Tag Archives: Writing

Wild Four Year Olds, Seashells, & Other Reasons I Took a Writing Break.

***To really put things into perspective before you read this post, I overcooked a whole chicken by 40 degrees while writing this. I forgot to set the timer because my child, who is taking her first nap in seven very busy days, distracted me when I popped the chicken in the oven. She cried hysterically because she wanted me to blow up her water wings, so she could fly like a bird on her way to nap time. When I told her no, she told me that I never let her pretend. Who am I to discourage imagination?***

This post was prompted after three people over the past month asked why I haven’t been

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Add graphic design and advertising to the list of distractions.

writing, and a fellow author tweeted to me, asking why I stopped advertising my books. First of all, thanks to those people for noticing and caring. It’s easy to feel like a lost voice in the overcrowded land of online advertising, and after trying to self promote my novel and short stories for a few years, I just needed a little break from that very time consuming process. The tremendous network, support system, and friendships I created during that time have been my greatest reward.

Enter the four year olds and seashells. For those of you who do not know me well, I am a “stay at home mom”. (Whatever the hell that really means. My adventures rarely leave me at home.) I am also an independently published author and owner and designer of Ocean Inspired Design. My child has one more year of being “stuck at home” with me, and making memories with her is my number one priority before the slinging of books and seashells. I am in charge of finding other parents of four year olds, and charming them with my quick wit (awkward humor), all to ensure that they will want to play with us on a regular basis. My daughter actually collects friends at an alarming rate on her own these days, so we stay very social and always busy … and hot. Alone time is no longer part of my vocabulary.

seashellcrabWhile on one of our many beach adventures last fall, I collected a massive amount of seashells. One passerby looked at me like I was some insane shelling fanatic, which I now am, so I won’t judge him for his accurate observation. That seashell collection turned into crafting as a hobby. I showed my work to a few friends and received lots of positive feedback, so I opened up my own Etsy shop. A little bit of play money never hurts, right? Basically, I filled my free time with a new creative outlet during a discouraging writing period: Open laptop, stare blankly at screen, yell at screen, pour a glass of wine, stare at screen again, close laptop. I have never been one to force myself to write, so I took a break.

Now that I have created an arsenal of beautiful seashell wall art, wind chimes, and coastal wreaths, I plan on using my very little free time in the evenings to write a series of short stories over the summer. I also have a half written novel, coldly abandoned in Microsoft Word, which I may finish or save to a USB and watch as it melts in the fire pit. Who knows? Go ahead and add self doubt to my list of writing obstacles. As you can see, I have enough things going on to distract me from writing, but I have not given up or lost my passion. I’m just a busy woman, doing my best to make ends meet and raise a child who will hopefully become a wonderful benefit to society one day.

Thanks for reading and to those who support my work and continue to reach out to me! -Corey

 

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Nasty Trolls: Now Bend Over While I Verbally Spank You!

Indie authors from indiebooksbeseenall over the world joined together yesterday to celebrate their pride and accomplishments. I had a blast, gave away almost 200 copies of my short story, Nobody’s Home, and enjoyed watching a diverse and talented group of writers celebrate one another. Despite all of the magical rainbows and fun, there always seems to be that one douche lord that wants to spoil a perfectly good time.

I put out a tweet, accompanied by my #IndieBooksBeSeen support picture, encouraging readers to buy an indie book. I stated that indie authors work hard, because we do; the majority of us at least. Enter douche lord! Douche lord decided to get his/her digital panties in a bunch over my tweet and stated something along the lines of, “Why should people support the work of amateurs?” Blah, blah, blah.

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I blocked this person, and I didn’t respond. As I’ve stated before, I do not negotiate with terrorists, trolls, or toddlers. (Okay! Occasionally with toddlers.) I then made a follow up comment on my own tweet, explaining that all authors, both traditional and indie, work hard. However, yesterday was INDIE PRIDE DAY. Indie authors do work hard. It’s not a simple task to write, edit, design your own cover, conduct research about an ever-changing industry, and market your face off around the clock, while you wait months or years to get noticed. All the while, authors are leading a very public life, which opens us up to pointless attacks from people like the above mentioned douche lord.

After we’ve polished our books, and feel that we are providing readers with quality material to enjoy, authors rely heavily on reviews. If we get enough positive feedback from our amazing readers, people might begin to finally notice our work. No reader is forced to buy our books. They can read the reviews and sometimes the first 3 chapters, before making the decision to purchase. You can usually tell if an author has written an entire novel in one night and neglected to edit their work. Allowing readers to discover this for themselves seems like a reasonable deal to me.

Thank you for reading, and please keep up the hard work. While writing may or may not lead all authors to financial rewards, your work is still an amazing accomplishment. It is important to respect and consider constructive criticism, but do not let anyone discourage you; particularly the nasty trolls who will eventually cross back over their bridge of negativity, so they can wallow in their own misery.

Warm and fuzzy wishes to you all,

Corey Schultz Carter


Tourist Fishing: Pull Up Your Beach Chair, Grab a Cold Beer, & Brace Yourself for Hilarity!

touristfishing3After befriending several natives on the beautiful Outer Banks of North Carolina, I was introduced to the masterful art of tourist fishing. I was immediately intrigued and wanted to learn the craft! Tourist fishing is absolutely one of the funniest things I’ve ever witnessed a group of grown men attempt. All you need is a beautiful seashell, a fishing rod, and a gullible passerby. The results vary, so if you attempt this on your own, be prepared for a variety of outcomes. Unsuspecting tourists either laugh it off or become somewhat enraged, once they finally realize they’ve been duped.

I like to weave my writing with a healthy balance of fiction, my own life experiences, and anything useful (or hysterical) that other people have shared with me along life’s path. In my romantic thriller novel, the fast moving plot remains suspenseful, as a money hungry psychopath attempts to stalk Annabelle across several states. Despite the seriousness of Annabelle’s situation, the characters manage to work in a relaxing beach day, filled with ice cold beer, volleyball, and tourist fishing.

Tourist Fishing Explained: An Excerpt from Shadows of Deception:

Worn out after too much liquor, sunshine, and volleyball, the guys sat close to the shore in their beach chairs. Laughter filled the beach as Cole taught Jake about the craft of tourist fishing. Annabelle and Kara watched from afar in amusement. As the sun began to set, the girls giggled at Jake and Cole from their giant beach blanket. Despite the circumstances, the four lifelong friends were glad to be reunited again.

“You see this shell?” Cole presented Jake with a beautiful, white conch shell and a fishing rod. “Tie the shell to the end of the line and cast it into the surf. When someone walks by and tries to pick it up, jerk your line a bit, and then slowly reel in the shell. To the unsuspecting tourist, the shell just seems like it’s drifting around in the surf. You gotta keep it within their reach though, man. They’ll just keep on chasing it!”

Jake laughed so hard that he nearly tipped out of his chair. “Cole, you’re a genius!”

Jake cast his first shell out into the surf and watched. “Wait… do people ever get pissed off at you? I’m not trying to get my ass beat by some steroid junkie.”

Cole laughed, “Most people are pretty cool about it. Once they realize that the shell is tied to a fishing line, they either look away in embarrassment, cuss you out, or come over and have a beer with you. It’s a great way to fish for hot women too!”

Kara yelled, “Hey! You guys do realize that we can hear you back here, right?”

Cole and Jake played dumb and continued on with their mischief. They wanted to catch one more tourist before they left the beach. Annabelle and Kara began cleaning up their mess from the day. They were both starving and ready to get cleaned up for dinner that evening. As they gathered all of their towels, chairs, and coolers into one neat pile, Annabelle could tell that Kara had something on her mind. Annabelle finished brushing the sand off of her legs and plopped back down on the blanket beside her friend.

“Just ask, Kara.”

Kara was glad it was Annabelle who broke the very obvious tension. “Annabelle, this is the first chance we’ve found to talk alone all day. I didn’t want to hit you with a bunch of serious questions, but there are some things I’d like to ask. You know, just between us girls kind of questions.”

Annabelle was curious. “What do you want to know?”

“Did Evan hurt you?”

“He roughed me up some: slammed me against a wall, slapped me around a little, threatened me with a knife, demanded all of my money. You know, typical things husbands do when they don’t get their way.” Joking was the only way Annabelle could deal with the truth right now.

“Annabelle, this isn’t funny! Did he do anything else to you?” Kara wasn’t sure how to ask what was really eating at her. “Did he rape you?”

Annabelle fell back on the blanket and closed her eyes as she spoke. “No. Not physically, but he did an excellent job of insulting me. Evan just wanted money, so I told him what he wanted to hear and, by the grace of God, got him the hell out of my house.”

Annabelle’s eyes swelled with hot tears, and she gave Kara a halfhearted smile. What she was about to say was so embarrassing that she had not even mentioned it to the police. Annabelle began sobbing and turned her face away in shame. She didn’t want Cole to see her like this.

Kara wrapped her arms around Annabelle and rocked her. “What is it? I’m your best friend, Annabelle. Hell, I’m your sister. Please, tell me what he did to you.”

Annabelle pulled herself together, wiping the tears away from her eyes. “Evan told me that the reason we were having trouble conceiving a child was because he was slipping birth control pills in my drinks.”

“What? How in the hell did that man manage to get his hands on birth control? What kind of doctor gives out contraceptives to men?”

“Who knows, Kara? I guess he paid some shady doctor a ton of money for it. Swear that you won’t tell anyone else about this. Not even Jake! This whole situation has been demeaning enough. If I could find a way to have that man’s balls removed, I would. God forbid if Evan Montague ever actually creates offspring.”

Kara snickered. “One thing’s for sure; Evan is definitely the captain of team crazy. Are we just supposed to wait around to hear from some detective while Evan is lurking around?

“I have no other choice, Kara.”

Kara nudged Annabelle with her elbow. “Jake said that if the police don’t do something about Evan soon, he’s going to track him down, put a sack over his head, and beat the hell out him!”

Annabelle rolled her eyes and grinned. “I don’t think that’ll be necessary, Kara.” They both busted out laughing. “I’m sure Detective Michelson will call me as soon as he finds something.”

Annabelle and Kara sat together in a comfortable silence, soaking in the last bit of sunshine and watching as the waves broke violently against the sandy shore. Cole and Jake gave up on tourist fishing and decided that it was time to grill up some of the real fish they had caught throughout the day. They helped the girls pack up the rest of their belongings and headed back up to Cole’s beach house for dinner. As she made her way along the sandy, moonlit path, Annabelle couldn’t shake the rising feeling of fear ignited by the surrounding shadows

Touristfishing2Thank you for reading! Please feel free to share your own experiences with tourist fishing. If, after reading this, you grabbed your fishing pole, and you are now rushing off to the beach to catch your first tourist, please remember to exercise great caution, and be prepared to hand out beer.

Corey Carter


The 24/7 Indie Author Experience: Writing & Promoting On Your Own

I’m sure that almost every seasoned Indie Author will tell you that the majority of us work endless hours with little pay in the beginning. This has been my own experience thus far. After I published my first romantic thriller novel, Shadows of Deception, I was proud of my achievement, but then I realized that Amazon wasn’t going to just miraculously sell my book for me. I spoke with my cousin, a well established Indie Author, and she warned me of the obstacles and hard work ahead. The purpose of this post is to give both new, and already established authors, some insight about my own experiences in this industry so far.

Start marketing before you write your book! 

Indieblog1I can’t emphasize this enough. I won’t lie; I had no idea what twitter was, until after I published my romantic thriller novel. No clue! With the exception of my own personal Facebook and Goodreads pages, I established all of the following accounts after I published my novel. It takes time to build these accounts; months and years. Here’s a basic list of platforms that you need to establish immediately, if you want at least 1 person to know your work exists:

My Personal Accounts Include:

Authors Support One Another:

It’s important to connect and communicate with people in your field. When you show support for fellow authors, bloggers, artists, and your readers, they are likely to reciprocate. Talk to people, be kind, and don’t just selfishly throw your book ads around and expect others to help you, when you don’t bother to help them along the way. Join groups and discussion forums on Facebook, Goodreads, and wherever else you happen to stumble across them. These groups offer an excellent learning opportunity. You get a taste of what other writers are experiencing, how they advertise, and you can even find beta readers for your books.

I believe in Karma & I’m also a very nice person:

I’m connected with so many authors on twitter, and like myself, they run some incredible book promotions to promote their work. If their book is free, I download it to my kindle. It may sit there for a month, maybe longer, but I eventually get around to reading it, and I post a review if I like what I read. They say it’s important for writers to read as much as possible, so it’s a win win deal to me! I have had several supportive authors buy my book and/or short horror story recently, and I try to reciprocate as much as my budget will allow.

Don’t Be an %@$#*%# 

I’ve also had authors download Shadows of Deception and The Black Shadow during a free book promotion. They then contacted me to inform me of their IndieBlog5“purchase”, rudely demanding I buy their book (NOT for free) and review it as soon as possible. It seemed to be more of a threat than a friendly request. There was no personal conversation to get to know me prior to these requests, and I had no idea who these authors were, so I was very turned off. I always appreciate support from my colleagues, but I do not negotiate with terrorists! Again, build relationships. Please.

Paid Advertising:

Clearly, if you are in a situation similar to mine, you don’t have a ton of cash to toss at a major advertising campaign for your book. Through my research and growing connections, I have stumbled across plenty of free advertising routes. Readers Gazette, for example, offers a ton of services and support for authors, and Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook are other useful, free options.

I have paid a reputable book promotion service to tweet my book for a week, and it didn’t have any significant impact on my sales, however, they also tweet about my blog posts upon request, which has driven a significant amount of traffic to my website. I have also dumped about $150 into paid Facebook advertising, but I did not find that to be very helpful. However, as an emerging author, I have not yet established a large fan base through Facebook, which I believe would make my ads visible to a much larger community of readers.

Taking the leap to become an Indie Author has been a major learning experience for me. I have made some excellent connections and friends in just a few months, and I value them greatly. My best advice is to do plenty of research before and while you are writing your book. When I’m not writing, I spend at least 5 hours of my day on book promotion and research about the industry. To effectively promote your own book, you have to be prepared to work around the clock, and it requires lots of time and patience on the part of the writer (and their significant other…..and toddler, in my case).

Thanks for reading,

Corey Carter

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Mirror by Sylvia Plath: A poem every woman should read at least once.

As an English major, I was required to read an extraordinary amount of literature during a four year period. Much of it I loved, and some of it made me fall asleep on my couch by 8:00 on a Friday night. One evening, when I wasn’t bored into a way too wordy book coma, I stumbled across this poem as I was doing a research project on the life and works of Sylvia Plath. I was so moved by this poem, that it has never been good enough to know that it’s always available right here on my bookshelf, so I printed it out, and it hangs proudly on my refrigerator for all of my guests to read. This is one of my many favorite poems.

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Mirror
by Sylvia Plath

I am silver and exact. I have no preconceptions.
What ever you see I swallow immediately
Just as it is, unmisted by love or dislike.
I am not cruel, only truthful—
The eye of a little god, four-cornered.
Most of the time I meditate on the opposite wall.
It is pink, with speckles. I have looked at it so long
I think it is a part of my heart. But it Flickers.
Faces and darkness separate us over and over.
Now I am a lake. A woman bends over me,
Searching my reaches for what she really is.
Then she turns to those liars, the candles or the moon.
I see her back, and reflect it faithfully.
She rewards me with tears and an agitation of hands.
I am important to her. She comes and goes.
Each morning it is her face that replaces the darkness.
In me she had drowned a young girl, and in me an old woman
Rises toward her day after day, like a terrible fish.

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