Interview with Wendy Hammer

by Jennifer 2. August 2017 09:50

Today we have a quick talk with author Wendy Hammer about The Cross Cutting Trilogy.

Wendy Hammer lives in Indiana with her husband, a collection of books, and a stockpile of tea. Her fiction has appeared in Urban Fantasy Magazine, Evil Girlfriend Media Shorts, the Shapeshifter Chronicles, and elsewhere online. You can find her trying to keep it reasonably weird on twitter as @Wendyhammer13.


How does it feel to write "The End" on the series?
Pretty awesome, actually. Though I loved writing the characters, I’m really pleased I got the chance to finish the main storyline and tie the three novellas together. The challenge of making each novella both a full story on its own and a part of a larger arc was one of the most interesting and daunting aspects of this project. I learned a lot from it and that feels good.


How did you develop your characters?
I tend to develop characters by daydreaming. I walk or drive or sit around and think. Sometimes I chew on questions. Sometimes I look for images or music for inspiration. The Cross Cutting trilogy began by thinking about city-based magic. Who would wield it? What would happen if they didn’t have a territory they’d bonded to? I started to play with locations and an image of Trinidad took form. I first imagined her on the walking trail in Indianapolis with her knife in her pocket, ready to hunt down some monsters. After that, I needed to fill in her world. I looked for balances—complements and opposites.

Fireman Dan started from a memory from my college days. Iris was inspired by a picture I found during an image search for pink hair and tattoos. I liked the idea of Trinidad’s romantic interest being soft-spoken and sensitive despite looking fierce and formidable. I originally envisioned Ache with electric blue Liberty Spikes, but that didn’t last long. The daydreaming trial and error process is all part of the fun.


What was your initial inspiration?
I’ve always had a soft spot for the “making camp” sections in quest stories or games, and one of my favorite parts of that is when magic users set wards, people stand guard, and all that. It’s a cool bit of magic and has the potential for both danger and juicy character interactions. So, I guess the interest in location magic has been roiling about in my story-brain for ages.

The inspiration moment happened while I was walking around downtown Indy around GenCon and I saw a group of crime scene vans parked along the path. I knew then I wanted to write a story featuring those vans and figured what better foe than a protagonist most comfortable with her feet on the ground?


Why choose Indianapolis/Lafayette as your setting?
I picked Indianapolis for two reasons. First, the vans and the path I’d been walking felt like the best match for the story and I liked the immediacy of the experience. Second, I wanted to write an Urban Fantasy set outside of one of the genre’s mainstay locations.

I wanted to move the primary location to the Lafayette area in part because I live there and I know it better. But, really, I picked it because it has so many liminal spaces and contradictions. Lafayette/West Lafayette are joined but distinct. It’s urban and rural, industrial and agricultural, farm and factory. It’s also a college town. Purdue University is this delightful mix of scientists, engineers, and creators. It has a huge population of international students and they help transform the community in all sorts of exciting ways.

Lafayette felt like a solid choice for my found family of characters to live. And it’s my way of saying that even in one of those states many may only see in the red mass on a map, we’re here.


What happens when your editor says "Do more x" on revisions?
Most of the time, I’m happy to get confirmation that something wasn’t quite right and I see what needs to be done right away. I can brainstorm, rework, push, and pare back because I have a better idea of where the story’s weakness is. When it isn’t quite as obvious I reread the whole story. I think about what I was trying to do and take a look at how the pieces fit together. I try to see how deep the problem goes. I plan as best as I can and then leap on in. Sometimes I nail it. Sometimes I need another pass or two.


What was the best part about writing The Cross Cutting Trilogy?
It’s hard to choose, but I think it comes down to the satisfaction of getting the pieces to come together. The Cross Cutting title is partly a play on “cutting cross” or taking a short cut (appropriate for a Walker), a nod to the cut between worlds, and a reference to a filmmaking technique that interweaves separate scenes. Taking this journey with these characters, managing two points of view, and creating monsters and menaces that could work both independently and as part of a larger threat was wonderful.


What was the hardest?
Aside from learning some hard lessons about managing deadlines with work and life stress—I’d say one of the most difficult was appropriately handling the voice of the characters. The trilogy is basically written in a fairly close third. It’s my sweet spot most of the time because you can have some distance but still weave in lots of flavor in the narrative language outside of dialogue. At the same time, what can make prose vibrant runs the risk of falling into overkill or just sounding off. Trinidad is Caribbean and Irish—she’s a fighter, a POC, and not an American. Ache is a man, a musician and a body builder. Trying to see the world through their eyes and find language that reflects it meant a lot of research, a lot of open tabs for specialized dictionaries and websites, and a lot of conversation. It didn’t always make for speedy writing, but it was certainly rewarding.


What's next?
I’ve got a handful of short stories I’m working on, but my primary focus is a novel. It’s my first secondary world fantasy—with heists, magic, performing arts, rogue healers, and a whole lot of buried secrets threatening to rise up and turn everything upside down. I’m both terrified and exhilarated—which feels just about right.



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Author Etiquette - There Are No Shortcuts in Publishing

by Jennifer 26. July 2017 15:01

Today we are going to talk about something the more experienced writers already know; however, there’s a lot of new authors out there who desperately need to hear this.


There’s no F’n shortcuts in publishing.

There’s no magic formula for writing a bestseller. No easy way to make it to the top of the list. There’s a lot of work, time and effort involved in creating GOOD stories.


And there are however a lot of people trying to scam you out of your hard-earned money.


Take for instance, a publisher that guarantees your book will be accepted and placed in bookstores across the nation, for the low price of a few thousand bucks.


Or the Fiverr “editor” who does a few simple find and replace of a few things, has it back to you in just a few hours, then tells you that your work is ready for publication.


Or the “How I Earned $40K On One Book” instruction manual that someone put up on Amazon. Sure you bought it for $100, but it’s filled with stuff you can find on the internet for free.


Or the “graphic designer” who charged $50 for a book cover, that either doesn’t look right now that you’ve inserted it into (insert self pub venue here) or you discover it’s an exact copy of someone else’s cover.


Or … You get the picture right?


But it isn’t just publishers, editors, and artists that scam people. There’s a lot of authors who run scams out there too.


Like the author who copies someone else’s book, does a few find and replace name swaps and some minor plot changes then tosses it up on (insert self pub venue.)


Or the ones who use click farms to increase their page reads.


Or the authors who fill the first few pages with a somewhat decent story then you discover what amounts to cats sitting on keyboards.


Or the authors who give presentations on how to do X (usually something to do with publishing), but it’s really just a 30 minute pitch to buy their book.


And so on and so forth.


News flash. Publishing is work, and if you are going to succeed, you need to accept there’s no fast way to get to the top.


There are a few authors who seem very successful from the very start. They get lots of professional sales seemingly right off the bat, but what you don’t know is they’ve been writing stories for nearly twenty years, or have studied creative writing for the past ten. Or that they’ve got a stack of rejections and false starts taller than a house. They just hadn’t been published in some of the higher ranking publications before.


A vast majority of the writers out there start at the very bottom with poor grammar, purple prose, and wandering verb tenses. They have cardboard characters and the stories they write are probably very similar to the first few that you’ve written. And they too probably thought that what they wrote was excellent, and worthy of publication. But if you ask any of them now, they’d probably cringe and tell you that those stories sucked. And they probably do.


Becoming an author is a process. It’s a lot of learning, research, self-reflection, doubt and, hopefully at some point or another, success. It’s not something that you can learn out of a book in just a few days. It’s also not something that’s going to make you loads of cash right off the bat. It’s a series of growth spurts—sometimes quite painful—that pushes you forward with each story, critique, professional edit, and class and helps make you someone that writes something other people would like to read.


And I admit, it’s scary and long and hard and complicated. Having your work torn apart by a better writer is heart-wrenching. Seeing the flaws in your grammar, characters, and plot structures can be disheartening. Knowing that you are probably going to have to completely rewrite a story that you love, because it stinks, can put out the creative fire in even the most hearty soul.


But your next piece will be better for all of that. The story itself stronger. The characters more relatable to your readers. There are things that even the newest writer out there can do to help make them more successful.


Learn the Rules of Grammar, Spelling and Punctuation.

This really should be a no brainer, but it is. Even if you did poorly in school, it doesn’t give you an excuse not to learn how to use words, how to spell them, and to use proper punctuation. Start with the simple stuff like basic noun-verb sentences and build up from there. Learn when to use commas, periods and exclamation points. Spell-check can be your friend, but it can also cause you to use the wrong word. Some great places to assist you are Purdue OWL, Tipsheet, and other sites.


Get a Thick Skin.

Publishing, especially at first, is round after round of rejection. It’s not personal when an editor turns down your story. It’s not personal when a beta reader or editor finds a dozen plot holes in your novel. It’s not personal when a reader only gets through the first few chapters before putting a book down, saying “It’s not for me.” Have a few tears if you really need to, but either resubmit that story to another market, or write something better. Don’t sit around moping because those rejections, critiques and reviews are there to help you become better.


Research - Get Used to It.

You may not want to spend hours or even weeks researching particular elements of your story or novel but for accuracy’s sake you had probably resign yourself to the fact that details are important. And if you are writing certain genres, those details can be very, very important. Editors will point out inconsistencies and so will readers. You really don’t want to be on the wrong end of readers picking apart your story because of either science or historical details that can easily be found out with a bit of research.


Not only that, but you have to research markets, editors, publishers and even contracts. Don’t ever take anyone at their word, even if it’s your best buddy. Remember that the only person who can protect you and your work IS you. Make sure that any publishers you consider submitting to are legit. Check the credentials of an editor that you hire. Short story markets open and close regularly so be sure to read the guidelines. If you want to take a class, be sure that lecturer is someone you want to learn from and has professional credits to their name.


Always Remember Yog’s Law.

Money should always flow to the writer (Yog’s Law.) Except for instances where you contract out work such as cover creation, editing and formatting (mostly for self publishing), publishers should always give the author money. If a publisher asks for money to cover printing, distribution and publicity costs, DO NOT SIGN WITH THEM. This is a common scam, even if they are offering the moon on a silver platter. Many an author has spent thousands of dollars on a book and received only minimal if any returns.


No One Owes You Anything.

You have to make your own way in the publishing world. Sure you might be besties with award-winning authors and editors, but it doesn’t mean you can use that as leverage. Unless said author personally urges you to submit to their publisher or agent, it’s a big faux-pas to use Big Author’s Name for favors. This includes getting other people to read your work, trying to elbow your way into projects, or getting people to grant you special favors. If you work hard and are polite, people will begin to notice you on their own for your own merits. This creates much stronger friendships which could lead to open doors later on.


I know this is a let down to newer authors, but it is the truth. Becoming an author takes time, effort and sometimes money (as in taking classes). It’s not something that happens overnight. For most authors it takes years.


So be patient, don’t take shortcuts, and learn all you can, because it will make you a much better writer in the end.


The Cross Cutting Trilogy Cover Reveal and Pre-Order Link

by Jennifer 12. July 2017 09:44

The Cross Cutting Trilogy by Wendy Hammer will be released on 15 August 2017.

Pre-order on Amazon.

This gritty urban fantasy by Wendy Hammer is an omnibus of three novellas: The Thin, The Hollow, and The Marrow, and features two new short stories.

The Thin: Strange vans roam the streets as people go missing or turn up dead. The city can’t fight the monsters alone. Trinidad O’Laughlin is a guardian looking for a territory to bond with and protect. Indiana’s distress call may give her a chance at one—if she can survive long enough to take it.

The Hollow: Ache Vetrov is clairvoyant and a caretaker of secrets and lost things. When a mysterious wave of violence threatens to overwhelm the city of Lafayette, Ache begins to investigate. He and Trinidad O’Laughlin uncover creatures with concave faces devoid of feeling or mercy. Ache, Trinidad, and their friends must hold strong if they hope to find a way to stop the monstrous invasion before it erases everything.

The Marrow: Trinidad O’Laughlin has people to love and a city to watch over. Lafayette has become a true home. Her newfound peace is shattered when another cut opens in her territory and unleashes the malevolent force behind the previous invasions. Trinidad and her friends must defeat it before the whole world falls to its hunger.



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Famished: The Gentlemen Ghouls Cover Reveal and Pre-Order Link

by Jennifer 12. July 2017 09:38

Famished: The Gentlemen Ghouls by Ivan Ewert will be released on 15 August 2017.

Pre-order on Amazon.

It’s the driving force behind survival.

The Velander bloodline carries an ancient secret: power and immortality. But that power requires a key to unlock: human flesh. Gordon Velander finds himself an unwilling participant in a play for survival - but he won’t be powerless for long.

It’s the driving force behind passion.

The Gentleman Ghouls have survived for centuries due to cunning and careful planning but their world in unraveling. Gordon has vowed to take the Ghouls down no matter what, but he’s fighting a war—both within and without. The Ghouls, on the other hand, are not waiting patiently for the end to come.

It’s the driving force behind revenge.

With the Farm and the Commons destroyed, the Ranch is the last outpost of the Ghouls. With the bitter end in sight, Gordon must face his greatest challenge yet—claiming his own fate as other forces make their moves.

Revenge is sweet.
Passion is fulfilling.
But survival trump all.

This rural horror omnibus of cannibals, dark pacts, and ancient power by Ivan Ewert contains three novels: Famished: The Farm, Famished: The Commons, and Famished: The Ranch, and features two new short stories.



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Author Etiquette - How to Take an Extended Break

by Jennifer 29. June 2017 07:28

Welcome back to Apocalypse Ink Products. It’s summer and you know what that means: VACATIONS! Time to take some time to relax and have some fun.


Yeah right.


If you are like many authors, you’ve figured out that the work on creating books and stories never ends. There’s the thinking up part of our creative endeavours. Then there’s the writing part. Followed by the editing and wanting to torch the whole thing phase. If you think you are finished you don’t know much about publishing. Next up is the submission phase and all of those nervous habits tend to come out and play. If you get accepted great! If not, then lather rinse repeat that submission phase until either you get accepted somewhere, decide to self-publish or trunk that puppy.


Oh and hey, if you do get accepted, awesome! But then you might have a few (or a hundred more edits) before your story or book is ready for reading. Except, unless you put on a publicist hat, no one’s going to know you have books out. And then here comes the mad rush to get interviews, guest posts and reviews along with pleas to purchase the book.


And that’s just if your work is published by a legitimate publishing company (large or small.) For those of you who self publish, you need to add in cover art, design, formatting and proofing.


Some of this happens quite slowly, at times over the course of a year or more. But other times, this is a fast paced bullet train that takes just a few months.


And it doesn’t even include book signings, online events, conventions and guest speaking engagements.


No wonder some authors get tired, sometimes feel as though they are burnt out, and get writer’s block. They never take time to rest. And that’s not good.


Even the most steadfast of authors realize they’ve got to take a break. Mostly because it’s for their own well being. Creative wells run dry. Exhaustion and it’s many complications can put you at risk. Sometimes you have to take a break because of outside matters.


Breaks can be short or long, depending on the circumstances. A short break is easier to deal with. A day, two or even a week, can help an author feel refreshed and ready to hit the word mines again.


But what happens when an extended break is necessary?


That’s where things get a little more complicated.  


There’s an unspoken belief that taking time off can have a devastating effect on their income. If they are not actively writing, editing, and promoting themselves, their name and books can fall in sales. And it’s kind of true. Newer authors and authors with indie presses often feel as though they are rolling a boulder up a hill in order to get their name “out there.” As they become more well known, the boulder seems to get smalleror maybe it’s just that they are getting stronger. But a break, especially a long one, can find them back at the bottom with an even heavier burden.


So what do you do if you find you need a long break, but still want to keep your name out there?


First, take a look at how long of a break you are going to take. A week? A month? Longer?


If you are able to plan how long you are taking a break, you can alert friends, family and fans that you will be either gone entirely from the internet or will have limited access for a time. Plan things to do that have nothing to do with writing, promoting, or editing. Go experience life outside the writing cave. For a lot of people, this can revitalize their creative well and give them a much better outlook on what they are doing.


Next, decided if you are going “cold turkey” on book related things or are you going to be working a little bit. Prioritize what HAS to be done against what you’d like to do.


Say you are on a deadline, and the novel you are writing is due in 6 weeks, but you feel yourself stretched too thin. Drop the social media, the interviews, the promotion and finish the book. DO NOTHING ELSE. On the other hand, if you don’t have something pressing. Dropping off the face of the earth (not really) for a couple of weeks or month can be very refreshing.


Third, see if anyone can take over some duties, automate your promotion, or hire someone to take a load off.


If you really need a break, but find you just can’t let go of some of the duties, figure out a way to do them until you get back. Give someone admin rights to your professional page so that updates can be posted regularly. Use a social media manager program to automate promotional posts. Even better, hire someone to take over some of the duties you must have done while you are gone.


No matter how long you decide to be gone, it’s a good thing to notify your close friends, family, and professional contacts such as your editor and your publisher, that you will be gone for a little bit. This way, if something important comes up, they will either know how to contact you or will be able to handle things until you get back. A quick note on your website or professional pages will alert fans that you are unable to respond but will get back when you can. But don’t put out personal information such as where you’ll be, or if you will be gone from home. A quick note saying you are deep in the writing cave and unable to respond until project x is complete is fine.


Taking a break is necessary for everyone. Don’t be fooled into thinking you are weak or irresponsible for wanting to just drop everything and walk away. Everyone feels like that on occasion. Realize that breaks are healthy, especially for creatives who tend to overload themselves with various activities easily.


Take care of yourselves out there. Have some fun. Then, when your vacation’s over, get back to work refreshed and revived.


Author Etiquette - Social Media: Whats, Whys, and Hows

by Jennifer 30. May 2017 12:11

Welcome back to another edition of Author Etiquette.


No one ever said being an author is easy. On the production side you need to come up with stories, edit them to the best of your abilities, cringe at what your beta readers tell you, edit again, and then try to find a publisher. If that isn’t enough, most authors have to gain the attention of readers in a way that will lead to sales and reviews.


While in person author-reader connections are awesome (and should never ever be discounted), a great deal of author-reader connections are online, namely social media. Social media are online platforms that people use to connect with each other. They can have a variety of features or be very simple. The most common are Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Tumblr. There’s also other platforms out there. Some are video based, some photo based, discussion based and so on and so forth.


The main reason for people to use these social media platforms is connection with people. Who hasn’t felt alone even in the middle of a crowd? Who would like to talk with people who share the same interests? Social media provides people with a way to connect with the gaming community, other writers and readers.


The Whats

As said above, social media platforms are used to connect with people, but each has it’s own way of doing things.


Facebook is the most used social media platform in the world. It allows people to post photos, carry on discussions, announce events and create business pages. By using professional pages, using your promotion wisely and growing a fanbase, many authors find Facebook to be a very useful tool.


Twitter is probably the second most used platform used by authors. Unlike FB, all posts are limited to 140 characters. This greatly limits (and challenges) the user. Ideas and discussions are possible, although it’s often broken up into several posts.


Instagram is a photo sharing platform. While you can manage Instagram on your computer, the program is optimized for phone and tablet use. Photos taken with smart devices can be directly posted and then sent to other platforms for sharing.


Pinterest is another image sharing program. Unlike Instagram, Pinterest allows you to post images (including photos and scanned or created images) to your account and place them on different walls. Authors sometimes use the pins for character or setting creation, research, or finding a great recipe for chocolate cake.


Lastly, Tumblr is another platform that like Facebook and Twitter, allow users to post ideas and brief discussions along with photos. Unlike the other two, Tumblr users often post short segments of what they are doing. It’s not uncommon for an artist or author to share a segment of what they are working on currently. It’s also a great place for a short serial.


The Whys

So now that you know a little about some of the social media platforms, next is reasons to use them. Some authors cry foul at being asked to promote their books. After all, they are too busy writing right? In this day and age, even large publishing companies require authors to do a certain amount of promotion.


Social media is an inexpensive, fairly easy way to promote your work. Most platforms offer free accounts. They provide a platform for your work. Many also give you the opportunity to run ads so that you can reach more people. You don’t have to go anywhere in particular to use the platforms—your only requirement is access to the internet. And, for some people this is really important, you don’t have to actually socialize.


Social media also allows you to find people who are interested in your work. Not everyone is able to go to conventions or able to make a trip to a bookstore across the country for a signing. Your book might not even be available in a brick and mortar store, which lessens the chance of people finding you. However, on social media, a user can run a search on space opera, or vampires or steampunk, and—if you’ve set up your pages right—find you.

That reason right there is worth the sometimes annoyance of having a social media account.


The Hows

Now that you know a little about some of the social media platforms and why they are useful, we now need to move to the how to use it category. Each social media platform has different rules. To learn them, either find a quick guide or look at other people’s feeds and see how they are using it. Pay attention to the professionals in your field. If they state that some behavior is inappropriate, LISTEN.


While you may be eager to promote your book, don’t be in a hurry. Spamming, or posting mostly “BUY ME” posts, isn’t going to help move your books—most people will simply block you. The best thing for your promotional plan is to be you. What this means is post about your pets, interesting articles you’ve found, and ideas you want to share. Post only a promo once every 5-7 posts or 2-3 times a week.


Why? It’s simple. People are not on social media for advertisements. They are on those platforms to connect with people. They want to like you. Your books are just a bonus.


If you are new to social media, find one platform that you think you’d like to try. Make an account. Find people you know and begin gathering friends. Join some groups. Participate in discussions. Be you for a while before you start promoting. If you’d like, join a few other platforms and see if they fit you. You do not have to join everything (although it’s occasionally useful) or be active on every account.


I hope that you’ve found some insight on social media in this post. Remember that the most important thing is to be you, have fun, and don’t hurt other people.


Author Etiquette - Professional Writer Organizations

by Jennifer 27. April 2017 08:39

Welcome authors, editors, and other publishing professionals to another Author Etiquette.

Beginning authors often concern themselves with putting their stories on the page, but as they grow and network, hopefully they begin to learn there’s more out there than just a bunch of writers struggling on their own.

Writer groups abound. You can find them online and even in your own home town. Some are simply loosely grouped people with the common goal of writing. But others are chapters of higher level organizations with rules, regulations and a hopeful roadmap that leads to the future.

Today, we are going to look at professional writer organizations, what they are and what they represent as well as how you can join them.

What is a Professional Writer Organization?

Professional Writer Organizations are groups that have clearly defined rules and regulations and are there to help authors of all types. They can be large or small and cater to a narrow band of authors or have a very general appeal. Many professional writer organization organize under the rules of not-for-profit status. This means that they have to follow a set of strict guidelines to keep their business license and follow certain guidelines.These guidelines provide the basic structure for organization, governance, and growth.

One of the most important guidelines of these organizations is to protect the interests of the profession (which would be writing), further the interests of those involved (authors) and connect with the public on behalf of the profession. This means that the goals of the organization is to promote conditions which is beneficial to authors, publishers, and to our readers.

They are often run by a governing body that can consist of boards and officers. While the governing body does make many decisions, they must still follow the rules and regulations, and the collective will of the membership. To become a member you must fill out an application and usually pay some sort of fee. Those fees then go into different services that help authors.

What does a Professional Writer Organization Do?

As said above, a Professional Writer Organization promotes conditions which is beneficial to authors, publishers and readers, but what does that mean?

Depending on the organization, a Professional Writer Organization can have many different responsibilities. Some promote a standard of pay for professional grade publications. Some provide educational opportunities. Still others provide guidelines for contracts. An organization can provide some or all of these and perhaps many more services to its members.

No matter the size of the organization they all provide a few basic things. First is a way for members to network. Being a member of a Professional Writer Organization opens up the opportunity to speak with other members, either through forums, emails, or face-to-face meetings at yearly events. This can allow authors to find mentors, get advice, and even coordinate on new projects. Networking usually helps increase exposure for your work. It can also open up opportunities that you might not otherwise have.

Another thing a Professional Writer Organization does is provide education. Education can be as simple as a column in the newsletter or it can be as complex as a week long seminar. The topics can range from publicity to contract negotiations. Organizations can even arrange online workshops for their members, or have specific speakers during conferences. Educational opportunities strengthen the membership and help promote better conditions for all authors, even if they are outside the organization.

And lastly, Professional Writer Organizations offer warnings about publishing gone wrong, and can help authors resolve issues. I’m sure that all of you have heard horror stories about authors who were trapped in contracts that were exploitive, or publishers who didn’t pay. These predatory practices harm all authors. Many Professional Writer Organizations have clear guidelines on the standards of qualifying markets. Those standards can include pay rates and other standards such as on time payment. If problems arise, then issues can be brought up for mediation, maybe saving both sides from lawsuits.

Oh, I almost forgot. What organizations would be complete without awards?  Many Professional Writer Organizations organize and coordinate some sort of award. Some are limited to members, but others people outside the organization can win. Watch for information throughout the year as the award cycles don’t always correspond to a certain time frame such as the beginning of the year.

How can You Join a Professional Writer Organization?

Depending on the organization you want to join, it could be as simple as filling out an application and paying your fees, or as difficult as proving you earned $X in the previous year on your writing. Different organizations have different guidelines on who can join. And almost always, there’s a fee involved.


Many Professional Writer Organizations have different levels of membership. The full members (sometimes called Active Members) are usually those who have met all of the qualifying criteria. It could be a number of short story sales to professional publications or that you sold your novel to a qualifying market. Some limit full membership to only professional markets while others welcome self published and indie market sales.


Other levels include Affiliate and Industry members. These are often members who have a professional involvement with authors. Affiliate members include publishers, editors, illustrators, and publicists. Industry membership covers libraries, schools, and film organizations. Often these members have less privileges than full members.


Most organizations also welcome family members and have special rates for seniors. For those who have served the organization for a number of years, lifetime memberships are also granted.


Professional Writer Organizations are essential to the world of publishing. Without them, professional standards of publication would not be possible. They provide the structure for much of our current market and push for improvements. They allow members to network and provide warnings if necessary. They educate not only authors but the public as well on many matters that face authors and publishers. They welcome a variety of industry professionals into their membership so that a wide range of ideas can be found.


If you would like to know more about some of these organizations, please feel free to look at the links below.

And there’s many many more.


THE MARROW has been released!

by Jennifer 18. April 2017 09:01

Apocalypse Ink Productions | Amazon
DriveThruFiction | Barnes&Noble

Trinidad O’Laughlin has left her Nowherian days behind. She’s got people to love and a city to watch over. Lafayette has become a true home and she’s discovering how brilliant that is for her particular sort of magic.

Her newfound peace is shattered when a third cut opens in her territory and unleashes The Marrow. The malevolent force behind the previous invasions has ambitions to feed. Trinidad and her friends must defeat it before the whole world falls to its hunger.

At the same time, an ancient power is stirring, attracted to what Trinidad has been doing. She needs to figure out what it is and if it is an ally… or yet another enemy.

The Marrow is the exciting conclusion to the Cross Cutting trilogy by Wendy Hammer.


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THE MARROW Cover Reveal

by Jennifer 5. April 2017 09:21

The Marrow, Book 3 of the Cross Cutting trilogy by Wendy Hammer, will be released on 18 Apr 2017.

Trinidad O’Laughlin has left her Nowherian days behind. She’s got people to love and a city to watch over. Lafayette has become a true home and she’s discovering how brilliant that is for her particular sort of magic.

Her newfound peace is shattered when a third cut opens in her territory and unleashes The Marrow. The malevolent force behind the previous invasions has ambitions to feed. Trinidad and her friends must defeat it before the whole world falls to its hunger.

At the same time, an ancient power is stirring, attracted to what Trinidad has been doing. She needs to figure out what it is and if it is an ally… or yet another enemy.

The Marrow is the exciting conclusion to the Cross Cutting trilogy by Wendy Hammer.

Catch up on the first two books, The Thin and The Hollow, of the Cross Cutting trilogy today!

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Author Etiquette - Keep the Professional and Personal Separate

by Jennifer 29. March 2017 08:34

Welcome again to another Author Etiquette. We created this series to help authors navigate the highs and lows of the publishing journey. There’s lots of pitfalls, and we’d like you to survive and thrive.

Being an author is tough. There’s way too many things you never knew you needed to learn.The instruction book that gets you from the bottom of the slush pile to the best seller list somehow got lost in the mail. If you want to get noticed, you will have to do some promotion on your own. Any advice that you get, you need to have second and third thoughts about because, while it might work for one author, it might not work for you. Add the need to keep the professional and personal sides of your personality separate in correspondence, and things can become a mess.

Wait...What? Keep your professional and personal separate? That’s a thing?

Yes. Keeping professional conversations separate from personal ones is important. Whether it’s email, phone, voice, or video conversations, it should be clear who and what position you are talking from. This way, things don’t get confused and streams don’t cross.

Now for those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, let me explain.

When you email someone, you are either speaking as an individual (YOUR NAME) or as (YOUR NAME) author/editor/creative. And while most of the time these things go hand in hand, when it comes to business, you might have to set one part aside for a bit.

It’s easy to make great friends in the speculative fiction community. There’s a lot of great people out there who are friendly, smart, and charismatic. They are easy to be friends with. These are the people you share their posts, and congratulate them when they receive a sale, or something good happens. They often return the favor.

However, many of these people also wear other hats. They may also be an editor or a publisher or artist. They might have to make decisions based not on you but your work. It might not always be in your favor. (Please, please realize that rejections and business decisions do not always correlate to you as a person.)

For instance, when you as an author talk to your publisher about your contract, no matter how much you like the person, sometimes you will have to make decisions that makes sense for you as an author. This is a professional decision and all discussion in an email or on the phone should reflect that.

On the other hand if you are talking to the same person about cats, then those discussions are personal. You and the other person are no longer speaking about business--unless it happens to include cats--and have stepped into a personal discussion. 

See, professional and personal conversations. Everyone following? Good!

The biggest issue is keeping it separate

We are human, and we don’t always keep things separated like we should. When we don’t, it can lead to confusing situations such as an author giving the impression they are speaking for a publication, or miscommunicating important information. Things like that can get messy quickly.

How do you keep professional and personal conversations separate?

We’ll discuss emails first, then go to phone and voice/video conversations next.

Emails. When you receive an email from a person who could be wearing either a personal or professional hat, first decide what the email is about. Is the email discussing a story, edits, submissions, or other professional items? Or, is it a friendly email on personal issues? Or, is it both?

If it is a professional email, then answer or discuss the matter, but keep the discussion on topic. If there’s something else to discuss that isn’t professional—meaning pertaining to some sort of business—then make a note to start another email.

Yes, start another email with the personal discussion or opinion.

The same with a personal email. Keep the email in the personal sphere. If things drift towards professional or business make a note and again start another email.

If the email you receive is both, inform the other person that you will be separating the business and personal that way things don’t get confused.

A mixed email could look something like this:

Dear Jane,

Would you mind changing the main character of your story into a toad?

Also, I was thinking of getting a dog and your little precious is so cute. Could you tell me more about this breed?



Jane would be very smart to reply to this email and separate the professional conversation—changing the main character to a toad—and the personal conversation—talking about dogs—into two separate emails.

Making distinct separations in emails helps you in a number of ways. First, you will be able to search out that email (or file it) in relation to what is being discussed. Second, there is no confusion as to who you are speaking as. Whether it be (YOUR NAME) or as an author, editor, or artist. Third, there’s no confusion in the conversation. There is no crossover of personal conversations and business matters.

Phone, video, and voice chats are a little different.

There’s a flow to a conversation where you hear someone else’s voice and it’s a lot easier to change gears from professional to personal. Unlike emails though, you don’t want to end a conversation and then call back. You can continue the conversation; however, you should always be aware and make sure all other parties are aware of the change.

Most of the time, once pleasantries are out of the way (this is the hello portion btw) most conversations move on to business first. It could be a long or a short discussion depending on the subject. Once all of that is out of the way, then the conversation can move to personal topics. Simple phrases such as, “Now that business is taken care of,” or “Now on to personal matters,” signify the change in mode. No matter what signal you use, always remember: make sure that all parties are aware that the professional or personal discussion is over. If it happens to switch again, (which hopefully it won’t) again be sure that all parties are aware of what is happening.

Remember, it’s in your best interest to keep personal and professional matters separate. It makes things easier to track and helps keep you out of some sticky situations. Don’t cross the streams!


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