“Where words fail, music speaks.” ― Hans Christian Andersen
I’ve hit a number of writer blocks in the years since I began writing Capture the Tide. And an interesting thing I noticed, about myself, is it wasn’t so much that I didn’t have an idea. But I couldn’t find the mood. I remember driving in my car and listening to the radio. And this song came on, I liked it so much I bought it for a buck 29 on iTunes! Anyway, why did I like it….. as I listened, an entire scene unfolded in my head, it was everything I needed. I simply needed to feel the feeling, hear it, away from the sterile blue light of a computer screen. The intense rawness of new love, of being young and totally impetuous. It’s so easy to forget those feelings when your day’s full of toddlers or you’re feverishly typing notes into your phone between ballet classes and lunch time.
I should note that if you find yourself having those wondrous feelings, enjoy them, please don’t stop to write them down for fucks sake!
Paid book reviews and the independent or emerging author.
Is it worth the cost or the effort? Good question. Here’s my take.
I entered the Readers Choice Awards Contest the last day of the deadline. My book wasn’t finished by my editor yet but I really wanted to find some literary street cred and based on my research, this contest is the real deal. Not only do they judge completed works, they also judge unpublished works. Exactly what I needed. For more info go to http://www.readersfavorite.com
Needless to say. I did not win the contest. If you’ve followed my blog for some time, you’ll know I’ve had my fair share of rewrites since I started my journey and my book is a different book today. However… I did submit an updated manuscript to be reviewed and got a really nice 5 star review for my novel CAPTURE THE TIDE. I will post the review below. I’m pretty pleased with it.
Now, some people might think that a paid review is meaningless. You’ve probably seen them on Amazon or something, but it doesn’t mean that all paid reviews are equal and that they don’t have value. As an emerging writer, I see no reason not to take opportunities that give you legitimacy. Everyone knows that a strong platform pays. Agents love a platform, and even better? A platform with a healthy following. And I’m working on that here. I don’t have staggering numbers like some literary bloggers, but I am pleased with the growth of my website and blog. But up until now I have mostly talked about my writing process and managing mom life with entrepreneuring, I haven’t actually discussed my book itself with much detail. And I think its time to change that. So for the first time on http://www.amy-westphal.com I’d like to use my professional review to share a taste of what CAPTURE THE TIDE is all about.
Readers Favorite Book review for CAPTURE THE TIDE by Amy Westphal
Reviewed By Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers’ Favorite
“Life is ugly, gritty, complicated, glorious, and beautiful. But not pretty. Stories are pretty, saccharin tales of black and white and no gray.” It takes Lauren a remarkable journey of discovery to learn those simple truths about life and about humanity as a whole. There will always be the good and the bad, the glorious and the evil, the happy and the sad. Even with a fresh start, a cleansing if you will, humanity will always recover with the same mix and make the same mistakes. When an asteroid hits Lauren’s world, it takes away her home, her family, her life. She has to start again. But she is not alone. And once she discovers that simple fact, she is able to fit together again the pieces of the puzzle that disrupted her life and will create her new life.
Amy Westphal’s novel, Capture the Tide, is more than an Armageddon story of total destruction and the survival of the few in the aftermath of disaster. It’s a powerful story about the human tenacity to recover and to try again, to survive in the best possible way under unknown, uncertain circumstances. The plot develops from Lauren’s entrapment in a bomb shelter, securely locked away for two years with no connection to the outside world. She has no idea what will await her when the clock finally ticks down and the lock on the door disengages. She finds a world totally different from the one she remembered, but also a world not so different. There are the good, the bad and the ugly, as well as the glorious and beautiful everywhere she wanders. Until she finds her family again and a way to create a new life for herself. A powerful plot that outlines the many faces of humanity. The description invites the reader right into the story and the characters are so real that the reader feels they know them intimately.
So honestly my darlings, what do you think? Does this sound like a book you would like to read? Inquiring minds (mine) want to know..
I spin my webs and draw them in, a gift they cannot see. They wear the cobwebs like nebulous bonnets of silken fluff and air.
My hands are a pyramid and my fingers tap, like a menacing villain without a face. Everyone knows but no one sees. I have a taste for it now.
Ignore the feeling, it’s just the wind that raises hairs upon your neck. For I am soft-spoken and golden crowned. Harmless, vapid thing.
Drink my water squeezed from stones and rest your weary head. Your brilliant mind is just too full and you are too very kind.
I did nothing at all.
In my previous post: What It Isn’t , I discuss constructive criticism and how important it is in many fields, particularly in creative fields. This poem was inspired by the people best known for giving destructive crits. You know the type… The one always taking credit for others good work, the one issuing blame and never taking responsibility…
I close my eyes to reclaim my peace. But in the darkness I come at you swinging with the force of a thousand wrongs.
Always swinging, never connecting.
I bat at you with kitten paws but you never even flinch. I kick and scream at your impenetrable walls, but you’re a fortress. I am lost.
I break the glass with banshee cries and chew the shards to sand. I taste the blood and spit it out, a bitter pool for your reflection.
I hope you drown.
I grab your hair and lick your face to mark you as my own. You belong to me I say when I Holyfield your ear.
And when I think I’ve won again, again you slip away. The light of day has won this one. It always is the same.
Enemy of my enemy, enemy mine.
In my angsty, community raised, couch surfing, teen years I wrote a lot of poetry. In lieu of a heart dotted i diary, I would sit with my Mazzy Star, The Doors or Alice In Chains and write all the wrongs of my little world. When I was done, I would smile and frolic off on my merry California way, refreshed and ready to do what teenagers do.
I miss that feeling of renewal.
I love poetry, and have mentioned how cathartic I find it. However, I seldom write it just for me anymore let alone share it. Especially since I get to read wonderful poetry everyday here on WP. But lately, in my self possessed, collected adulthood, my old outlet found me in a time of need.
So in honor of candor and stress relief I decided to share.😅😳
If anyone read Know When to Hold them…they will know that I’ve hit a rough patch in my publishing journey. I’m getting through it though, you lot are pretty nice with your encouragements and stuff..
Anyway. In my frantic rewrites, I decided to take my blog approach and go balls-to-the-wall, full-on pantser mode, and I must say I Like it! My blog is a semi string of consciousness that I edit lightly, but is almost essentially, my voice*
(Significantly less f-bombs, I’m a lady and a professional after all, not a ruddy fuckin’ pirate.)
And why did that work for me?
Well, to spare you too many details, the beginning of my book is overwritten. I tried too hard. But using my blog approach, I sat down and wrote like I was verbally telling the story to someone, I let the words fall out and land. When I was done, I had written something fresher and more vivid than I thought was possible after spending so much time with the material. And that felt amazing.
I’m not saying that this is the new way to fly, but I’m glad to know the next time I get stuck, I have a solution that doesn’t involve me sulking in the fetal position.
I am the patron saint of mediocrity. Antonio Salieri, Amadeus
For the past few days I have been in a pit of rewrites for my novel. After a handful of rejections from agents, I have done what the internet told me to do: review my first five pages.
First I read them over and tried to lightly edit. That didn’t work. So I deleted them and started over. I have printed them out, draft after draft, scribbled on them, crumpled, ripped, chucked… And just when I thought I was getting somewhere I was told they were so overwritten they couldn’t be read. 😔 That sucked…
So I recoiled into a ball of self-pity and sulked, cursing the very notion that I had a right to write a book.
And now? I am finally getting somewhere, I’m close to trying to shop it again. I might end up in another sulking assball but that’s okay.
They say the pen is mightier than the sword. It might cut deeper too. But nobody said this shit was easy. My advice? If you want to be a writer, keep writing, write more, write often, and be tough. Your book is yours but it is not you. Separate the work from the person you are and be proud that you aspire to something, because that is something.