Kick Ass Girls!

If you’re not aware, my debut novel The Doors was published by Fire and Ice, an imprint of Melange (you can find the link below if you’re interested in taking a look at a YA with a twist!)

Today marks the promotion of the new project by Fire and Ice #kickassgirlsofya. We’re celebrating the strengths of our female heroines and you can get involved too! Check out the calender below and hold steady for more info. I’m running the Instagram event from 8th April and it’s one that you won’t want to miss!

If you want to take part, here’s the link for my Instagram account and I hope to see you there: https://www.instagram.com/alicejblack/

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Orlando Sanchez on Writing

Name: Orlando Sanchez

Age: 48

Where are you from?

Born and raised in New York but I have travelled and enjoy it.

Tell us a little about yourself ie. education Family life etc.

Let’s see. I grew up in Queens and I graduated Hunter College with a BA in business and graphic arts. I am third degree black belt in karate and a second degree black belt in a related style. My family and I run a dojo and most of my seven children are actively part of our karate school as instructors and students. Family to me is the core of my life.

When and why did you begin writing?

My earliest recollection of writing is in my adolescent years when I kept journals (some of which I still possess and cringe at). After that I was very involved with a close group of friends playing Dungeons and Dragons and my storytelling led me to be the Dungeon Master which meant I created the adventures my friends went through every week. It was a lot more work than I imagined. Writing came easy to me when I was young and it helped me deal with my life issues during my teens.

Do you have a novel/collection published? Would you like to tell us about it?

Sure, I have several novels published. My Warriors of the Way Series is almost done at five books (working on book five this month or my editors will kill me). Its set in New York and tells the story of a martial artist who discovers a hidden world of warriors and guardians keeping us safe.

book1 cover

What inspired you to write your first book?

My first book The Spiritual Warriors went through several phases and names. I was inspired to write because I was told I couldn’t. Also it was the story I wanted to read and it didn’t exist. I was very naïve and a quite arrogant to think I could just wing it, which is what I did.

 

Do you have a favourite character from your book? If yes, who is it and why?

I really enjoy all my characters even the villains. That is like asking a parent who their favorite child is! If I were forced to pick I would have to say Sylk. I enjoy him because he is a catalyst in the story and plus he is badass. He is also the closest to a father figure in the story, which is just loaded with truckload of emotional baggage for me, which of course has to be in the book because-conflict.

Is your book part of series? If so what can readers expect to find in your series?

The Warriors of the Way series (five books) is set in modern NYC. You will find action, fighting (lots of fighting), martial philosophy, and hopefully a riveting story about self-discovery.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I have only been seriously writing books since 2012. I think my writing style is still evolving and growing. I enjoy first person mixed with third which I am told can confuse my readers. Many of them have told me that this style of writing gives the story a sense of urgency and intimacy. It works for me but like I said I’m still growing in this area of my writing.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Getting the story out the way I envision it in my head seems to be the most challenging. Sometimes words just don’t do the ideas, concepts and images justice. Also increasing my writing speed.

What are your current projects?

I’m currently working on Book five of the Warriors of the Way series-That book is titled The Master Warrior. I’m also working on a mystery for later this year and the main character in that story is a sorceress.

Can you share a little of your current work with us?

Resolutions, betrayals, huge epic battles, surprise deaths and endings.

Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

I would have to say as a writer we are always aware of whats going on around us as material for our work. My books are very much part of who I am and loosely on those who have impacted my life positively and negatively.

 

What books have most influenced your life most? Do you have a mentor?

The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho was a huge impact for me. In addition to The Right to Write and the Artists Way by Julia Cameron. I don’t have a mentor but I am always reading on improving my craft.

Have you ever been able to travel in regards to your books? What was it like?

Not specifically for the writing although that would be a blast. However I just got back from twelve days in London and I will be using that in my mystery thriller coming up. I took a ton of photos and spoke to lots of strangers just to get a feel for the city. That was an adventure to do and I hope to be able to visit other cities in the world for my writing.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

What can I say that hasn’t been said before? Here is the wisdom I have acquired in my long writing career of three years. Writing is a craft you will get better. Always strive (and study) to be a better writer today than you were yesterday. Don’t compare your writing to anyone else, you have a unique voice, and only YOU can tell your stories. Don’t be afraid to send your work out on the world. Get an awesome editor and yes, covers do matter- make them great. Write all the time and facilitate this for yourself either by carrying a notebook and pen or a tech equivalent. You will get your best ideas at some of the most awkward moments be ready for these because trust me you will not remember said best idea twenty minutes from now.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

THANK YOU. I am immensely grateful that you chose to share your time and attention with me. Thanks for the wonderful feedback even when I have confused the hell out of you. Thanks for the honesty and the fact that you return to keep reading my books. Most of all thanks for the patience.

What book are you reading now?

I am currently reading Story Fix by Larry Brooks. If you haven’t read it, get it. I also just finished Lies Ripped Open by Steve McHugh its his fifth book in the Hellequin Series and its excellent!

Do you remember the first book you read? If not tell us what your favourite book is and why.

There is no way I could remember the first book I have ever read. My brain just cant go back that far. I can tell you the books that stand out in my memory. Lord Valentines Castle by Robert Silverberg stands out for some reason(maybe the juggling?), Every summer for as far back I remember I would read all of Tolkien starting with the Simarillion and then the rest of the books. I don’t think I have ONE favorite you do know that’s almost impossible right? I do have a favorite series though and that would be Discworld, Terry Pratchett was incredible and his stories are fantastic.

Other than writing do you have any hobbies?

I go to the gym with one of my sons.I play video games with my other son. I do arts and crafts with my creative and amazing six year old daughter. I play handball and of course practice martial arts. I am also studying Japanese.

Do you have a day job? If so, what do you do?

I own and manage a martial arts school (dojo) and I am the head instructor.

What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?

I don’t really watch TV but I do have Netflix and I just finished season one of Blacklist. Prior to that I watched all three seasons of Luther. I also enjoy watching anime and that list is quite long.

Favourite foods /Colors/Music.

Favorite food: My wife’s Tandoori Chicken

Color: Indigo

Music: Vocal trance(for writing) Deep Vocal house (for editing) 

Links:

Blog: http://www.nascentnovel.com/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/OSanchezAuthor

Twitter: /twitter.com/SenseiOrlando

Instagram: instagram.com/osanchezauthor/

Bio: http://amzn.to/1ISpvWF

Purchase links for my novel: http://amzn.to/1ISpvWF

Forgive and Forget

My plan for this year was to write more and blog more. It’s actually going great. I’ve hit huge word counts each month (that I probably wouldn’t have if I wasn’t pushing myself a little more) and I’ve been blogging once a week. Sure, sometimes my posts are a little far between each but I’m there and that’s a big achievement for someone who couldn’t pen something in her blog once a month or on a regular basis.

Last week I didn’t get around to doing a blog post. I was leaving it until the weekend when I planned to catch up, but unfortunately, something happened that has prevented me from doing this. Something unexpected.

While I’m a little bummed about missing a goal I set for myself, I’ve also forgiven myself. After all, life is a chaotic mess sometimes and we can’t always guarantee that things are going to fall into place every time. They’ve actually worked out really well for me so far so I actually can’t complain! Therefore, I am moving past and moving on and saying hello now.

Things with me are going to be really hectic in the next few weeks anyway what with a hen party coming up followed by a week in New York! I’m busy packing for both (trying to be organised and stay ahead) while also trying to make sure I’ve done everything at work that I need to do and that it will all be wrapped up before I go away. I do struggle leaving work a little. It plays on my mind because I want to know the people I work with are going to be okay. You know?

But I will leave it go and I will enjoy myself. And in that same note, I have also decided to end my lent early. It’s not something I’ve done before (intentionally) but I have decided that since I’m going to be on holiday I want to be able to enjoy it fully, not be having to worry about what I’m eating or having to say no to something I really want to have. Therefore, my biscuit ban ends on the 1st April!

I still plan to try and write some when I’m away, particularly when I’m on the plane (on the six hour flight) and hopefully even just a little every night. I’m so excited for going away now, it’s been such a long time since I’ve been abroad and seeing somewhere like New York is going to be an amazing experience!

What do you have planned in the next few weeks? How do you work around things when they don’t work out? Do you shrug and move on or does it grate on you like it does me?

Working and Writing

I don’t know about you, but I’m not lucky enough to be able to write full time. I don’t expect to be able to write full time either and if I’m honest, I think I would become a major expert at procrastinating should it ever become the case! I work full time in order to support myself and my partner. I am lucky enough to actually really love my job. I am a support worker in a job where I meet new people regularly, work with some of the best colleagues I could ask for and I’m given full autonomy to make my own decisions and get on with my work. No two days are ever the same and I like that. I absolutely love it.

On the other hand, my job does get pretty tiring. I work a shift pattern of earlys, mids and lates. It’s a pattern that just recently came in too so I’m still trying to get used to it but after a full month run through I have to say I quite like it. The problem I’ve found so far is that, through my early shifts I come home still full of energy and raring to write. Which is obviously great.

The mids, I’ve found so far, have been the worst. The shift spans the middle of the day meaning I don’t really have a lot of time before or after work. I come home tired and struggle to write anything at all. The lates give me a little more time in the morning to write but of course it means I need to drag my ass out of bed and make a sustained effort to stay awake and write! (Okay, it’s not that bad considering I’m really a morning person!)

On top of this shift pattern, if you remember I’m going for a no zero day. So far I have succeeded (except one day in January) and I’m proud of myself but at the same time (particularly when I did those mid shifts) I found that I was maybe writing a couple of hundred words, if that, per day. And that really bums me. When I write I like to sit down and really crank out the word count otherwise I don’t feel like I’ve achieved much. Of course it won’t happen everyday but so far this month, my word count is pretty atrocious compared to January.

I have a lot of short stories on the go with ideas spinning through my mind as well as edits on a novel and I get frustrated when I don’t have time to sit and write (or edit). This weekend I’m off and as well as everything else (housework, DIY, gym, socialising), I hope to get some major writing done.

Do any of you work full time? What is your day job? How do you manage writing and working full time? If you don’t work, do you have any suggestions for us?

Final Resolutions

So I decided I wanted to formalise my New Year resolutions formally as a way to not only hold myself accountable, but as a way to look back and remember what they were (yes my memory is that terrible!) and to be able to tick off what I have achieved and when. I’m am also one of those people who likes to have lots of lists–the tickier the better–and so this is something I can print and relate to and tick to my hearts content!

  • Reading: I want to read at least one book per two weeks. It doesn’t sound like much but lately, it’s not something I’ve been achieving due to work and other such excuses. I will make time to read (and already have been) and I forgot how much I love it so.
  • Reviewing: for each book I read, I want to leave a review for the author. Since becoming a published author, it’s hit me how important it is to have those reviews and learn what your readers think of your work not only in a bid to promote but in order to make sure they’re enjoying what you’re writing because that’s pretty important. So if I can help an author by leaving a review, I’ll do just that!
  • Writing: the basic premise for my writing resolution is to have no zero days. I’ll keep it marked on a calendar for each day I manage to write at least something so I can keep track of my progress.
  • Submitting: I want to submit something every month to an anthology project or something else if possible. It won’t always be but it’s important to keep trying.
  • Editing: I have a lot of nano novels that are in dire need of attention. This year I’ve chosen four of them and I have divided the year up in three-monthly slots during which I will begin working on the edits of the drafts of each of these novels.
  • Blogging: I want to blog at least once a week this year. I want to have specific topics to focus on so I have direction and keep up my blog that way. I’m actually really looking forward to this one!
  • Room for change: However, despite all of this, I also want to recognise that sometimes things change. Life gets in the way and can’t always be ignored. I work full time which leaves me often tired and rather emotionally exhausted. Other times I can’t do anything until my house has been blitzed (does anyone else have this?) So therefore, if things don’t go according to plan, to give myself forgiveness and a break. Sometimes I’m just as bad at being too hard on myself for not achieving something I wanted to as being determined to achieve it.
  • The generals: On top of all of that I want to make sure I’m eating a little healthier and going back to the gym. I want to stay on top of the housework as much as possible and when I write, take some time for myself and retreat into my little space.

So there it is all laid bare in honest truth. My resolutions for this year. How do they resonate with your own resolutions? What do you want to achieve for the new year and what steps will you take to make sure you achieve them? Please feel free to comment and leave your own opinions and suggestions on the best ways to keep track and on target of the goals for the year. I’ll look forward to hearing from you!

2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here's an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 500 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 8 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

What an awesome way to be able to look back on the previous year to consider certain things, themes, people, writing, blogging. I had no idea I had posted that many times, in fact, I thought it was much lower as my normal blogging pattern is pretty bad. But it appears that I did quite well! Hopefully 2015 will be even more productive and with the determination I have, I know I’m going to achieve it!