The Good Stuff

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Interview With Author Melissa Lopez

1.) How old were you when you realized you wanted to be a writer? Was it a childhood dream or did it come about after you were an adult?

Hiya, Sonya, everyone.
I’d been a story weaver since my early childhood. Only I didn’t realize my actual desire to write until much later in life. I loved all my creative writing classes. My teachers and professors encouraged me to try my hand at writing and submit somewhere. They all said I had a good voice. Although, the romance genre was where my heart was, instead I wrote children stories as a hobby. Authoring romances wasn’t something I’d ever considered I could achieve until 9/11. I knew then it was time to try for my dream.

2.) What is your writing background? Nonfiction or mainly fiction?

I’ve written several nonfiction essays but my background is in fiction.

3.) Is this your first novel? Tell me a little about it. Who's your favorite character and why?

Dark Sentinel is my first published novel under my own name. Dark Sentinel is the first book in my paranormal Netherworld series. Netherworld is the ultimate parallel world between good and evil.
Netherworld has a series site dedicated to it. You’ll find lots of info on Netherworld’s world building by following the link.
Oh, no, favorites. I love Lash and Teva both equally. Even my secondary characters. Without each one of them to play their role the story wouldn’t be the same.

4.) Where did you come up with the idea for this book?

Netherworld developed slowly with the opening of Dark Sentinel. I honestly didn’t see the dark world coming. I had a partial to pitch to Samhain Publishing. I remember my Netherworld unfolding during my live pitch to Christina Brashear nearly two years ago. Christina was absolutely fabulous while I was absolutely nervous!

5.) Where would you like to see your writing head in the future?

I hope to continue to grow a readership through Samhain Publishing. And I’m looking forward to a long fulfilling relationship with my agent as she puts some of my projects into play.

6.) What have you overcome writing wise to get where you are today?

Well, I had to actually learn the writing craft. I wrote five, six stories before I actually got a handle on my voice and my craft. Like most everyone else, I’ve felt the sting of rejection. But I suppose the hardest thing for me is overcoming my visual challenge to live my dream of authoring my worlds.

7.) Any advice for new writers?

Be patient and develop a thick skin. The writing industry is a tough business and we spend a great deal of time waiting.

Thank you Sonya, for having me! I enjoyed the questions.

For more information on this up and coming author, go to:
Melissa's author page:

Melissa Lopez
JOURNEYS OF LOVE every woman needs to take.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

A Changing Blog

I had over 120 posts on this blog site but deleted the ones that weren't writing related. I wanted to make this blog a place where I can post writing related topics and links, articles and interviews that will be helpful for writers.

Stay tuned...

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

All Rights

Those two words can be very, very bad for a writer. When you give up all rights to something you wrote, whichever publication you sold the piece to then owns it. Completely.

So what? You got paid. What's wrong with signing over all rights? The publication is free to resell your article and you get zilch. Let's say you sell the article to the fictional site: We'll Buy It (WBI for short). You sell it for $100.00.

WBI sends you a check for the $100.00. Then, they turn around and sell that same article seven times for say $50.00 each time. They've made a profit of $250 (I subtracted the $100.00 they paid to begin with).

Now, let's say you didn't give up all rights. You later sell the article as a reprint twice for $50.00. Again later, you sell it three times for $25.00. As long as YOU own the piece, YOU can sell it repeatedly and YOU pocket every dime.

Let's say you really, really dislike something. Maybe a moral issue. I don't know, just think of something. If the publication owns all rights to the article or whatever you wrote, they can sell it to anyone. To any site. Whether or not you like it. Whether or not it goes against your moral convictions and YOUR name will still be on the article.

You don't get paid again for that article once you give up your rights. EVER. But worse, you might do an Internet search for your work and find it on a site where you don't want it posted.

It's not worth it in the long run.

Monday, July 24, 2006

The First Clip

Okay, here's what I promised on how to get clips. Part of this information was taken from an article I wrote for a website, but I didn't give up my rights to the article so it's still mine. (That's another important lesson all writers should know. Learn which rights you're giving up when you sell an article or essay. If you give up all rights, you can never use that piece again. Ever. And ever is a long time.)

First of all:

The secret to getting published is that there is no secret. Nope. None. All it takes is determination and hard work. Being able to withstand rejection is helpful too because rejections will come, no matter who you are. Even writers with several novels and countless articles under their belts still get proposals rejected. It's just the way it is.

Take rejection with a grain of salt. Learn from it. Save all rejection letters and print out rejection e-mail (these will come in handy when you file your taxes once you begin to make an income with writing.)

So how do you get that first clip? Here are some ideas. Dream big, start small. Don't try the bigger name magazines right off the bat.

Most towns or cities have gazette type or smaller newspapers. Query the editor with an idea relating to your area or something that could serve as a public interest piece. Such as fire prevention (especially during Fire Prevention Week). Look up the stats for your area on fire related injuries, numbers of fires etc. Interview a firefighter. Talk to the chief (most of them are very nice and friendly and are glad to offer advice to help the public).

Interviewing isn't as hard as it seems. The first interview I ever did, I was so nervous, I figured I'd sound like Elmer Fudd.

A second way to obtain clips is through online websites. Though I don't recommend writers write for free, when you're first starting out, if you have to write one or two short pieces without pay, do so just for the clip. Just make sure it's a legitimate site and not something like Bobby's Hunk o' Junk. How do you know which website to submit an article to? What interests you? Start with that. What do you know? Gardening? Parenting? All about dogs? Horses? Sewing?

Writing contests can be another avenue, however, I would avoid any contest that charges any type of fee unless it's a big name contest such as those held by RWA.

Non profit organizations are also a way to garner clips. Newsletters for an animal shelter, a church, a hospital to name a few.

Don't forget to network with other writers. Join a writer's group. It may take you some trial and error before you find one that works for you, but they can be invaluable to a writer.

If you aren't sure how to do query letters, ask someone. Every thing I learned about writing has been through one of two ways 1.) Because some wonderful writer took the time to pay it forward and teach me and 2.) When I had a question, I would research it on Google (what does ? mean).

Kelly James-Enger has a great freelance writing success story. You can find some of her helpful articles online.

And for those who write fiction, a wonderful book on voice is "Finding Your Writer's Voice" by Thaisa Frank and Dorothy Wall.

I hope this is a help. I wish you all the best!

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Helpful Links

Often, I run across links that are enjoyable as well as being helpful. Thought I'd list some for you today. She has a great sense of humor. A big help to writers. I think I've listed this link before, but I can't remember. An author whose written some helpful posts for writers. This is a new one I enjoy reading.

Also, those of you who are writers, do you know about Preditors and Editors? It's a website you can use to check out whether certain agents or publishers are recommended or not. Sadly, not all agents or publishers are on the up and up. Many are waiting to take advantage of writers.

Here's the link

Next time, I'll try to remember to post on the subject of how new writers can get clips.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

For Writers

There's a quote on the bulletin board by my desk. The quote is:

"There are two lasting bequests we can give our children. One is roots. The other is wings." ~Hodding Carter Jr.~

I thought this week how a writer can apply that quote to his/her life. The 'roots' of a writer's life must run deep if you're to make it in the world of writing. Because there will be some tough winds along the way. Winds of discouragement: Family, friends, loved ones who may not support your writing, who may wonder why you don't get a 'real' job. (This is not the case in my life, but in the lives of some of my writer friends). The hours are long for the pay involved. Rejections will come. Sometimes falling faster than raindrops.

Put down roots to determine that you won't quit, you won't give up on your writing goals or dreams despite what comes. You'll make your roots out of determination, hard work and a thick skin.

The wings of a writer's life? Dreams. Aim for your dreams. Henry Ford said, "Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal." No matter what happens, keep your eyes on your dreams, whatever they may be. Give yourself wings. Like a new baby bird just learning to fly, you won't be the most graceful bird in the air. Understand that when you first begin to write, you might not think you're any good (and from talking to many writers, both unpublished and published) I can tell you that writers often doubt themselves, doubt their abilities. I'm talking about best selling, award winning writers.

What they did differently is they flew anyway, not knowing where they were headed, knowing only that they had to answer the call in their heart and fly.

One writer said she wrote her novel with the mindset she'd be the only to see it. When she finished, she decided to send it off anyway. So she did. Her book climbed the charts. I read her novel. She broke every writing 'rule' I've ever read or heard.

She went with her heart. Today, she's soaring on the wings of her dreams. Don't give up.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Interview With a Writer

Today, I was fortunate enough to be able to interview Alyice Edrich, a wonderful writer from on the topic of writing and selling e-books.

How did you get started writing e-books?

Alyice: "In 1999, I did a lot of research to become a mobile notary, now called a Loan Document Signing Agent. Back then, there wasn't any printed material and I had to learn everything by trial and error. I joined a few message boards where questions about getting started and my frustrations about finding mentors abound. I knew I only wanted to work part-time as a mobile notary because I simply wanted it to get me out of the house for a few hours (I was a stay at home mom), but when I saw so many people having a hard time understanding the business and getting started, I took all my notes and compiled them into a book.

At first, I printed bound copies at Kinkos and Office Depot, but then I began receiving requests to send the information over the Internet electronically. So I saved my word document as a pdf file and began manually emailing orders. Little did I realize back then, that I was actually publishing an e-book."

How has writing/selling e-books changed for you since you started writing them in 1999?

Alyice: "In the beginning, I manually sent all orders. That meant I was afraid to leave the house because if someone paid via Paypal, they were expecting their orders immediately. And sometimes, spam filters blocked the emails or their email accounts were too small to accommodate such large files. It was quite frustrating to say the least.

Today, I use a shopping card service that automatically downloads the e-books after payment and then disables the download link in 24 hours. It's been a huge blessing. Occasionally something will happen where the buyer isn't sent back to the download page, and I'll hae to manually email the e-book, but now I email it via a zip file which condenses the file and makes it smaller."

What's the biggest hurdle you've had to overcome writing e-books?

Alyice: "Getting started. I have an electronic file that has several outlines for e-books I want to write. I even have three e-books started. But I get easily sidetracked running the business end that I don't always make time to write."

What's the best thing about writing and selling e-books?"

Alyice: "The best thing about writing e-books is definitely instant publication. You don't have to spend weeks, months, or years pitching you idea to a publisher and then waiting two years for the book to be published. You spend six months to a year writing and perfecting your e-book, then within a matter of days, your e-book is ready to be sold electronically.

The best thing about selling e-books is definitely the money. With a traditional book contract you get so many cents on the dollar. With e-books, you retain the full retail value of the e-book, less any expenses in running your e-book business--which averages to between 30- and 50% of the profits."

What advice would you give someone just starting out with e-books?

Alyice: "You can't just write an e-book and put it on your website in hopes of gaining sales. You have to promote your e-book like a business. In other words, you need a business plan.

Ask yourself the following questions:
What audience does your e-book address?
What does it solve?
Who does it entertain?

Then market your e-book to that audience on a regular basis. Your regular basis may mean daily, weekly, or monthly promoting; it will all depend on your personal circumstances. Market your e-book through word of mouth, speaking engagements, published articles, advertisements, press releases, radio interviews, etc.

Alyice Edrich is the author of several work-from-home e-books, including Tid-Bits for Making Money With E-books--where parents earn hundreds of dollars selling information they already possess. You can visit Alyice at to order a copy today.