Lily Iona MacKenzie's Blog for Writers & Readers

MY BLOG POSTS COMMENT ON SOME ASPECT OF WRITING & READING.

The Ripening
The Ripening:
A Canadian Girl Grows Up

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

" Tillie’s grit and ability to face life’s challenges are inspiring, the seeds for later discovering her artist self. Tillie takes readers on a wild ride. Join her if you dare! "

Lily Iona MacKenzie Books
Curva Peligrosa
Curva Peligrosa

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

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FLING!
Fling!

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

"Fling! is both hilarious and touching. Every page is a surprise, and the characters! I especially loved Bubbles, one of the most endearing mothers in recent fiction. A scintillating read."

Lily Iona MacKenzie Books
Freefall
Freefall :
A Divine Comedy

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

" These fascinating characters will fill your imagination, defying expectations about aging, art, and what truly matters in life. "

Lily Iona MacKenzie Books
All This
All This

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

" Indicative of the title, the poems in All This range from the conventional lyric/narrative that captures an intense moment of emotion, an epiphany glimpsed briefly out of the corner of the eye, to the more experimental. "

Lily Iona MacKenzie Books
No More Kings
No More Kings

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

Each finely crafted poem in this powerful collection comes alive on the page while she traces the days’ journeys with a painter’s eye, a musician’s ear, and the deft pen of a poet.

Lily Iona MacKenzie Books
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Tag: publishing Page 1 of 2

For developing writers and interested readers: Demystifying the Path to Publication

For you writers who may be struggling to get a book-length work published, I invite you to join me as I share my thoughts on “Demystifying the Path to Publication”: https://www.discoveredwordsmiths.com/2021/05/06/episode-47b-lily-mackenzie-demystifying-the-publication/.

Writers and Readers may enjoy listening to Discovered Wordsmiths’ interview with me that explores my origins as a writer: https://www.discoveredwordsmiths.com/2021/05/06/episode-47a-lily-mackenzie-freefall/.

What if  a writer isn’t fully committed to his/her work

I recall when I was making what I hoped would be my last proofreading of the manuscript for Curva Peligrosa. I’d lost track of how many times I’d made this journey through the novel, trying to track down any typos, spelling, or punctuation errors. And each time, I seemed to find a few, making me wonder how I missed them to begin with. My publisher’s editor also had read the text closely, plucking out any weeds she’d found. But it was almost impossible to find them all.

Find out how a Canadian Girl in Training (ha!) becomes a famous writer (ha ha)

Find out how a high school dropout, Canadian Girl in Training, and single parent moved from Calgary to San Francisco and eventually became a published author! Lily Iona MacKenzie reveals how the lines between characters and author can become blurred!

Penpodcast.com is a place for authors to share their work and process with the world.

Dear fellow writers: Don’t avoid editing’s many layers!

editrSmall presses don’t have the reputation that larger presses do of having high editorial standards. But my experience with these presses, especially Regal House Publishing, the one that published my second novel, Curva Peligrosa, was revelatory.

Timing: Giving Birth to a Novel

When I give readings of my last published novel, Freefall: A Divine Comedy, I always spend time explaining that it didn’t come fully formed like Athena from Zeus’ forehead. I’d worked on parts of it for years, but eventually, the narrative solidified and attained its final shape. As is often the case for me, it took a while for the main character’s voice to fully emerge. It’s a little like a partial birth, if there is such a thing. The legs and arms came first. Eventually the rest followed.

What goes into launching a book for publication?

With a poetry collection (All This) and three novels published, I’ve experienced what it’s like to release a book into the world. Each work offers its own peculiarities. Partly it’s the difference in publisher (Little Red Tree Publishing released All This, Regal House Publishing put out my novel Curva Peligrosa, and Pen-L Publishing gave birth to Fling! and Freefall: A Divine Comedy), each having its own approach. But it’s also the difference in genre. While poetry has a more limited audience base, fiction is another animal, appealing to a wide range of readers. Consequently, in many ways, a novel has to be packaged differently. What ends up on the cover must stimulate a potential reader’s imagination and seduce him/her into buying the book.

Timing and the Creative Process

blank-792125_1920I’m thinking today of timing—how important it is to success. Timing and perseverance:  the two go together. I’m also noticing the seasonal aspect of creativity, how cyclic it is. That too is hard to grasp. I want it all the time. I’m afraid if it isn’t there, it won’t return. But I need to remember that if I pursue my creative impulses, and if they’re in accordance with my abilities, then there will be success. Maybe not financially, though that would be nice. But I’ll experience the satisfaction of achieving what I’m capable of.

Making Lemonade: How Writers Transform Rejection #AuthorToolboxBlogHop

juice-3175117_1920A writing friend of mine has papered her bathroom with rejection slips. Viewed in that context, they become less weighty and are put into perspective. As writers, we tend to think of rejections from publishers as negative. But rejections can be gifts in disguise, offering us a way to make lemonade out of lemons.

Writing for Love Or Money?

coins-948603_1920“Writing is like prostitution. First you do it for the love of it, then you do it for a few friends, and finally you do it for money.”  —Moliere

Recently, I’ve been struggling with this idea of writing for money. Moliere suggests writers are prostituting themselves if they write for money. But what of doctors or lawyers? Doctors charge patients for treating them, and lawyers do the same for advocating, things they’re trained and skilled to do? I’m sure Moliere had complex reasons for thinking this way about selling one’s writing, many connected to his era, economics, and his philosophy on life.

My Dance with Book Publicity

announce-3192838_1920I started this blog for readers and writers because I wanted to share my experiences of wading through the publishing morass, hoping others can learn from them. Most of the time, I try not to rant, but today’s post contains a little bluster and perhaps enlightenment for those who are new to promoting their books.

Waiting for the Write Moment

dog-2785074_1920This holiday season–as the world waits for Hanukah or Christmas or the new year or to see what new destructive act Trump will perpetrate on us–reminds me of how much waiting is a central part of the writing process.

Writing as an Affliction

home-office-336378_1920 (1)I was pumping hard on the exercise bike at the gym while having a conversation with the fellow riding next to me. We had introduced ourselves and exchanged backgrounds. He had just learned that I’m a published writer and was intrigued by the idea, congratulating me on the recent release of my second published novel Curva Peligrosa. I surprised myself by laughing dryly and calling writing an affliction.

No, Virginia, There Is No Santa Claus

Before I committed myself to writing and became part of that world, I had no idea what was involved in constructing a novel. I assumed the narrative flowed easily from the writer’s pen to paper (and in those days, a lot of writing was done with a pen or pencil, though typewriters also were used). The finished product looked so pristine that I couldn’t imagine it ever being anything but perfect. Not only did narratives read as if they had come fully formed from Zeus himself, but they also were error free.

Ha Ha Ha!

Now that I have another novel almost ready to find its place on bookshelves everywhere, I have a more realistic picture of what’s involved, and it’s a great illustration of publishing sleight of hand. What appears easy to a reader is anything but for the writer and her editors.

santa-31665_1280If you are the kind of person who continued believing in Santa Claus after your parents said he didn’t exist, you may not want to read on. I hate to disillusion anyone! But the only thing magical about creating fiction is what takes place between pen and paper—the imagination. Without it, our work would languish. Otherwise, the process is messy and, largely, trial and error.

For Curva Peligrosa, my novel that will be published this summer, I spent many years learning about my characters as they revealed themselves to me and discovering their stories. I’m not the kind of writer who outlines a plot in advance and then proceeds to write. Some can do this successfully, and maybe it’s not as chaotic. I can’t. I like surprises as a reader and as a writer. Planning in advance would eliminate much of the fun for me of inventing the novel’s world.

Once I discovered Curva’s center of gravity, I was able to get close enough to its finished form that I could ask fellow writers to read and comment on its chapters, giving me a sense of what was working and what wasn’t. When I felt I had a complete draft, I asked a trusted published colleague to critique it. Her feedback started me off on numerous rounds of revisions (we’re talking about over 300 double-spaced pages!) that included two professional editors I hired before I submitted the manuscript to Regal House Publishing and the publisher sent me a contract.

But that was only the beginning of several more rounds of content revising and close line editing. I’ve recently gone through yet another proofreading of the text, and I’ll need to go through it again after my publisher has also reviewed the manuscript.

I don’t mean to discourage any beginning writers, but you should have a realistic picture of what’s involved in giving birth to a novel, especially if you have literary ambitions and aren’t just writing pot-boilers. No, Virginia, there isn’t a Santa Claus, but writing a well-constructed novel can be even better.

Writers Versus Artist: Is There a Difference?

I’ve been thinking more about my reaction to some writers. One can be a writer…anyone can be a writer in the sense of putting sentences together that form longer narratives…but not everyone is an artist. That’s the distinction I want to make between the work some people are publishing whether the book is self-published or travels the traditional route via a publisher, small or large.

But why is being an artist different and does it matter? Art should cause us to see others, the world, and ourselves differently. When it’s functioning best, it shakes our usual way of thinking/perceiving and connects us to something deeper. Transcends the everyday. If I’m just writing purely autobiographical material that’s barely disguised as fiction and not inventing as well, I’m not opening the door for something new to enter. Instead, I’m reiterating what I already know and passing it off as art—regurgitating. That isn’t to say that memoir/autobiography can’t be artful. It can. So can novels that have autobiographical elements. But, again, it’s how it’s written—the literary techniques and imagination the writer has at his/her disposal that transforms the raw material into artistic expression.

I realize I’m creating a hierarchy here, but I do think the best writers are priests/priestesses in their own way, offering Slide1through the word, through their words, through our universal language, a vision of something else. For me it’s equivalent to viewing our surroundings from a ground floor window versus climbing to the highest level and seeing how much more there is to know about. A writer who isn’t an artist seems to be stuck with that ground floor view. A writer who is an artist has much more scope in his/her work. He/she is able to transform his/her material, and that’s where the artistry comes in. Transformation is at the basis of many religions, and I think it’s also the basis of art: transmuting base metal into gold as the alchemists attempted to do. Taking the letters that make up our words and giving them magical powers to shape our thinking and seeing.

Calling All Writers!

Authorpreneur: How to Build a Business Around Your Book by Nina Amir – Mini Review Tour & Giveaway Contest!47FD9726-306D-4C44-88BC-5212961DAD20

Writers rarely are able to support themselves on their book sales alone. Therefore, they need to find other sources of support. Nina Amir, who wrote Authorpreneur, believes that writers need to become skilled recyclers of their published material, whether fiction or non-fiction, so they can supplement their earnings doing something they love: writing.

Most writers are already familiar with on-line marketing and technology. They have had to become acquainted with these tools in order to sell their books. But their skills don’t need to end there. Nor does their income need to depend only on book publishing.

As Amir says, “If you want to support yourself as an author, write a book for the purpose of making money from related products and services. Write a book because you want to build a business around your book. Whether you write fiction or nonfiction, consider how to turn your book into a business.” This requires thinking like an entrepreneur.

If you want to discover how to extend the reach of your published books, read Authorpreneur. In it, Amir outlines the many ways to exploit one’s knowledge through a variety of activities.

Another one of Nina’s ebooks, The Nonfiction Book Proposal Demystified, will be on a mini tour during the month of March. Don’t miss the launch on the Muffin on March 4.

Click on this link to win a copy of Authorpreneur:

<a class=”rcptr” href=”http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/4221b3a8123/” rel=”nofollow” data-raflid=”4221b3a8123″ data-theme=”classic” data-template=”” id=”rcwidget_8wjabh79″>a Rafflecopter giveaway

Ebook: 85 pages

Publisher: Pure Spirit Creations (October 22, 2014)
ASIN: B00OT67PPO
Twitter hashtag: #NinaAmir

Authorpreneur: How to Build a Business Around Your Book  is available as an ebook at Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/Authorpreneur-Build-Business-around-Your-ebook/dp/B00OT67PPO) and Smashwords (https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/487071)

About the author:

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Nina Amir, author of How to Blog a Book, The Author Training Manual, and 10 Days and 10 Ways to Return to Your Best Self, transforms writers into inspired, successful authors, authorpreneurs and blogpreneurs as an Inspiration to Creation Coach. She moves her clients from ideas to finished books as well as to careers as authors by helping them combine their passion and purpose so they create products that positively and meaningfully impact the world. She writes four blogs, self-published 12 books and founded National Nonfiction Writing Month, aka the Write Nonfiction in November Challenge.

Amir holds a BA in magazine journalism with a concentration in psychology, has edited or written for more than 45 publications producing hundreds of articles, and has had her work published in five anthologies. She has self-published nine short books, including the popular workbook How to Evaluate Your Book for Success and 10 Days and 10 Ways to Return to Your Best Self. She is the former writing and publishing expert on the popular radio show, Dresser After Dark, hosted by Michael Ray Dresser, which has approximately 80,000 listeners per month. Amir also speaks and writes about self-empowerment, human potential, and practical spirituality.

 

 

 

 

 

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