Friday, February 24, 2017

Just Start: Giveaway & Writing Advice from Guest Blogger, and Author Cyn Taylor

Today we welcome guest blogger and author, Cyn Taylor! She's got some great writing advice to share, AND she's giving away a copy of  Book 1 in the Smoky Mountain Mist series, "Blue Mountain Sky"!! Enter to win below!

Many folks live by the mantra that life is all about the journey. As a writer, I disagree. The journey to becoming a published author is fraught with perils. Who wants to live like that?

Your book begins with joy and elation; much like bringing a first child into the world. (Okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration — but it’s my analogy, and I’m sticking to it.)

Soon we come to the middle of our tale. Let’s correlate this period of writing with the teen years of the child you birthed earlier. Joy and elation gives way to gnashing of teeth and tearing of hair. This may be why there are so many bald authors.

We make it through the meat of our story. Whew! Now let’s wrap this up. However, finding the perfect ending can be as elusive as that candy bar that keeps sliding just out of reach under the seat of your car. Sure, you’re the one that hid it there due to a complete inability to share. However, you didn’t know at the time how far into the clutches of darkness a car floorboard could go.

Finally, the perfect words fly from your brain, down your arms and to your fingertips as you tap the computer keyboard as fast as the Flash can dart. The beginning is tempting, the middle moves the story along and the ending, well, IMPAC Dublin Award here we come.

Have a nice cup of tea and take a moment to catch your breath, because now the real work begins; finding a publisher that agrees with your assessment of the book. Once that happens (yes, sometimes fairy tales do come true) it’s on to the world of marketing. Let’s leave that experience for another day.

I wrote my first novel more than twenty-five years ago. I rewrote that book ten years ago. Then revised said book a couple of years ago. It wasn’t that I wanted to keep changing the story. I just wanted to be published.

Having first written the book as Romantic Fiction, I submitted it to Harlequin. Their response was along the lines of “We have numerous books at this point. We’ll get back to you.” They didn’t. Hence, the next rewrite.

Inspirational Romance was hitting the market big time. I moved my characters into a Christian setting, added suspense and a bit of humor. I got to know my characters better and felt an attachment to them. I submitted to various Christian publishers. Responses varied from “Not what we’re looking for at this time” to “We would love to help you self-publish.” BLAH!

When I took a job as a photojournalist for a community paper, I began looking at my book through the eyes of a reporter. Hence the next revision. That one was a mistake.
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My characters needed more depth. I tried reading Christian Romantic Fiction and found myself falling asleep. While this was good for my health, it did nothing towards helping me become a better writer.

A friend suggested I read Stephen King’s book On Writing.” I always found his stories terrifying and was never a fan. Now when I’m asked what helped me most in improving my writing I recommend this book. King is entertaining and the master at turning a phrase.

As I worked on redeveloping my first book, I had the idea of making it into a series set in the Great Smoky Mountains, my area. Before I had rewritten book one I was well on my way through books two and three. I had found my niche. I finished book one. Again. I started searching for a publisher. Again.

During this search, I received an assignment to interview a local author. I was impressed with her book so I bought it and saw her publisher listed.

I submitted my first book Blue Mountain Sky” to Mantle Rock Publishing in October of 2015. Editor Kathy Cretsinger liked it enough to send a contract. The book released July 2016. Book two in this series “Red Morning Glory” released January 2017. Book three “Dawn’s Gray Light” should be available later this year or early 2018. The genre is Faith-based Contemporary Romantic Suspense.

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So here we are at the end of this particular story. That of a published author. How do we wrap this up? Let’s not. As a believer, I know that our stories are never ending. We all play a small part in the greater story woven by God.

If you have words stuck in your head, get them out. Put them on paper. Record them. Share them. Open yourself up to change. Don’t be afraid to self-promote. You may write the next great American novel. You’ll never know if you don’t start.

Happy writing!

Cyn Taylor
Weaving fiction, speaking Truth

Cyn Taylor lives and plays in Knoxville Tennessee in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. She and husband Brent live on his family farm at the peak of Thunder Ridge along with a feral cat and other woodland creatures who come round to visit. They have two adult children and seven grandchildren. 

As a former freelance photo journalist, Cyn has written faith, community and feature articles.  
Cyn gets some of the best inspiration for her books when she accompanies Brent on fly fishing excursions to the Smokies. He fishes. She writes. Life is good.

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