WIP: The Next Big Thing, Blog Hop

There’s this blog hop post thingy going around lately called WIP: The Next Big Thing. My friend, Cinta, was kind enough to tag me in her post along with some other great authors. Thank you Cinta!

Basically once you’re tagged in this blog hopping post, you need to do a few things. One of them is to thank the person who tagged you, again, thank you Cinta (for giving me more work to do 😛 😛 and more 😛 ). The next thing is for me to answer the questions that go along with the post. These are about my WIP (work in progress). Because mine is a book of poetry, I’m going to alter the questions a little more to fit the type of work it is. It won’t change much though and I’ll have fun with it. Lastly I’ll be choosing 5 other authors to tag in this post….they will become The Next Big Thing’s next big victims…MWUAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!! Ok now on to the questions 🙂


What’s the working title of your WIP?

I’m going to be honest here. I don’t have a title, working title or non-working title. I’ve put very little thought into this over the time I’ve been putting it together. It’s the same way with my poems individually. I don’t normally ave a name for them until the first draft is finished. Hopefully, since the collection is closing in on a finished first draft, I can put some thought into a title.

Where did the idea come from for your book?

I first thought about putting together a collection of my poems a little after I learned about the self-publishing/indie publishing world. Knowing that I could control virtually all aspects of my book helped me get excited to start working on something. I had a good amount of poems from a big senior project when I was studying creative writing. All I needed to do was to keep writing and fit all the pieces together. Sounds somewhat simple when I put it that way….though the works still piling up.

What genre does your book fall under?

Poetry. That’s not exactly a genre…but it’s something. I don’t really know the “genres” of poetry if there are any. I would say (that I’d like to believe) a good amount of the poems lean toward confessional poetry, similar to (but in no way as good as) Plath, Sexton, etc.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Again, I write poetry. I don’t think there’d ever be a movie made from it. If there was I’d like to play myself…if I qualify as a character….eh, I don’t even know where to go with this question haha.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Um…hmm….”A poet’s self-therapeutic journey though emotions, verse, and a thesaurus” Sound catchy enough? I’ll work on that one.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Self-published all the way! INDIES UNITE!!! On, let’s sound less revolutionary about this. I’d be going self-pub with this. I don’t want to deal with outside influences on my work, the cover, the price, etc. I want to write this collection, get it published, and make it as affordable as possible for those who want to read it. I already know that poetry is harder than anything else to sell in today’s (and probably any other time’s) market. I want the ability to sell it for a dollar is I feel the need to do so.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

My first draft isn’t finished yet. It’s not exactly close to being finished, I’m close to halfway I think. I’ve been working in the components of this draft for close to two years now, I think.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I feel that this question is strange. I’d like to think a majority of people answering the questions won’t be able to because they’ve been able to create a unique story without borrowing heavily from any one story.

If I needed to “compare” my work I’d say, no thank you. It have been heavily influenced by other poets, but I still feel it doesn’t resemble any actual poetry from someone else.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

There are a few people. They’ve inspired the writing of this book in different ways. One person is my father, a main component of these poems. Another person who inspired the writing of this collection doesn’t show directly in the poems. He’s Dr. James Allen Hall, my professor for four semesters at SUNY Potsdam and the person who helped me the most with my poetry over the years. Because of his classes and his advice I’ve been give the confidence and skill to attempt at making my first collection of poetry. Thirdly, there are all the poets I’ve read in the past. They’ve inspired me as well. Not just in how to write, but in making me strive to get my poetry to masses like they’ve done in their lives.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

My collection of poetry is some of the rawest, most honest, most painful, yet much needed therapy I’ve given myself over the years. Through writing it, not only do I get to share with others what goes on in my head…I also get to share with myself things that have been deep down for too long. But don’t worry, that sounds very emo…and it’s not.

I write poetry in attempts to keep it accessible to readers not familiar with or who do not lean toward poetry normally. I think there’ll be something for everyone in here. I can only hope.


Now time to tag some people.

I’ve Been Awarded The Booker Award By S.M. Boyce

I was recently nominated for The Booker Award by the super awesome S.M. Boyce.  Read the post that I was nominated on, from her blog.

“The premise here is pretty simple. This is an award for literary and book-centered blogs.” – Boyce

My mission is to:

  • List my top five all time books.
  • Add the award icon to my blog
  • Nominate 5 bloggers for this award and force them to make a post (maybe not force).

I’ve never been good at picking my favorite anything, let alone books. But I have it some thought and I found five that are very high on my list, if not ON top of the non-existent favorites list.

*Note in no particular order

1) A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway

A Moveable Feast is one of the books I read back in high school that stuck with me enough to read again later on. I used to read a lot of Hemingway’s book (most of his published works). This one stands out a bit more than others because it’s a memoir. I got a glimpse of his life and envied certain aspects. As a young impressionable high schooler, at the time, I wanted a life like what’s found in the book. I still have that younger part of me that wishes I could go to Paris and write all day (there’s much more to the book than that though).

Published posthumously in 1964, A Moveable Feast remains one of Ernest Hemingway’s most beloved works. It is his classic memoir of Paris in the 1920s, filled with irreverent portraits of other expatriate luminaries such as F. Scott Fitzgerald and Gertrude Stein; tender memories of his first wife, Hadley; and insightful recollections of his own early experiments with his craft. It is a literary feast, brilliantly evoking the exuberant mood of Paris after World War I and the youthful spirit, unbridled creativity, and unquenchable enthusiasm that Hemingway himself epitomized.

2) Into The Wild by Jon Krakauer

I first came upon this one from the movie by the same name. After falling in love with it, I needed to buy the book. After reading about McCandless’s journey I’ve also fallen in love with the book. I envy what McCandless did by going away from societal norms and living off only the bare essentials.

In April 1992 a young man from a well-to-do family hitchhiked to Alaska and walked alone into the wilderness north of Mt. McKinley. His name was Christopher Johnson McCandless. He had given $25,000 in savings to charity, abandoned his car and most of his possessions, burned all the cash in his wallet, and invented a new life for himself. Four months later, his decomposed body was found by a moose hunter.  How McCandless came to die is the unforgettable story of Into the Wild. (read more on Good Reads)

3) Riders on the Storm by John Densmore

This autobiographical account of the Doors drummer, John Densmore, and his life with Jim Morrison was my first dive into anything to do with The Doors. From there I started listening to the music and love it now. But what’s better is that the book itself turned me on to reading more musician’s autobiographies. It’d great to see the first-hand accounts of the musicians themselves. Much better to read (in my opinion) than biographies, even about the same people.

Here is the book that Rolling Stone called “the first Doors biography that feels like it was written for the right reasons, and it is easily the most informed account of the Doors’ brief but brilliant life as a group”.

4) High Fidelity by Nick Hornby

My top five all-time book list HAS to include a book full of top five lists. It has to. It might be my favorite novel ever (sorry everyone else). The story is great, the writing is genius, and I’m not ashamed to say I LOVE the movie based off the book. Never have I been able to say that a movie is almost word for word what the book is (this has nothing to do with the book love I guess). Just read it, especially if you’re already a Hornby fan. I love the guy’s writing.

It has been said often enough that baby boomers are a television generation, but the very funny novel High Fidelity reminds that in a way they are the record-album generation as well. This funny novel is obsessed with music; Hornby’s narrator is an early-thirtysomething English guy who runs a London record store. He sells albums recorded the old-fashioned way—on vinyl—and is having a tough time making other transitions as well, specifically adulthood. The book is in one sense a love story, both sweet and interesting; most entertaining, though, are the hilarious arguments over arcane matters of pop music. (read more on Good Reads)

5) The Grimoire: Lichgates by S.M. Boyce

*I didn’t choose this book because the author nominated me. I chose it because of the reasons I stated above 😀 It’s just that good

This is one of the first Indie published books that got me on the reading path I’ve been on for most of the year. In a way, you can say that without this book (and a few other great books I’ve reviewed many months ago) this blog might be MUCH different or not exist at all. Reading Lichgates was a jumping-off point for my dive into the “Indie Revolution.” I didn’t look back. It’s such a well written book. It touches just enough into the high fantasy genre, the New Adult AND Young Adult age levels, and poetic journeys to make it accessible to many readers, even though who might not think they are into some of those aspects. I know I wasn’t much of a reader of this type of fantasy. Now I want to continue in the genre. I also want to continue my journey through Ourea alongside Kara, the Vagabond. I can’t wait until (around) my birthday when book book, Treason, is released. That’ll be a happy day for the book world.

The Grimoire turns its own pages and can answer any question asked of it…and Kara Magari is its next target. 

Kara has no idea what she’s getting herself into when she stumbles across the old book while hiking along a hidden trail. Once she opens it, she’s thrown into Ourea: a beautiful world full of terrifying beings that all want the Grimoire’s secrets. Everyone in this new world is trying to find her, and most of them want to control the new-found power the Grimoire bestows upon her.  (read more on Good Reads)


To finish this post off, I’d like to nominate 5 other bloggers, and fellow book-lovers. The nominees are:

C.J. Listro

Jess Fortunato

Cinta Garcia de la Rosa

Miranda Stork

Amber Jerome-Norrgard

Another Set Of Book Title Poems….

By next week, I will have a name for this newly created series. For now it’s just what it is. I’m loving the poems you guys are sending in and would love (and appreciate) very much to keep getting more. I can write my enough to fill many posts, but I really enjoy getting guests in here and join in the fun. So please do. Email a photo of your book stacks and the text the way  you’d like to see it as a poem. My email is found in my About Me page.

Here are this weeks guest poems and a few of my own. Enjoy 🙂



Dear Levi
I Never Promised You A Rose Garden
That Was Then, This Is Now
Things Fall Apart
With Every Drop Of Blood
Going Solo


C.J. Listro

Slice of cherry,
evil beyond belief–
thirteen reasons why believing is seeing.


My poem (1)Robert Zimmermann

Into the wild
for one more day:

shortcuts to inner peace.


Robert Zimmermann

Pure poetry
a part of the sky

Indie Week: C.J. Listro & To Indie Or Not To Indie


To Indie or Not to Indie…

To indie or not to indie? That is the question. Whether ‘tis nobler—gotcha. No, I’m not going to write this entire post in Hamlet-speak. However, the question is an important one with fierce and violent supporters in both camps. Indie or traditional? If you’re teetering on the pre-published fence, like I am, it’s a question that has to do with much more than ideology. Not to be a negative Nancy (or Nellie, if you prefer), but a lot of people rush into the indie business before they’re ready. (Same for traditional, but agents and editors are pretty good about sniping them down.) Doesn’t mean they don’t have a killer story. But going indie is a lot more work than just writing the Great American Novel and hitting the publish button.

What? You mean, you can’t just send your story to Amazon and rake in the dollars? No. Not unless you’re a wizard. Are you a wizard? No? Well consider the steps of novel selling:

  • Write the story
  • Edit the story
  • Format the story
  • Design a cover
  • Publish the story
  • Distribute the story

Market the storyWhen you go traditional, you have a team of editors, marketers, designers, etc. etc. etc. who take care of the last four or five steps for you. You can’t exactly just sit back and smell the roses, but you don’t have to become an artist, editor, coder, and marketer all at the same time. Or hire them. For the indie, it’s more complicated. You edit the novel (or pay someone to do it). You design the cover (or pay something to do it). You distribute the story and get red in the face when major booksellers won’t carry your paperbacks. You arrange the book signings, the tours, the blogs. You send free copies to reviewers and cross your fingers. If you’re planning to do this as your day job, good for you. If you’re tacking this onto your day job, just add up the hours (and money!) and make sure you still have time to sleep.

If you do it well, it can work. Let’s take a look at two people with different indie trajectories: S.M. Boyce of Lichgates and Amanda Hocking of Trylle. Boyce is known for her charisma, her fierce marketing campaigns, and her magical editing skills. Hocking earned herself millions by releasing books every few months, networking like a madwoman, and losing a lot of sleep. But even Hocking went traditional in the end. Because she wanted to be a writer—and only a writer. And in my opinion, the wrong member of this duo is making the millions (okay, okay, I’m biased and in my opinion, Lichgates is way better written). But I digress. A traditional publisher can’t guarantee you success. Some indie books sell way more than their traditional counterparts (Hocking is the poster child for this concept). But what do both these women have in common? They’ve spent a lot of time and money. Editing their books or finding editors. Shopping for cover artists. Learning how to format for .mobi and .epub. These things are non-negotiable. There’s nothing less appealing than a badly-formatted indie e-novel with an MS Paint cover and a slew of typos. If you’re not willing to put in the extra effort—well, maybe indie isn’t for you.

Before the indie warriors stab me with pitchforks, I’m not anti-indie. I love indie. Indie has all sorts of advantages. You keep more of your royalties. You can sell cross-genre or experimental works that publishers are too afraid to touch. You retain creative control so some editor doesn’t slash up your work to ribbons and add a gross-looking cover. You can sell your brilliant novel that agents and editors just don’t seem to clamber for, even though the only thing wrong with it is that there are thousands of other books being submitted and you don’t have any snazzy literary connections. Indie publishing has broken open a literary world previously controlled by the tastes of publishers and now controlled by the tastes of the masses. You know, those people actually reading the books.

But if you want to go indie, you have to be willing to put in the time and money and schmoozing. And for miss poor, overworked, shy grad student over here (that’s me), that’s a commitment my life can’t handle right now. So I may publish a few indie stories for fun, or to get my name out there, but for my novel series (insert shameless Dark Moon plug), I’m going traditional. You know—if the planets align.

Moral of the story? Indie publishing has a whole load of benefits—if you’re willing to work for it.


About The Author

C.J. is a graduate student going for her doctorate in Clinical Psychology. She likes to pretend to be a hipster but let’s face it, she’s just a nerd. She graduated with a B.A. in Psychology and a double major in English from the University of Notre Dame, where she participated in a creative writing group named after a condiment. She likes to write about real people who don’t exist.  She can typically be found reading on her balcony, slaving in her office, or posting silly things on her sarcasm and citrus themed blog. She has an eye for good prose and a nose for that old musty book smell.  Her novels and short stories span the genres from YA fantasy to adult literary horror, but they’re currently locked away in her secret safe until someone decides to publish them.

For More Information on C.J.