Writer Wednesday – Herika R. Raymer

1. Who are you? (A name would be good here…preferably the one you write under)
Herika R Raymer reporting!

2. What type of stuff do you write? (Besides shopping lists)
Right now writing short stories and working on my first novel and novella.

3. What do you want to pimp right now? (May it be your newest, your work-in-progress, your favorite or even your first)
Have some short stories in several anthologies, the newest being:
Children of Ghennharra in Luna’s Children – Full Moon Mayhem
Piasa Remains in State of Horror – Illinois

4. What is your favorite book? (Okay, or two or three or… I know how writers are as readers.)
Traveler in Black by John Brunner
E Pluribus Unicorn by Theodore Sturgeon

5. What other hats do you wear besides the writer hat?
Mother – this means keeper of schedules (bedtime everyone!), forager of foods (preferably sweets), driver to fun places (grandparents the most popular), tolerant of whines, healer of boo boos, maid, breakfast short order cook, and censor of movies.
Also wife (hehehe)

6. What link can we find you at? (One or two please; don’t go overboard here!)
Website – http://herikarraymer.webs.com
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/pages/Herika-R-Raymer-WriterEditor/218450834882572?fref=ts

 

 

 

*****

How To Take Critique

The hardest writing lesson I had to learn was how to take critique. I would ask for it, listen, and then hide the piece of work before anyone else had a chance to rip it apart. I really had to learn that if I was to get better at writing, then I needed a thicker skin. Yes, all my stories are my darlings, but if I want them to be the best I can make them I have to learn to listen when someone is offering critique – especially if it is from an author I respect. It took years, but I finally learned and I like to think my writing improves with every story because of this.

 

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Writer Wednesday – H. David Blalock

Who are you?
H. David Blalock

What type of stuff do you write? (Besides shopping lists)
I have published everything from novels to non-fiction articles, but I mostly write short stories in the speculative fiction genre. I know that’s a broad term, but it covers the majority of my fiction quite well.

What do you want to pimp right now?
My latest novel is the third and final volume of the Angelkiller Triad, Doom Angel. It wraps up the story begun in Angelkiller and Traitor Angel. I believe this series gives a reasonable answer to the age-old question “Why do bad things happen to good people?” in that it explains how, in the war between the Angels of Light and the Angels of Darkness, it was really the Dark that won. Since then, humanity has been conditioned to believe the opposite and has suffered for that illusion.

What is your favorite book? (Okay, or two or three or… I know how writers are as readers.)
Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein is probably my all-time favorite. Then there is The Traveller in Black by John Brunner and the Slan series by A. E. Van Vogt. I enjoy how each of these writers took ideas of basic human need, greed, and ambition and turned them into something visceral.

What other hats do you wear besides the writer hat?
For the past 5 years or so I have been trying to help other writers through the Imagicopter network (www.facebook.com/Imagicopterand www.imagicopter.com) by keeping them informed of events and new venues for their writing. Hopefully, Imagicopter has been useful to the hundred or so members we have across the country.

What link can we find you at?
My personal website is www.thrankeep.com and I’m on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Writer.HDavidBlalock.

*****

On Rejection, And Stuff…

As a writer for the better part of 40 years and editor of my own and others’ work for at least that long, I’ve been on both sides of the rejection issue. For those of you who are just starting out, there are a few things I’d like to pass along.

  1. You cannot publish what you do not finish. Before anything else, finish what you write. Don’t consider anything else until then. Not who will publish it, not how will it get reviewed, not what will your family think of it. Nothing else. Finish the piece, but remember one thing: finish first, then edit.
  2. Don’t edit your piece until it is finished. Editing as you go along prevents you from doing what you want most, that is, have a piece ready for submission. Even the great masters could ruin a piece by constantly making “just one more improvement”. Trust your instincts. Only critique and edit your work after it’s done.
  3. Do not trust spell check as your only proofreader. There are several ways to double-check your spelling and grammar. I recommend reading your work aloud to yourself. This will give you an idea of the flow and readability of the work. Make changes as you go at this point.
  4. Have a disinterested reader look over the work before submitting it. Don’t give it to your mother, father, sister, brother, or even your best friend. And don’t trust writers’ groups to give you more than a cursory idea of what needs to be done. Most of all, remember that whatever feedback you get from proofreaders is just their opinion. You should carefully consider whether their suggestions will improve or hurt your work.
  5. Research the markets for your work and read the guidelines carefully before submission. I cannot stress this enough. You can hurt your ego and sometimes your reputation by not reading the guidelines. Editors do talk among themselves. They will relay information about writers who do not follow guidelines to other editors. It’s a smaller community than you might think.
  6. Be professional! You are going to receive rejection letters. This is part of being a writer. Not every publisher is going to want your work. This is not personal. Publishers have a business to run and to make that business successful they need to cater to their audience, meet deadlines, word limitations, budgets, any number of other factors. Your work may hit them at a bad time or simply may not be what they want. Do not take rejection as a personal attack. Most of all, do not react unprofessionally to rejection by sending the editor a nasty or snide response. I can guarantee this will be passed along to other editors as evidence of your lack of professionalism.
  7. If and when your work is accepted for publication, check the contract closely and don’t sign anything immediately.It’s easy to get excited about the prospect of seeing your work in print but remember that writers get paid, not the other way around. If the publisher expects you to pay to be published, best pass on that one. Unless you are self-publishing for personal reasons, avoid that kind of contract.
  8. Expect the possibility of further editing for word count or content from the publisher. At this point, it is important to remember the publisher’s job is to sell your work. However, you still have the right to remind them you are the writer and your name will be associated with it. Most reputable publishers will work closely with you to find a satisfactory compromise.
  9. Once your work appears, send a note of thanks to the publisher/editor. A good working relationship is based on courtesy and communication. You have built a bridge. Don’t burn it first thing out.
  10. Finally, be prepared to promote your work yourself. Even the big publishing houses do very little promotion for their authors. Learn about book signings, events, conventions, anything that will get your name and work before the public. Make yourself as available as possible. The success of your career as a writer is, in the end, up to you.

 

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Writer Wednesday – Herika R Raymer

Based out of Memphis-ish, Herika R. Raymer is a familliar face around the southeast con circuit.  If she’s not at the Imagicopter table, she’s either at a panel or hanging around somewhere.  Outside of cons, she’s a busy woman; the married mother of two is a writer and editor and runs Imagyro Magazine for Imagicopter.  This is her story…

Let’s start with the basics. Who are you?
Tell us (briefly) about you…
I am an overgrown big kid who finally realized her dream of sharing her stories with people who (hopefully) like them. I am married with two children and one dog, but have never quite left the imaginary world for the real one. I visit quite often, and share what I see there when I can.

…and a bit about what you’ve written…
At present I have only published short stories which can be found from a variety of small to independent presses. A list can be found at my website – herikarraymer.webs.com – and my author page on Facebook. The stories are mostly horror and fantasy, though I am hoping to try science-fiction and urban fantasy soon.

…and what you’re working on right now.
Right now, literally, I am wrapping up the final stories on a collection. It is based on some creatures I dreamed up for an anthology a few years back. I never thought they would be so popular. However, due to demand, I am putting together some stories and hope the readers will be pleased. Look for it soon!

What are your earliest book-related memories?
Being read to as a child. I always adored hearing either my mother or my father read to me. My mind wandered into fantasy world, and has never quite left.

What are your three favorite books?
I only get to choose three?! Oh man…
Traveler In Black by John Brunner because it taught me to be careful what I wish for.
Dragonsinger by Anne McCaffrey because it was a delightfully painful story about a girl who refused to give up her love of music.
The Forgotten Beasts of Eld by Patricia A McKillip, because it taught me the power of names.

How many books to do you read at any given time?
Two to three, depending on my mood and how well some read.

What are you reading now?
Touch of Madness by B C Brown
Callahan series by Spider Robinson

Finish this sentence; when I curl up with a book, I ___
am happiest.

How likely are you to read a book that’s been recommended to you?
Very likely if I can find it, it is finding the time in the stack that has already been recommended.

How likely are you to recommend a book (that isn’t yours)?
Highly likely, not to mention that particular tendency comes in handy now that I am part of Imagicopter.

What do you look for in a good book?
Storyline and characters I can envision! If I cannot relate to them, well I can expect that – but at least let me see them in my mind and follow where they are. And let the story make sense.

Why do you write?
Too many stories in my mind, it cannot hold them all.

If you couldn’t be a writer, what would you be?
Artist, I would like to refine my drawing abilities.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Not sure, everywhere. Mundane chores, something that startles me, an adventure I overhear my children playing, questions that a book / movie / show prompts or does not answer. Just so many places, it is hard to choose just one.

What has writing taught you about yourself?
That I procrastinate too much and need more discipline.

How do the people in your life seem to view your writing career?
For the most part the response has been positive. Apparently I have always told good stories or was always found reading, so they naturally surmised this was the next step.

Are there any stereotypes about writers that you don’t think are true?
Well, we don’t all drink and not all of us are completely crazy. There are parts of us missing after all, I think that is the window where the stories come in.

What do you see as the biggest challenge today for writers starting out?
Allowing their work to be viewed by strangers. There is too much of ourselves in our early work, and letting people we do not know see it is frightening. After all, it is only a fraction – and people are quick to judge. If we write it out, we want to tell a tale – not be dissected.

Have you made any writing mistakes that seem obvious in retrospect but weren’t at the time?
Absolutely! The voice you write in indicates what kind of audience you are writing for. I wrote very child-like, and had to mature it quite a bit to reach the audience I want to now – which is Young Adult to Adult. It is embarrassing now to read some of the stuff I originally wrote – no wonder my Beta Readers winced while looking at it (poor dears).

Is there a particular project you would love to be involved with?
Not sure. If I get to that point I will let you know. Although, I think it would be awesome to write for a series… televised that is.

How do you deal with your fan base?
When I get one I will tell you.

Finish this sentence; my fans would be surprised to know ___ about me.
“My fears”

You’re one of the brains behind Imagicopter. Tell us about it.
I am? Here I thought I was the voice broadcasting it.
Imagicopter is a voluntary cooperative of authors, artists, and hopefully musicians. The idea is that there is local talent in any town, all one has to do is be aware of them. Imagicopter uses networking and free venues to help raise that awareness and, hopefully, help local Talent sell their wares.

Anything else we should know?
Imagicopter is not a promotional agency, nor a publishing house, and this being the case it does not guarantee sales. All we can do is try to entice people to buy your product, but we do not guarantee anything. Also, as we are a voluntary outfit, our participants do not pay us and we cannot pay them. Any sales made must be by them. We do try and direct people to their sites or to Amazon or Goodreads or wherever their books and art can be found.

When we are on the convention circuit we do direct people to their publisher’s booths or to their tables (if they have one) to get the books. This may not be what is expected, but we do try and be direct with possible participants with what we do as we do not want to raise any false hopes.

Thank you so much for your time Ms Lynch! See you on the convention circuit!

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