell, you get the idea)

Remember, the different belt levels are as I perceive them and are of course open to interpretation. 

So what do you do when you feel stuck in a given level? Do you try another direction, a different idea? 
There are ideals in martial arts that are pretty much universal. One ideal that speaks to the heart of any writer is the ideal of PERSEVERANCE. 

As writers, learn to live that word. We push on through the writer's block, through the mistakenly deleted files, through the crashed hard drive, through the dog eating your notebook. We overcome and persevere because the story lives inside you. 
Granted, as a Beginner-you might lose it a bit when something like that happens to you. I know I did. I lost four of the most emotional, angst ridden pages I had ever written. I thought I was going to lose it. Yup, the person I got miffed with would probably say that I did but I say nah...

I rewrote and worked in the feeling of loss I was personally feeling in that moment and guess what, it worked.

As an Intermediate level writer (based on the belt ranks again), it still hurts when something like that happens, but you deal with it better. You've learned perseverance. You work that newly found strength into your writing. Your protagonist has a strength you didn't know they had.  Your antagonist, a significant chink in their armor.  Every time you persevere your writing gets better.

So as an Intermediate belt, how are you feeling about your work? Are you happy with it? Does it speak to you, or do you suddenly realize that what you are currently writing is infinitely better written than what you initially wrote as a beginner.

Just as with Martial Arts, we practice the same things over and over which just makes us better.  That ugly kick you had as a yellow belt is positively magical as a blue belt. Imagine what you can do with it when you're a black belt. 

So what am I trying to say with all this? Just this: effort = results
The more you work at it the better you become and at each writing level you expand your knowledge and hone your craft just that much more.

As I said previously, when you go from practicing lets say Karate to practicing Jujitsu, you start as a white belt again.  You may progress through the ranks more quickly than before but you still start from the beginning.  Now using the jujitsu analogy is an interesting one.  They generally have less belts though they do offer progress stripes as you unlock/master the next level in your training.  The same is true with writing.  The idea of writing is the same, but a different genre?  How do you go from pure romance to science fiction, or from paranormal to crime drama?  By going back to the beginning.

My suggestion/advice. Read, write, ask questions, listen to conversations, eavesdrop on arguments, research the science you are writing about, outline and flesh out the world you are creating. Leave no stone unturned, just remember though that with each new novel, short story, novelette or poem, you're back to white belt again.

Keep in mind that it is entirely possible and probable that you will be an orange belt while writing your mystery novel and a red belt writing your short story.  Try to keep them straight and remember that writing is very much a juggling act as ideas fight to get written and acted upon by you the writer.
Yep, that's me.  L.E.Perez

Friday, June 12, 2015

Where has the year gone?

If you are anything like me, you woke up the other day and realized, "OMG! Half the year is gone...never to return...(can you hear the violins?) Yeah, okay so maybe you weren't that dramatic but it did suddenly hit you didn't it?

So, what were your plans for 2015.  I had tons and I'm almost afraid to read back through my posts because I've probably fallen short in some areas, but who hasn't?  Hakuna Matata, that's right folks, no worries, all this means is that there is still half a year to go!  So much to do, so little time...

Have you started writing your book? If not, ask yourself why?  Whose permission are you waiting for?

If you have started and you're a bit stuck, like I was, you realize there comes a time when you just have to wallow in the mud a bit, catch your breath, get your bearings and then muscle the heck through!  That's right, don't let that muckety muck hold you back. Just "keep moving forward". (I'm on a Disney kick, bear with me.

Once you've made sure your muse is back from vacay, don't let those thoughts and ideas just sit in your head and heart.  WRITE THEM DOWN! Use your smartphone, your iPad, your laptop, a brown paper bag and pencil, who cares just get those thoughts out before they just "poof!" disappear like so much fairy dust (see, Disney...)

I've written on napkins at a restaurant, on a brown paper bag, on tissue paper, heck even on my hand, just to not lose that idea. Remember it's those ideas that make the best stories, the ones that take on a life of their own if you let them.

And finally, yes, I've dropped the ball on blogging lately but since we are half way through the year I am making my mid year resolution! Post at least once a week. Even if just to say hello. The only thing is I need you all to keep me accountable.  Can you help this poor writer stay on track?  I promise to reciprocate and give you all a kick in the- oops- a gentle nudge in the right direction.

What say you??

As for some general updates, let's see...hmmm....Ooh!

  • I've lost 10 pounds!
  • I'll be giving a presentation at the Orlando Central Library on Wednesday July 15th @ 6:30pm-Topic: Getting your Black Belt in Writing
  • I'll be attending Indie Bookfest from July 31-Aug 2nd @ Orlando's Caribe Royal Hotel along with a bunch of amazing authors. (sooooo nervous)

  • And my goal is to have book one in the Tempus Series and Book two in the Fear series completed before year's end.
Shoot, that's a lot, oh well...