The Wisdom of Carl Sagan

Many people don’t know who Carl Sagan was, but they’re probably familiar with a well known quote of his.

“What an astonishing thing a book is. It’s a flat object made from a tree with flexible parts on which are imprinted lots of funny dark squiggles. But one glance at it and you’re inside the mind of another person, maybe somebody dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, an author is speaking clearly and silently inside your head, directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people who never knew each other, citizens of distant epochs. Books break the shackles of time. A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic.”

[Cosmos, Part 11: The Persistence of Memory (1980)]”
― Carl SaganCosmos

Well, to be fair, I think people are only familiar with the end of that quote. “A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic.” But I think the rest of it is pretty darn cool!

For those of you who don’t know, Carl Sagan was a very famous scientist, primarily in the field of astronomy. He also wrote quite a few books on the cosmos, and a little known book called “Contact.” Yeah. Remember the movie? It came from him. *Mind blown* Right?

Anywho, this quote, to me, sums up the reason that people love to read so much. And the reason people take care of (or should take care of) their books.

Reading has always been a mind-altering experience for me. Yes. You heard it right. Reading is my drug of choice. And in all honesty, I’ve probably been on trippy experiences as a reader that might equate to hallucinogenics. (No, I’ve never touched that stuff). I’m sure you can think of a few trippy books you’ve read that left you feeling a little ‘out of body.’

This quote also embodies the fact that, once a book is published, the author no longer has ANY way to control how people perceive it. We all take books and make what we will of them. I don’t think I feel the same way about “1984” as other people, and you know what? That’s okay!

Did J.K. Rowling ever think people would make OTPs between Hermione and Draco? Umm… Doubt it!

“Across the millennia, an author is speaking clearly and silently inside your head, directly to you.” And whenever we read a book, we use our own life experiences to make what we will of the genius of the author’s gift. Thank you, Carl Sagan, for reminding us how important books are.

So… are books proof humans do magic? I vote, heck yeah! What do you think?

Guest Post: Rejection is coming…(and dragons…maybe)

So for my first guest post in my blife (blogging life) I have decided to talk about rejection (Gasp!)

No, wait! Keep reading! It’s not all that bad…..I promise!

Rejection is inevitable as a writer…I’m sorry…it just is. Let’s all take a moment to deal with that, deep breath, and move on! Whether you’re rejected by a literary agent, a publisher, or your mum (yes! Even your mum might hate your writing! – What? She might!) it’s pretty much a done deal that someone is going to reject you once you start putting your work out to the general public – even popular authors have people who hate their books, you just can’t please everyone.

And to be honest….who cares! Screw everyone who hates what you write. You love it! I know you do! Or you wouldn’t have spent all that time writing and rewriting and rererewriting until all your hair fell out and you had to buy a wig! (This didn’t happen to me…or did it? Ponder away)

I strongly believe that if there is passion in your work then someone will love it. And I know that the ultimate dream is to make a career out of your writing, but I think accepting whatever may happen is the best option. If you truly love to write because it’s your passion then your motivation should be wanting amazing people to read your work and love it like you do! Whether that be literally five people in the whole world or a thousand or ten thousand or ten million. The point is, you want to share your writing because you want people to love it as much as you do and making any money out of it would just be a bonus!

And remember! Don’t give up! If you get rejected don’t throw your computer out of your window! (I mean, by all means go ahead but then buy a new one!)

And here’s why…. Some of THE BEST authors of our time were rejected…like, A. Thousand. Times. Seriously…

– Beatrix Potter had to publish Peter Rabbit HERSELF because no one would do so! (Peter…fluffing….rabbit, people)

– C.S. Lewis was rejected quite a bit before he sold anything! (Would you want to live in a world without the Narnia books? Who didn’t spend time as kid (or an adult) climbing into wardrobes and pawing desperately at the back of it – just me?)

– An editor once told F. Scott Fitzgerald, “You’d have a decent book if you’d get rid of that Gatsby Character.” – (Seriously!!!!)

The Diary of Anne Frank was commented on by an editor saying, “This girl doesn’t, it seems to me, have a special perception or feeling which would lift that book above the curiosity level.” (ARGHHHFFF!!?)

– J.K Rowling was told, quite seriously, “Not to quit her day job.” (Bet that person will be crying for the rest of their days…) And if all else fails, self-publish! If you really, truly, honestly, passionately believe that your work is good enough to be out there for the world to see. Why not?

Caroline Peckham

Are Epilogues Necessary?

There once was a time in which I wouldn’t even read epilogues. I think it was probably high school. And then one day I decided to continue reading after the last chapter. I have no idea why I never read them in the first place or why I suddenly started reading them later on.

But when I really think about them, are they really necessary? I would guess that more than 90 percent of the books I read have no epilogue at all. Because generally speaking, in crime fiction the case has been solved. And if it’s a case that’ll span multiple books, then there’s still no reason to have an epilogue. I’ve seen authors include the opening chapters of their next books more often than I’ve seen epilogues.

I mean, tell me what an epilogue accomplishes that can’t be accomplished with the final chapter. I guess if it’s something like J.K. Rowling did, then it’s not so bad. But most books or series don’t need that additional information. Or do they?

Do you think epilogues are necessary?


On this day in 2014 I published Ten Most Haunting Male Literary Characters.

 

Are There More Harry Potter Books on the way?

J.K. Rowling says no, BUT not never. Kinda.

She was recently interviewed by Matt Lauer and he asked her if she’s secretly been working on the eighth book in the series. She said no. So then he asked her if she would write another one in the future. This is where there’s a little hope. She said no. But did not go so far as to say that it will never happen. Because she created the world and might step back into it. *insert any emoji you want here*

Now I know what some of y’all are thinking. I haven’t even read the books she has written. Yeah, yeah. I haven’t. But that doesn’t mean I’m not a fan of the series. I grew up with Harry Potter just like you did (some of you). So I’m not going to act like I’m less of a fan or something. You can think it. You can say it. Doesn’t make any difference to me. If J.K. Rowling ever decides to add to the story of Harry, Ron, and Hermione…I will be excited. Period.

What do you think? Think she’s just playing games or that she might actually return to the series? I…don’t know. I don’t think she has anything to gain from adding to a series that was pretty definitively finished.


On this day in 2014 I published Shelfie: Finally Organizing my Bookshelf.

 

What Writers Should NOT Post on Their Blogs

what-not-to-do

Photo Credit

No I’m not talking about personal information that shouldn’t be posted anywhere on the internet. That’s just common sense. I’m talking specifically about writers. I’ll give you a second to think about it before I continue to see if you can go ahead and guess it.

Didn’t think of anything, okay. I’m talking about excerpts from their work.This rule does not apply to those who plan on self-publishing because CreateSpace or Lulu or whichever company you use does not care about this. BUT for those of us who are crazy enough to think we can actually secure an agent and publishing deal with a traditional publisher, I AM talking to you.

Now I’ve never started querying agents or anything like that yet, but it is my understanding that agents and publishers don’t care if it’s on your blog or self-published or what, published is published. If parts of your story can be read for free online or by reading your self-published book, then I can’t imagine either wanting to touch that story. Why? Because it’s been published already.

Just think about if J.K. Rowling or James Patterson or (insert well-known author here) were to release the first half of their books on their websites or blogs. What if their readers read the excerpt and decided against buying the rest. It’d be a bad deal for the author, right? Now think of an agent or publisher who is considering your manuscript for representation or publication. If parts of your story can be read, then parts of your story have likely been read, right? Which means some people would go ahead and buy the rest and others wouldn’t. Makes no sense for either of them to really consider the work if potential readers have already been lost.

Actually, Patterson usually does something like this, but I’ve only ever seen it on Amazon and it’s usually less than 20 pages. I think.

So tell me, have you gotten to the stage of querying agents and ever been asked about what has or hasn’t been posted on your blog or website?

Lastly, I wrote my first ever guest post yesterday! It’s over on Kathy’s blog and it pertains to author stigma. Give it a read!