Thursday, June 16, 2016

Happy Friday, everyone!

As previously mentioned, I've changed my blog over to my website for streamlining and ease.

THIS is where I'll be posting from now on. You can SUBSCRIBE to my new blog HERE.

If you have any questions, shoot me an email HERE.

Thank you for all your support and love. I'll see you at the other site!


Twitter: @LindseyRPogue
Facebook: Author Lindsey Pogue
Instagram: authorlindseypogue
New Blog

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Quick "How To" Guide for first time authors

****PLEASE NOTE: This is an old post. I no longer post on this blog. For more information, to visit my new blog, or to contact me, visit HERE****

Greetings, fellow indie authors!

I post resources every so often for first-time indie authors that I hope are helpful to them in their writing process. I love to share what little knowledge I have because I learned most of what I know either from trial and error or someone passing said information on to me. So, spread the wealth, right?

This time around, since I'm in the throes of publishing book two in my new adult series, Nothing But Trouble, I figured I'd give those of you considering novel publication a brief outline of what goes into publishing--how long it generally takes to get ideas - to paper - to print and the steps I take along the way. Please see my Author Resources post for links to tools that might come in handy. I haven't updated it in a while, so my apologies, but the bones are there.

How long does it take to write a book?
Well, how much time do you have to write and how series are you about finishing it? For some authors, it only takes 2 months. For me, well, I work a day job and write simultaneously, so it takes me closer to 6 months, and that's writing an average of two days a week. Everyone's process is different. This is mine:

Step One: Outlining, Brainstorming, and creating a Production Timeline.
The length of time it takes you to do this will vary based on how your mind works and the amount of time you're willing to put into these initial steps. It depends if you're a plotter or pantser. For me, I'm a little bit of both. It takes a couple weeks to really get my ideas out of my head and organized and I use a variety of techniques to organize my thoughts, including sticky notes for major scenes or themes that need to show up in my story, and then I move them to more cohesive thoughts in Scrivener. I look up character photos, create storyboards for visual references, do some research on topics I'm unfamiliar with but need to write about and so on. It generally looks something like this:

For a timeline, I generally pick a "release date" and plan backward.

Here's an example:

Step Two: Start writing your first draft! Even if it's just the dedication page or one particular scene you just can't get out of your head. START. You have to get into a groove and the only way to do that is by actually starting. It sounds easy, but trust me, it's not always, especially if you're not already in a writing routine. I generally use National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) to get the skeleton of my story down, chapter by chapter. I can go in and flesh each chapter out later, but the main scenes are pivotal in getting to know your characters more. First Draft time Lapse: Depending on length, 1-2 months.

Step Three: When you're finished with your first draft, take a break! This should be at least a couple weeks. I use this time to do some of the following:
  • work on marketing
  • read for fun
  • relax and take a complete step away from book stuff
  • start brainstorming new projects
Notebook for a different project

Step Four: Go back through, edit and revise, then send your manuscript to beta readers. Provide them questions you want answers to, then give them sufficient time to read, take notes, and really delve into the story so that you get the best feedback possible. While it's out, you'll have 3-4 weeks to work on the following in preparation for publication:
  • book cover
  • book description
  • you can start thinking about promotions

Step Five: After getting the manuscript back from Beta readers, make the edits you want and read through it again. If you want to, you can even send it to a second group of betas that focus on proofreading and grammar more than content. Time Lapse: Anywhere from a couple weeks to another month depending on if you send it out again or not.

Step Six: Format. Send it to the editor. While your manuscript is out of your hands yet again, you can start:
  • brainstorming or outlining another project
  • work on promotional materials

Time Lapse: 1 month

Step Seven: Revise based on editor's feedback and do a final read-through. This is more of a proofread and essentially your last chance to clean it up and/or make any changes. I would ask someone else to proofread it for you before you publish, to catch the extra spaces, the missing words, etc. that your mind won't notice given its familiarity with the work.  Time Lapse:2-3 weeks

Step Eight: Publish! These steps depend on where you want to sell your book. Here are some of the platforms to check out:

CreateSpace (paperback)
Amazon (KDP)
Draft2Digital: Kobo, Barnes & Noble, iTunes

That's the gist of it! I'm sure there are things I forgot to mention, but this is a great way to get yourself on track to publishing that book you've always wanted to, no matter the drive behind it.



p.s. remember, this blog isn't going to be in use after this month, so make sure you check out my new blog on my website.

Twitter: @LindseyRPogue
Instagram: authorlindseypogue

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Using sensory stimulation to keep me in character: Sound

In my last two posts, I shared with you how smell and sight help me to stay in "the moment" while I'm perched at my desk, writing. For someone who has limited writing time each week, it's important for me to be as present in my writing as possible. And staying focused is extra difficult when you've been absent from practicing the craft of writing for six months prepping for your wedding, having said wedding, and so on. My creative/writing muscles are a little out of shape, so I'm doing everything I can to help stay inspired, hence this new sensory stimulation experiment.

But smell and sight don't cover all the bases. Sound--music, in this case--really helps me get in the writing mood. A slow whimsical song that I associate with a character experience, let's say someone is falling in love, helps reiterate what that feels like to me, helps me remember my own experience and channel that into how my character is feeling in that moment. A fast tempo with bass and baritones might be an angsty song, perhaps representing a character's bad day or anger toward someone. That's why, for all of my stories, I have a playlist. 

A playlist is something many authors have while writing a book or series, and for good reason. Sensory brain regions house emotional memories. What does that mean? Essentially, sound triggers emotions through past memories so that I can identify with what my character is going through in that moment. 

There's a song I love by Linkin Park called Iridescent. Every single time I hear this song, I think of The Ending Series. For me, Iridescent embodies Dani and Zoe's struggles throughout the four book series, and it will always be that way for me. This song is The Ending Series

For Sam's story, Whatever It Takes, every time I hear Bastille's, The Draw, I think Sam's struggle with regret and her past and how she's trying to cope with that. 

Mac's story is no different. There are songs I use as cues to help me really dive deep and feel what my character is supposed to be feeling in that moment. This helps, a lot. Especially if my mood is so different that it's prohibiting my ability to "get in the zone."

Mac's story has many ups and downs in it--family issues, personal growth, sexual tension, comfort in friendship, love, self-discovery and the struggle of letting things go... There are happy, fun moments and those that might make me tear up a little bit. But I have to be able to feel that while writing otherwise it won't come across in my prose. 

Some of Mac's playlist includes (and why they mean so much to me):
Silence Looks Good On You - Rachel Taylor (Mac and Colton)

Stand By You - Rachel Platten (The trio's friendship)
Smoke and Mirrors - Imagine Dragons (Mac's struggles)
Half of Me - Rihanna (The real Machaela Carmichael that not everyone knows)

As you can see, music plays an important part of story writing for me. Generally, I can't get in any groove for writing until I have a hearty collection of songs I can listen to as needed. Music is probably the most important mood-changer that I've found so far. It's essential for me.

Don't forget I'll be leaving this blog site soon and exclusively posting on my new blog, connected to my website for more streamlining ease.  So check it out as soon as you can.

Thanks for checking in!

Twitter: @LindseyRPogue
Instagram: authorlindseypogue

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

How sensory stimulation helps me write: Visuals

In my last post, I shared with you how scent helps me stay focused in my writing. But smell is only part of my new experiment with sensory stimulation. Visuals have always been my go-to learning tool my entire life--writing life included. Needless to say, I'm a visual learner and I always have been. 

Just to know
I don't retain information well, period. My memory sucks. I have conversations I don't remember being a part of all the time (mostly having to do with my husband telling me things I clearly was only selectively listening to), I'm introduced to people and don't retain their names, people reference gifts I've given them and I'm like, "What? Really? Gosh, I'm so nice." It's horrible not to remember things, really worrisome and troubling at times, actually. But then, who doesn't have a few screws loose? The flip side is that I never forget a face, even if I don't remember their names. I can name a movie I've only seen once just by hearing one line of a sentence, no visual assistance required because apparently I've retained it all the first time I watched it. I remember historical happenings not because I read them or someone explained them to me--that all goes into my brain and disappears a second later. I remember and love history that I can see. I watch documentaries and visit museums and reference old photos. So it would make sense that visuals are helpful at all stages during the writing process.

The first step
This is my story Pinterest board that I use before I start writing. My storyboard helps me to gather images that set the framework for my story. It allows me space to collect all the images I attribute to my character, their bedroom colors, the setting, the clothes they wear, different physical attributes I want to keep in mind, and so on. This is what gets the whole processes started.

While I'm writing
I use Scrivener when I'm organizing my chapters and writing my first drafts. The reason I appreciate this program is because I can have the manuscript and any photo or reference material I want side by side while writing. During the first draft phase, I'm generally still getting to know my characters so this helps me remember the weather, locations, research I found, etc. 

Throughout the writing process
This is a story notebook, which I use throughout the entire writing process. I use it for brainstorming and near-the-end editing. I have a notebook for every story, and it contains cut-outs, drawings, charts, sticky notes, lists, research, and just about everything in between. All of which I carry around with me when I leave town in case I get a brilliant idea, and I have it open every time I'm writing.

So, now you know why visual aids are so important for me in the writing process. Next time I'll share with you what other ways I indulge my sense while writing to keep myself in "the zone."


Twitter: @LindseyRPogue
Instagram: authorlindseypogue

Thursday, May 12, 2016

How sensory stimulation helps me write: Sense of Smell

As a writer, you're expected to transport your readers to times and places they've never been to before--to feel the sun shining on their faces, to smell the earth they walk upon, to hear the sounds of nature rustling around them, and to give characters thoughts and emotions readers can empathize with. That's what keeps readers engaged, right?

For me, getting into the minds of my characters isn't always easy. In fact, sometimes I have such a difficult time that I find a hundred other things to do with myself when I should be writing.

To help myself stay in tip-top writing shape, I've come to learn that engaging as many of my senses as possible--connecting me to my mission--helps me focus more than anything.

My newest approach: engaging my olfactory bulb. Sound strange? Well, it's quite astonishing, actually. Apparently, the olfactory bulb starts inside the nose and runs along the bottom of the brain. It has direct connections to two brain areas of the brain that are strongly engaged with emotion and memory: the amygdala and hippocampus. Interestingly, visual, auditory, and tactile information synapsis do not pass through these brain areas. They say that this may be why smell, more than any other sense, is so successful at triggering such vivid emotions and memories that evoke that feeling of “being brought back in time." Even more than images. Cool, right?

As an experiment this go-around, I'm using Mac's Lilac scent to help me keep the creative juices flowing...

Why Lilac?
Mac wears Lilac lotion, Sam even comments on it in her story, Whatever It Takes. Little does Mac realize, Lilac reminds her of her mother, hence her connection to it.

How do I use it? To keep my olfactory system engaged while I'm working on Mac's story, I light a lilac candle. Because it's not a scent I surround myself with often, it's interesting to have it permeate the room--it's great, actually. It's different and there's just something about the sound of a flickering candle that soothes me.

Fun Facts
Lilac is both edible and medicinal. Apparently it's historically used as a tea or for infusion as well as an anti-periodic. Anti-periodic basically means that it stops the recurrence of disease such as malaria. And it's also been associated with helping to break fevers.

What can you make with Lilacs?
For you Susie Homemakers and Homesteaders out there, here are some recipes in case you're interested!
Lilac Jelly
Lilac Wine
Lilac Liqueur/Cordial
Lilac Infused Blueberry Syrup
Lilac Ice Cream

Next time I'll share with you what other ways I indulge my sense while writing to keep myself in "the zone."


Twitter: @LindseyRPogue
Facebook: Author Lindsey Pogue
Instagram: authorlindseypogue

Thursday, May 5, 2016

After The Ending - The story behind book one

As mentioned last time, this series of blog posts are about Team Lindsey's story and how The Ending Series came to be. Why are we spending time on this? The answer is simple. Most of our readers haven't been with us from the beginning and know little about us. Even those loyal readers who have been around over the past three plus years aren't aware of how The Ending world came to be. So, here you go!

This is our story of when it all began--when After The Ending wasn't even a book concept yet, when Dani and Zoe only communicated through one-dimensional emails, and the world was just starting to fall apart... THIS is how the world of The Ending came to be, how Dani and Zoe grew into complex, commanding characters who would traverse the world in order to find each other. In order to survive the Ending.

The Story Behind the Book  
The Inspiration (Lindsey Pogue)
It all began with two women, a longish car ride, and a lot of passion and inspiration...

Well, that's only part of the beginning. To start off, Lindsey Fairleigh and I met working at a bookstore in 2010. LF had recently moved to the Napa Valley and LP had just returned home from traveling through Europe. At first, it was cool because we were both Lindseys, tall, awkward, quirky book addicts. But our similarities didn't stop there. 
For most of our lives, we’ve been conjuring up fantastical worlds, heroes, and leading ladies, but neither of us had the confidence to do much with our passion for writing.

Fast forward to October 2011...
We were on a several hour car ride back from an exhaustingly awesome NCIBA (Northern California Independent Booksellers Association) conference on behalf of Copperfield Books. LF, being the science fiction and fantasy connoisseur that she is, got to talking about an idea for a blog—a correspondence between two friends as they experience the end of the world. We started brainstorming, developing our characters, a name for the project, and so on. Apparently all we needed was a seed of mutual enthusiasm, a sprig of inspiration from all the authors we'd met at the conference, and a spark of intrigue as we browsed the endless tables of lavish book covers to get our creative juices flowing, and... dun dun dunnn... Team Lindsey was born! That car ride began the After The Ending journey that would inevitably change our lives.
As a result of our enthusiasm and collaboration over the next year or so (and an immense amount of revisions), After The Ending, book one in The Ending series, was born. And when I say born, I mean it morphed into a completely different project from the one we initially set out to create. While the concept and storyline essentially remained the same, the format went through multiple revisions, transforming from the original online blog version into the nearly 500-page book that was finally published in February 2013.
Because our initial idea was to start a blog where our two characters documented their apocalyptic survival experiences solely conveyed through emails, we started off writing in first-person and only in the format of emails between Zoe and Dani. It didn’t take us too long to realize that we were severely limiting the story that Zoe and Dani had to tell. We realized we were unable to convey the depth, dynamics, and true nature of our characters because we only allowed the reader to see them through their silly, realistic, and sometimes melodramatic emails. We wanted more! We wanted to share our characters in a way the emails wouldn’t allow, so we did a complete overhaul of everything we’d written. Happily, this not only enabled us to learn more about our characters, but it allows our readers to see beyond their quirky emails—to see our leading ladies as they truly are, including their fears, passions, and even their secrets. 
Eventually, we realized we don’t have to limit ourselves to Zoe and Dani’s perspectives either. These two young women are only part of the world of The Ending so we spread the love, including other perspectives throughout the series. Since publishing book one, we haven't looked back!

Monday, May 2, 2016

Announcement about my blog - CHANGES to be aware of

Greetings readers, writers, and book lover friends!

I wanted to let you know that I'm making some changes to my blog.

Due to an influx of reader emails, multiple project updates, giveaway information, and an array of other things, I am trying to streamline information about my projects as much as possible. This means that I now have two blogs, this one, which will eventually be fazed out, and my new blog, which you can find on my website. I know that doesn't sound like streamlining, but as I mentioned, eventually this blog will no longer be updated.

Due to the fact that I cannot transfer over past blog posts from here to my new blog, I will keep this one up and running for a bit. After a few months, however, I will stop posting here and will be directing visitors to my new blog on my website.

Again, this is for no other reason than the ease and efficiency of being able to post information on my blog and website without having to update multiple platforms in multiple places.

If you have any questions, you know how to get ahold of me, or feel free to comment below.

Thank you for understanding and please stop by to peruse my website and check out my new blog!

Thanks, y'all and happy reading! Let me know if you're reading anything awesome that I should put on my list!


Twitter: @LindseyRPogue
Facebook: Author Lindsey Pogue