For Readers & Writers

from Susan Dennard

May 30, 2014

  • Signed copy of Shades of Earth by Beth Revis
  • First chapter critique from Jodi Meadows (author of Incarnate)
  • Query critique from Jackie Lindert, literary assistant at New Leaf Literary & Media
To bid, simply leave a comment OR reblog with your bid amount. Plus there's still the raffle (donate ANY amount <$39, and you're entered into the raffle!), in which you can win:
  • A Kindle!
  • Signed copies of Something Strange & DeadlyA Darkness Strange & Lovely, and Strange & Ever After
  • Signed copies ofThe Assassin’s Blade, Throne of Glass, and Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas
For the Misfits:
May's Musical Inspiration
Wow, it has been FOREVER since I talked about music. Fortunately, I have lots of new stuff to share. :)

Right now, I'm obsessed with the Pillars of the Earth soundtrack from Trevor Morris. Holy. CROW. This soundtrack has so much epic and so much atmosphere.
  • Messenger of War -- I cannot stop listening to this piece. WHEN IT HITS THE 1:06 MARK. O_O You will die from all the epic.
  • Opening Theme (long version) -- More of the Messenger of War epic theme (but without all the build-up). So gooood. Plus, it goes into the more well-known theme music at the 1:11 mark.
  • Mystery -- Exactly as the title would suggest, there's so much mystery in this piece. I can just imagine deep conspiracies and twisted backstories.
Next up, I am totally hooked on the Wrath of the Titans soundtrack from Javier Navarrette (who scored Pan's Labyrinth).
  • Wrath of the Titans theme -- Oh. Yeah. I love the vibe of this piece, and it fits so well with the feel I'm going for in Sightwitch and Truthwitch.
  • Humans Stopped Praying -- I love how this piece starts out kind of dark and intense, but then it slips into a softer, more uplifting piece at the 1:30-ish mark.
  • Kronos Megalos (remix) -- Prepare yourself for some REAL INTENSITY. Wow. This music is reserved for BIG BATTLE scenes.
In the way of Super Obscure Music I discovered thank to Spotify (and am now obsessed with), I have Chance Thomas's LOTR Online: Riders or Rohan video game score.
  • Learning to Ride -- I CAN'T STOP LISTENING TO THIS PIECE. Something about the rhythm and the whole vibe of the music just makes my muse soar.
  • Urgent Errands -- This piece sounds just as "urgent" as the title would suggest. (I LOVE that background crack-whip-sound-thingy, btw.)
  • Theme for Rohan -- Haunting, epic, and perfect for all your fantasy inspiration needs.
Last but not least is the Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag Freedom Cry video game soundtrack from Olivier Deriviere. I have been waiting for this soundtrack ever since the game released last December. FINALLY, in mid-May, the music went up for sale...and I bought it the instant I woke up that day. ;)
  • Brothers and Sisters -- I love this piece, but ESPECIALLY when the chorus comes in at 26:03.
  • On to Freedom -- Aaaaaah, the strings and percussion and flute and unghhhhh. I just love this piece.
  • Never Again -- The build-up in this piece is so incredible. It feels like someone who has finally reached his/her breaking point--or the "never again" point like the title says. Right at the 37:27 mark is when he/she finally snaps. And then at the 37:53 mark, in comes the incredible choir...
  • High Seas -- So much of Truthwitch happens at sea, so it's no wonder I love music that's meant to evoke waves and ocean and no land for days. My favorite part is at the 39:48 mark. ;)
Aaaand, there you have it! That's what I've been jamming to for the month of May! What about you all? Feel free to share in the forum, or if you have any questions about Something Strange and Deadly orTruthwitch, just head over to the forums to ask.

 For the Daydreamers:
A Simple Recipe for Success

Quick note: I was nominated for the most helpful published author blog on YA Highway! COOL!! If you guys get a chance, do you mind voting for me? Thanks! 

So last weekend, my sister visited and we got to talking about what leads one individual to success and not another. Even though Lil Sis works in finance and consulting, she and I are very similar in how we approach our work. (We also both did our masters research using hierarchical data analysis, but she was working in political science while I was in marine science. Cool, though, huh? Great minds use the same statistical analyses, it seems. ;))

What Lil Sis and I decided was that there were was one simple factor to success:

When opportunity came knocking, was the person ready for it?

I believe that we all get multiple amazing opportunities in life, but if we don't have the right mindset, the right skill set, or the right goals, then we won't even notice the opportunity passing us by.

So we need to be READY for our opportunities when they come, and to do that, we have to follow this simple recipe:

2 tbsp. self-sufficiency/drive
3 heaping tbsp. resilience and patience
1 dash of talent and/or skill
1 tsp. kindness (optional, though highly recommended for opening up new opportunity doors)

First: Self-sufficiency and drive.

In other words, when faced with a problem, do you tackle it or avoid?

If Suzie-Q meets a problem and says, "I can solve that. Let's start by googling it," then chances are she's on her way to success. When her opportunity comes along, she'll either already be trained enough to tackle it or she'll be willing to learn what's needed. She's self-sufficient and driven.

If, however, Suzie-Q says, "Oy. That's...a sticky problem and it makes my brain hurt just thinking of all the work. 'll do something else instead," then she's probably never gonna progress in life.

Sadly, I find more people fall into the latter category of laziness. If they don't know how to do something or it seems hard...or scary...or just plain NEW, they shy away. They pay/beg/manipulate someone else in to doing it or they just find a different career/goal/dream entirely.

Well, good. I'm glad those people shy away because it leaves more openings for people like US (and I do mean YOU, dear reader. The sheer fact that you're subscribing to this newsletter indicates that you are TEACHING YOURSELF about writing and the publishing industry. To me, that makes you self-sufficient).

But there's another even MORE determining factor for success in this whole recipe: Resilience and patience.

If, after trying to teach yourself, you still fail to grasp that opportunity...and then you give up, well, CLEARLY there will be no success in your future.

But if, after failing, you go right back to the drawing board--back to google or the library or your favorite blog for more research, or back to the workshops and writing books and critique partners for more self-education--then you're well on your way to success. More opportunities will come, and you'll be ready when they do!

Plus, what's great about failure is that the MORE you fail, the less it sucks! Every time you stub a toe or get an agent rejection or fail to sell enough copies, the stronger you get. In the future, failure will intimidate you less, and your resilience muscles will grow larger! You'll even start to see failure as opportunities in and of themselves.

The final piece of the success formula is: Talent and/or skill. You don't need much of this because (and this is the awesome thing about talent/skill) you can ALWAYS ACQUIRE MORE. T
he more you fail (and then get back up), the more you learn. The more you learn, the better you get at something. :)

Each of the components of the recipe work together and interact, and having one component alone won't get you where you want to go. You have to have ALL OF THEM.

Oh, and of course, we can't forget a bit of kindness. Helping others and wearing a smile can go a LONG way to opening doors you thought were closed. That one favor you did all those years ago might just jumpstart a fabulous opportunity down the road. :)

With all of these ingredients--self-sufficiency, resilience, skill, and kindness--I feel certain all of you will achieve the success you desire. Maybe not overnight (as my agent is CONSTANTLY reminding me, "Publishing is a marathon, not a sprint!") and maybe not even after a few years, but when opportunity comes knocking, you'll be ready.

Now, to wrap up, here are the best writing-related links I discovered this week:
See you on Monday on the blog. If you have any questions about ANYTHING, drop by the forum to ask. Thank you so much for reading!

photo by Emily Rae Photography

Copyright © 2014
Susan Dennard
All rights reserved.

110 West 40th St., Suite 410
New York, NY 10018

I'm a misfit, a daydreamer, an animal-lover, and a (now gluten-free) cookie-eater.