Tag Archives: Writer Zen Garden
First Friday Lunch – Writing Process
AuThursday – Brian Barr
Please welcome Brian Barr to The Clog Blog, who like me is a member of Writer Zen Garden. Brian, can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I’m an author of speculative fiction: science-fiction, fantasy, and horror primarily. I write novels, short stories, and comic books. The first novel of my Carolina Daemonic series, Book I: Confederate Shadows, was released in 2015, followed by Book II: Rebel Hell last year and Book 0: The Daemonic Civil War this year. I co-created and co-wrote the comic series Empress with Chuck Amadori in 2014, drawn by Sullivan Suad and Zilson Costa, which I would love to resurrect after we can garner more interest and possibly get a comic publisher behind. So far, my most-read books have been The 3 H’s Trilogy, which starts with The Head.
What draws you to the genres that you write in?
I’ve always loved speculative fiction since I was a kid. I grew up in a household where Stephen King, John Saul, and Dean Koontz were on the shelves. By the time I got into Clive Barker as a teenager, I knew the main type of fiction I wanted to write- dark fiction with a mix of the bizarre. When it comes to science-fiction, I’ve always leaned towards cyberpunk since I watched Katsuhiro Otomo’s Akira, which is one of my favorite stories.
I’m almost scared to ask but, where do your ideas come from?
Dreams, my life, and out of nowhere. I believe in writing what you know and what you’re passionate about, but my best ideas will just come when I least expect them.
How did you deal with Rejection Letters if you received any?
I submit to other places or publish the works myself. Rejection letters can be helpful when the editors tell you the things you could work on to improve the story, even if they liked them. I’ve had editors who rejected my stories but asked me to change a few things, then accepted them. I’ve had other stories that had been rejected by other houses by accepted by others. So I’d tell any writer not to get bummed about rejections- it doesn’t mean that your work isn’t good or that you’re an inept writer; most of the time, a work doesn’t fit an anthology or publisher and there are always other places where you can submit.
What are your current projects?
I’m writing the last Carolina Daemonic novel, Book III: Union. Be on the lookout for it! I’m also planning on writing some more short stories, including a sequel to my short story Hover.
How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
I’ve become more aware of what I like to write, how I like to write it, and which audiences work best for me.
Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?
Amazon is the main place you can find my works, but I’m also on Barnes and Noble, Comixology for Empress, and other book retailers.
Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?
Sure! Here’s an excerpt from my Carolina Daemonic series:
Many final scenes and memories flashed in Zev’s spiritual sight, as he slowly rose from his induced coma; his hands ripping at the cocoon of chaotically pulsing skin and tissue wrapped around him. He could remember the feel of the amulets on his neck and in his hands, the summoning of great golems sweeping the Southern landscape, disguised as Union soldiers with Hebrew letters on their foreheads, giving each earth-made man their own name and number.
Figures formed from American dirt and clay rose from the earth, wearing blue uniforms and carrying guns of their own, while the South played the hand with its own collected brand of zombie soldiers. The dead and the supernaturally conceived blended in well with the horrors of war, fighting alongside their human comrades; farms burnt to ash, slaughtered civilians rested in mud pits, and along dirt roads.
I had been commissioned, the rabbi’s son remembered, commissioned, and given asylum.
Back in the President’s office, in hidden rooms behind brothels, in the homes and tents of generals… everything was coming back in flashes, in stretched moments of time. Zev had sat in backrooms with war strategists, watched them draw up maps of Gettysburg, Appomattox, Yorktown, and New Orleans. A usually drunk Ulysses S. Grant had offered the magician a swig of liquor and scowled when it was politely refused. Zev had drawn up his own images to show the generals that had hired his services, explaining the intricacies of the Etz HaChaim, the powers of the Melakhim… most of the time, the men offered blank stares to the rabbi’s son, but none of them thought he was crazy. They knew of his great reputation, and they had already seen his powers on the open field, along with the other occultists they had a pleasure to work with.”
First Friday Lunch
First Friday Lunch
Come Visit me at Writer Zen Garden
I’m over at Writer Zen Garden finishing up the second to last #atoz challenge post. If you haven’t read these come over and browse. And if you are looking for a writing group to join. Check out the tabs above. We’d love to share your writing journey.
First Friday Lunch – The ABC’s of Business in Writing
First Friday Lunch – Community
Here is the First Friday Lunch for February
Writer Wednesday – Find your tribe
On my writing journey, I know I would not be where I am today without the tribe of writers around me.
Having a supportive partner and family is important too, and I’m fortunate to have that as well.
But when I write myself into a corner, cuz I’m a pantser and we do that, DH is of no help. But I can call my friend Arden Richards, whose not yet published but is the best plotter I know.
I belong to a number of tribes –
The F-M Word Weavers – This is my local critique group. Arden is a member as well. Also in my group are published Authors Maddy Barone and Mary Jean Adams. The wealth of knowledge in this group is wonderful, and my writing has greatly improved over the years thanks to these ladies. I found this group on Meet-up and It helps that most of the group is made up of Romance Authors.
Romance Writers of America – I highly recommend this group if you are looking to establish a career in the Romance Writing Industry. I’ve been a member since 2004 and belong to an online chapter. I met my first critique partner Holli Winters through RWA. If you want to learn more about this particular tribe I recommend, if you have Netflix, that you watch “Love Between the Covers”. First time DH watched it with me he said, “Sounds like your writer friends.” Yes, yes it does.
Of course there is also Mystery Writers of America, Horror Writers Association and Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers or America. As I do not write in these genres, I’m unfamiliar with their membership.
Romance Divas – I’ve recently joined Divas, but I have friends who have been members for years and rave about the mentorship and learning there. It seems too that Divas is on the leading edge of trends within the Romance Industry. Also they are FREE, so that is helpful for those watching their budget.
Marketing for Romance Writers – Despite the name, more than Romance Writers belong to this community. If you follow my AuThursday interviews, many of the writers are from this group. This group is also FREE.
Writer Zen Garden – I’ve been with Writer Zen Garden for about five years, brought in by my friend and founding member, A. Catherine Noon. Writer Zen Garden has authors of different genres. They are wonderful for writers just starting out and maybe not so Romance focused. To me the focus is very creative and wonderful cheerleading group. And Guess what – also FREE.
I continue to join groups as I see what they have to offer and if it is a good fit for me. I highly recommend that if you aren’t a member of a tribe that you join one. There is something about the writing journey that shouldn’t be done in a bubble. I mean you can, but there are so many options to connect with people and learn, why wouldn’t you.
The groups above have helped me through Writer’s Block, Rejection, Plotting, Marketing, Networking, and supporting me through my writing journey. I can’t imagine writing without my tribes.
Writer Wednesday – Retreats
My apologies for missing last Writer Wednesday. I’d returned from an annual Writing Retreat for the Founders of Writer Zen Garden, and found myself forgetting.
I’ve attended this Retreat annually and the theme or tone of the meeting varies from year to year, depending on where we are at in our lives.
This year before meeting, one member suggested more writing time, and I’m so glad she did.
We routinely do Morning Pages, Free Write and a CRAFT.
This year we added in Writing Prompts, Mind Mapping and Creative Journaling.
The Mind Mapping and a prompt on setting were exactly what I needed. I tend to write dialouge heavy, so this was very helpful to help me find a balance.
If you are planning on hosting a retreat, Even a self-retreat, there are a few things I would recommend:
- Have goals – This is reason for the Retreat. Finish a book, commune with like minded writers, relax. Whatever it is, even if each writer has different goals, this will help with making a plan, so everyone walks away with what they want.
- Have a plan – Get input from all people attending your retreat. Pick a location. Create a schedule. Share it. A plan will give you framework for your retreat to ensure everyone has fun.
- Have Fun – So you can’t hit the park, because your location has suddenly been deluged by rain. You spent more time chatting and less time writing – been there. If you think of the plan as a framework and not a schedule, you can better roll with it.
Last year I hosted the WZG Writing Retreat on my Farm. I’ve toyed with the idea of coordinating a spring retreat for local authors at my farm or at The Smokey Hills in Minnesota.
The goal for me has always been to catch up with authors about what they are writing and trying to re-energize my own writing. This is for both retreats and conferences. Before investing time and money into any event, be sure you have a goal. My goal helps set the expectations and I can measure sucess from it.
My goals were met, so I would call the retreat a success.
Here are some other great blogs on planning retreats:
Join me next week as we continue my query journey.~Tina