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
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

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Team Lindsey FAQ: On Writing The Ending Series

As most of you Ending Series readers are aware, The Ending Series proper has come to a close. Yes, there will be small writing projects here and there, specifically World Before and World After that will be getting some more buzz later this year. But what we'll call The Ending Series origin novels are complete. Finito. Closed. Finished. Done forever.

Now, some of you Endingers have been with us from the beginning, reading our stories and growing with our characters alongside us. Other readers are new to the Ending Series--to Harper's waggling eyebrows, Jason's smoldering stone-faced expressions (yes, somehow he manages to do both at once), and Dani and Zoe's silly banter and unwavering friendship--and those of you newest to the world of The Ending might have a few (or many) questions about, well, all of it: the series, how it started, questions about questions about us...

That being said, we wanted to share a little bit about all of that with you through a series of short blog posts.

To start, here are FAQ's that you may or may not be wondering yourselves. Get out the libations and popcorn, it's sort of a long one. Happy Reading!


1. What inspired The Ending series?
LP (Lindsey Pogue): We were both working at a bookstore a few years ago, and we were on our way home from a tradeshow in Oakland. I think we were high from the smell of new books or something because we were giddy and started chatting about writing and stories and it bloomed from there. We started brainstorming characters and story arcs, and before we knew it, we had Zoe and Dani outlined and a title for our project.
LF (Lindsey Fairleigh): Yeah, we had the entire premise set up by the time we parted ways that evening.
2. What motivated you to write a post-apocalyptic romance series? Have you always been science fiction fans?
LP: Romance fan, yes! Science fiction…not so much. My dad was a sci-fi reader when I was growing up, so I was surrounded by books with spaceships and laser guns on the cover. I assumed that was all the science fiction genre consisted of. Clearly, I was wrong. When LF and I first started The Ending project, I wanted to write and embrace my creativity. Our collaboration was going to be that outlet for me so I committed myself, not caring what the genre was. Since then, I’ve started to read more dystopian novels, and I am fascinated with the intricacy of some of the more epic science fiction storylines.
LF: I, on the other hand, have always been a fantasy and science fiction fan. My love of romantic themes didn’t develop until later, but now I find myself losing interest in a book if it doesn’t include at least a little romance or sexual tension. As for our motivation to write a new adult post-apocalyptic romance series—we both love YA books like Divergent, Shatter Me, and Hunger Games, and wanted to create something similar, just with more adult themes.
3. How much of the series is realistic?

LP: Although our book is fiction, we tried to make it as realistic as possible. We did as much research as we could before taking our own creative licenses and adding things into our post-apocalyptic world that might not have been there otherwise. Overall, we try to keep the reader engaged and constantly thinking “what if”. 

LF: There were a few “real world” things that we tweaked for the sake of the storyline, possibly the most obvious being that the internet stays up for a few weeks after almost everyone is dead, but we stuck with it because of the way the project originated. In the beginning, the entire thing was epistolary--it was all written in the form of emails between Dani and Zoe. We changed that, thankfully, but felt the need to retain the email communications because they were the original heart of the story--everything else formed around them.
4. How would you describe Dani?
LF: Dani is definitely someone who proves that first impressions can be misleading. She’s a tiny redhead with a feisty personality to match her fiery hair, and if you don’t spend much time getting to know her, she seems silly and a little flighty. But, as we learn throughout After The Ending and Into The Fire, this is simply a disguise she’s been wearing since childhood. She fears that if people get to know the real her—the intelligent, thoughtful, independent, and deeply caring person she really is—they’ll reject her. Of course, she doesn’t wear this
emotional mask around her best bud, Zoe…and therefore not around Zoe’s older brother, Jason, either…making them some of the few people who know the real Dani.
5. How would you describe Zoe? 

LP: Zoe is…complicated. She’s in her own head a lot, stands in her own way, and is loyal to a fault when it comes to Dani—the one consistent person she’s ever had in her life—so she clings to their friendship above all else. But on the flipside, she’s also extremely passionate and determined, which in the end, will help her rediscover herself in the new world of The Ending. We see her growing a bit stronger in book two, Into The Fire, but it’s book three where the readers will really get to know Zoe Cartwright and book four, well...I LOVED writing her chapters in Before The Dawn. She's come so far!!! :)
6. Do you have any advice for writers?
LP: Go with your gut and keep in mind that you will NEVER please everyone—the latter is something I’m finally coming to terms with.
LF: Put your manuscript aside for a month or two—like lock it away in a safe and don’t peek at it even once—and then when you look at it again, you’ll have all these new ideas for improving it. I know a ton of people have already said it, like Steven King, but there’s a reason--they’re right!
7. What is one piece of advice you would like to share with aspiring authors everywhere?
LP: Not everyone writes the same, has the same imagination, or shares the same work habits. Find what works for you and embrace it. Try not to compare yourself to other authors because it's exhausting and your quirks are what make you unique.
LF: Write for you...the only way you’ll know if other people like (or hate) your words is if you write them down. And yes, no matter what, some people will hate them.
8. What made you first decide to become a writer?
LP: It has always been easier for me to write down how I feel as opposed to communicating it to someone aloud. I started writing in journals at a very young age and inevitably my ideas, dreams, and life experiences starting turning into more than that. Little bits and pieces of my observations and of my life turned into storylines, and soon fictional characters and plots began to develop until I had so many story ideas that I had to invest in cases of floppy disks (yes, real plastic floppy disks) to save all my stories onto. I’ve been writing so long that as I go back now and read through some of my stories from fifteen years ago, I can’t help but laugh because they are so horrible and surprising at the same time. 
LF: I think it goes back to the fact that I tend to spend half of my life in some other, completely fictitious world. I loved the worlds and characters that other people created so much that they almost seemed real to me. And, without meaning to, I started to create my own imaginary worlds and my own imaginary people...but they only lived in my mind. To make them more “real” I needed to write their stories, to describe their worlds on paper. Once I started, it was like everything slipped into place. Writing just feels...right.
9. What is one thing you hope readers will take away from this series?
LP: I’d like the readers to consider this our interpretation of the humanistic side of things. I think we provide a pretty realistic picture of what life would be like after The Ending (maybe minus all the hot guys running around). Yes, Zoe and Dani are in their twenties, but that’s young and they’re alone, and the world as they know it is ripped out from under them. There is so much for them to process, and they are scared and grasping for any sense of normalcy they can find. For them, sometimes that means crying too much, distracting themselves with men, and making poor or rash decisions. Are they acting immature? Maybe, but unrealistic would actually be having them pick up a rifle and start blasting people without a second thought. Our heroines have a lot of maturing to do throughout the series, so partially I think we wanted to show Dani and Zoe as they were prior to The Ending, and as the series progresses, how they grow.
LF: Hmmm...maybe that the apocalypse doesn’t have to be entirely about death and sadness. That’s not to say that those things aren’t present throughout the books--I think Dani and Zoe have emotional and mental breakdowns nearly every other chapter--but we really wanted to highlight the undeniable power of hope, love, and friendship. For Dani and Zoe, a life without those things would have been only a half-life.
10. When will The Ending Series be made into a movie?
LP: I think I speak on behalf of both of us when I say that as much as we would LOVE to have The Ending Series turned into a movie or show, it's not something that's necessarily up to us. It's been our experience that producers approach authors, not the other way around. And we aren't out there pitching a screenplay to anyone at this point in time. Plus, there's always the fear that once the rights to your work are sold to someone, you have no control over what they will do with those rights. Many books get picked up by movie studios but nothing ever comes of it, so you've sold the rights to your book that you might never get back. BUT, even with all of that being said, we would love the see the world of The Ending on screen, to see it more developed and explored and our characters in action. The idea of having the series turned into an AMC or HBO series would be our dream come true. We wouldn't scoff at a movie, either, but there's just so much that can be done with the story, a TV show or mini-series would be able to dive in more and would be our ideal choice. We shall see what happens...

LF: What she said! All of it is dead on, which makes sense because this is something we talk about with each other A LOT. I mean, how could we not? What author wouldn't love to see their creation come to life? I'd be ecstatic to have the chance to see how someone else interprets our world and characters, but...I'd also be scared. Because, you know, what if it's all wrong?! That being said, I'd be way more ecstatic and excited than I would be scared, so, yeah. :)
11. What projects, if any, are you both going to work on together? Will they be in the world of The Ending?
LF: LP and I have three Ending projects planned down the pipeline - two that are much more immediate and one that's definitely a several-years-out project, as we'd like to develop our other, separate projects and grow individually as writers and creators. The two more immediate projects are titled The Ending Series: World Before and The Ending Series: World After, and both are story collections featuring our favorite Ending Series characters, but not focused solely on Dani and Zoe.
LP: The stories in World Before will take place prior to the Virus outbreak--five, ten, maybe even twenty years before in some cases. The stories in World After will be continuation stories that take place after The Ending Series book four. Depending on the characters we choose to write about, their stories could take place months or maybe even years after Before The Dawn. As for the third project, that will be a ways out, as LF mentioned, but we've left the world of The Ending open for many possibilities. :)

Coming 2017