Quote of the Day: “For a true writer, each book should be a new beginning where he tries again for something that is beyond attainment. He should always try for something that has never been done or that others have tried and failed. Then sometimes, with great luck, he will succeed.” Ernest Hemingway
Part 2: Hemingway’s Advice to Writers
As promised, today’s topic is part two of Hemingway’s advice to authors provided to Samuelson, a journalist and aspiring author at the time. His book is titled, Arnold Samuelson, With Hemingway, A Year in Key West and Cuba.
Note: The book was published after the author’s death in 1981. You may have seen the movie, if not watch it. The book is available in hard copy from Amazon and at most libraries.
We’re looking at the novels Ernest Hemingway considered the “good stuff” in literature. Although, not handwritten as the list below, in conversation with Samuelson, he said, “the best book an American ever wrote,” the one that “marks the beginning of American literature” – “Mark Twain Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.”
Hemingway’s “Good Stuff”
In looking over the book list, I’m reminded of another quote by Hemingway about studying authors considered the best after their death for that was the true sign of greatness for their work had endured. In doing so, Hemingway’s novels should be added to the list of good stuff for today’s reading.
In his own words…
“Here’s a list of books any writer should have read as a part of his education… If you haven’t read these, you just aren’t educated. They represent different types of writing. Some may bore you; others might inspire you and others are so beautifully written they’ll make you feel it’s hopeless for you to try to write.”
Note: You’ll find most of these at your public library.
The Blue Hotel by Stephen Crane
The Open Boat by Stephen Crane
Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
Dubliners by James Joyce
The Red and Black by Stendhal
Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
Buddenbrooks by Thomas Mann
Hail and Farewell by George Moore
The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
The Oxford Book of English Verse
The Enormous Room by E.E. Cummings
Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
Far Away and Long Ago by W.H. Hudson
The American by Henry James
Following Hemingway’s method of studying the writing of great authors whose works have stood the test of time, what author and books would you add to the list?
Here are a few of my favorites. Comment below with your must-reads of classic novels.
The Sun Also Rises – Ernest Hemingway
The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Catcher and the Rye – J. D. Salinger
James Bond Spy Series – Ian Fleming
Don Quixote – Miguel de Cervantes
Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
To the Lighthouse – Virginia Woolf
The Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
In Cold Blood – Truman Capote
Note: If you missed Hemingway’s Advice to Writer’s Part One, read here.
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For more information about my novels, click here. Thanks, Carolyn Bowen
Quote of the Day: There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self. Ernest Hemingway
Lifelong learning around my home means studying the art and craft of writing. This means I do a lot of reading and writing.
We all have our favorites and my reference to Ernest Hemingway probably doesn’t surprise you. I am fortunate to have read many of Hemingway’s novels and came across a book about him written by his friend, Arnold Samuelson, an aspiring writer at the time.
For the next few posts, I’ll share some of his advice to writers from the book by Arnold Samuelson, With Hemingway, A Year in Key West and Cuba.
Note: The book was published after the author’s death in 1981. You may have seen the movie, if not watch it. The book is available in hard copy from Amazon and at most libraries.
Ernest Hemingway’s advice on ambition, self-comparison, and originality:
“Never compete with living writers. You don’t know whether they’re good or not. Compete with the dead ones you know are good. Then when you can pass them up you know you’re going good. You should have read all the good stuff so that you know what has been done because if you have a story like one somebody else has written, yours isn’t any good unless you can write a better one. In any art, you’re allowed to steal anything if you can make it better, but the tendency should always be upward instead of down. And don’t ever imitate anybody. All style is, is the awkwardness of a writer in stating a fact. If you have a way of your own, you are fortunate, but if you try to write like somebody else, you’ll have the awkwardness of the other writer as well as your own.”
In the next post, we’ll look at what Ernest Hemingway thought was the “good stuff” writers should read.
Please take a moment and share your thoughts below. Thanks for following my newsletter. Wishing you a wonderful weekend! Carolyn
James Thayer doesn’t mince words when describing the personal habits and characteristics of writers who want to succeed. Focus and concentration, persistence in staying the course, a willingness to learn, and perhaps some luck are helpful.
The Essential Guide shows you the proven techniques of writers such as John Grisham, Tom Wolf, Jeffery Deaver, and Patricia Cornwell to name a few. These insights provide clues for creating a successful novel.
My quick take is to do what has been shown to work time and time again and you’ll be successful. However, there’s room for outliers, the incredibly talented writers whose genius places them on a literary throne of their own. Thayer talks about the rules of writing and the breaking of the rules by some authors and what that means.
Creating a timeline for your manuscript
Thayer provided proven steps for creating a timeline for completing your manuscript. He was forthcoming with examples from well-known authors. I especially liked Stephen King’s formula for having a first draft ready within a season.
I highlighted throughout the book and will place a paperback order to add to my bookshelves to keep handy. I just touched on a few of the techniques discussed. Read – then reread it to get the most out of this writer’s guide.
Quote of the Day: “I write not because I want to but because I am destined to.” Jules Haigler
The why behind the doing!
First, let me define some of the terms I’ll be using as to not complicate the understanding of what I’m saying.
Who is a writer?
A writer is a person who uses written words in various styles and techniques to communicate their ideas. Wikipedia
What is the difference between a writer and author?
According to the dictionary, a writer is one who expresses ideas in writing or engaged in literary work. An author is a person who writes a novel, poem, essay etc., and the composer of a literary work. You become an author when your books are published, but if your writings are never published, you remain a writer.
What is the meaning of authorpreneur?
Authorpreneur is the business end of being an author. To me, it’s no different than being an entrepreneur for starting up any kind of business. Of course, the author added to the shortened entrepreneur pinpoints the exact kind of business the person is involved in.
Learning to be an authorpreneur is about positioning yourself (branding) for the best possible outcome for your writing efforts.
You may be thinking I don’t want to do this! I’d prefer to just write. You are not by yourself. Many writers turned authors who became entrepreneurs feel the same way. However, even the bestselling authors are required to participate in the marketing of their books. Many embrace this opportunity to better understand their readers and to help keep the buzz around their names.
Being a writer and authorpreneur, in the business of promoting and marketing to sell and profit from your writing, is a lifetime learning experience. To accomplish this feat as a writer you need to write, read, and study the craft of writing.
Then changing directions towards getting your book/s in the hands of readers is another challenge in of itself. The same lessons apply to learn publishing and marketing – study, read, write, and learn how to expand your brand to reach new readers.
To improve as an author, I’ve found that it’s a good idea to read books in your genre, continue your daily writing and set aside time to learn more about writing.
Today’s blog post is the result of my applying these steps to my writing life. My personal standard is to never read a book I don’t think I’ll enjoy! Hope you enjoy my review of An Innocent Client by Scott Pratt!
Joe Dillard was a criminal defense attorney who didn’t like his job. Never did. His plans after law school were to work in the District Attorney’s office as a prosecutor. The problem, the pay didn’t line up with the time and cost of the education required to practice law.
The only choice was to open a law firm. He did with a promise to himself that eventually he’d quit and become a prosecuting attorney. But, first, he had to provide for his family and see his children through school. The pay was good. Yet, knowing his clients were guilty and worse, maggots of the earth tormented him. He desperately wanted to be on the opposite side, not defending the scum of the earth.
The years passed by and he was looking forward to retirement. The income from his practice and his wife’s management of their assets was securing their future. And, when the time was right, he’d call it quits. But, for once he’d like to represent an innocent client before he retired.
He was counting down the days to his exit from practicing law when a new case was offered him. He quoted a fee much higher than normal for he’d not planned to stay for a lengthy trial.
Money wasn’t an issue and his desire to represent an innocent client came to mind. All he had to do was talk to the young, beautiful woman charged with first-degree murder and decide whether to take the case. Would he finally get a chance to represent an innocent client?
If you enjoy reading legal thrillers and mysteries, check this one out! It’s a well-written story that’ll keep your interest.
Quote of the Day: “You don’t start out writing good stuff. You start out writing crap and thinking it’s good stuff, and then gradually you get better at it. That’s why I say one of the most valuable traits is persistence.” Octavia E. Butler
There are several things necessary for me to grow as an author/publisher. There are some easy, others difficult and timely to implement across my author network. First, the easy one – learn from reading books by others in the genre I write and publish. Second, study the craft of writing to become a better author. Third, learn how to build a business (tech stuff included) and marketing as a successful author. And, fourth, connect with other authors/publishers for mutual encouragement and knowledge.
Today I’m sharing my review of Write and Grow Rich. Reading this book was a learning experience for me and I’m grateful for the honesty reflected by this group of authors. Thank You!
This is a must-read for how-to become a successful author and/or publisher. The book answers questions that maybe you didn’t know to ask yet in your authors’ journey. If you’re seeking personal and professional growth, this bestseller will lift you up mentally while delivering education that’ll make a difference in your future.
Each of the authors candidly answered the same questions with a variety of descriptive details of their failures and successes plus the tools they used for creating and marketing their products. It’s interesting how the members of the group turned negative events and downfalls into positive learning experiences with a successful outcome.
I made notes while reading and noticed trends for becoming successful and how it was defined individually for the author. You can bet that I’ll follow-up with the resources offered by this group of experts.
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” – Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
Today we are chatting with Paul Anthony about his background, writing life, and latest titles. Get ready to be educated and entertained by one of the best writers of our time.
Featured Book Title: Septimus
Genre: Historical Fiction / Thriller
Hello, thank you for agreeing to this interview.
Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
Answer: I’m a retired police officer living in the Lake District, England. It’s one of the most beautiful places in the UK to live. We are a mile from Hadrian’s Roman Wall, ten miles from the Scottish border, and about twenty miles from Lake Ullswater. My wife is a retired nurse and we have three children and six grandchildren. A former counter-terrorism detective, I specialize in crime thrillers, true crime, espionage and anthologies for various charities. I’ve been published by a vanity publisher and a commissioning traditional publisher, but I much prefer the self-publishing path. I describe myself as an independent publisher responsible for editing, book covers, marketing, and everything else that goes with the book business. I have absolutely no desire to look for a traditional publisher and often wonder why so-called ‘indie writers’ spend endless hours looking for a publisher. It’s quite possible to achieve tremendous goals without help from these big companies.
Discuss your newest book.
Answer: My latest novel is entitled ‘Septimus’ and it is a welcome departure from my usual foray into crime genres. Having written two detective series I decided to take a break, refresh the mind, and produce something entirely different. Septimus is about the Roman invasion of the Lake District, a man called Hallin who stands in the way of the invasion, and a subsequent incursion into Caledonia (Scotland) where the Romans never really manage to succeed. More importantly, it’s about the characters in the book and how they interact with each other in times of war and peace. Hallin is the leader of a tribe and trades his skill with the Romans in order to try and forge a peace between them. This is quite a complex thing to try and achieve given a constant background of jealousy, treachery, betrayal, and murder as individuals within their own peer groups try to overcome each other and increase their personal power base. Some years back I wrote the history of the family name and learned more about my great uncle. His name was Septimus too. He was one of the first recorded white men to cross the River Sioux complex into Indian country. He was a scout for the US Cavalry and lived in what is now called South Dakota. Readers of Septimus will soon see how my great uncle’s life story inspired ‘Septimus’ and what drove me to write the novel.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Answer: I suspect it all began with reading. As a youngster, I read books written by Enid Blyton. A famous UK writer, she wrote children’s adventure books featuring the ‘famous five’ and the ‘secret seven’. These stories took you into the adventurous mind of a child and, somewhere inside there, it sticks. When you come out the other end, you want to be a writer yourself because inside you think – I wonder if I could write stories too?
What are your current projects?
Answer: I’m currently writing the next Boyd crime thriller. Boyd is a Cumbrian detective who gets posted into the nation’s Special Crime Unit. Here, he works with elite officers on major crime, serial homicide, terrorism, espionage, and all things internationally evil. These books have proved very popular over the years and have an excellent following here in the UK. Each one is a ‘stand-alone’.
What books have most influenced your life?
Answer: It’s not so much the books as the authors. My favorite authors are Gerald Seymour, Jack Higgins, Clive Cussler, and Terence Strong. They are thriller writers. Comparatively, you’ll often see me deep inside a non-fiction book studying another language, a religion, a political or economic doctrine, a biography, or a sports manual.
What inspired you to write your first book?
Answer: I was studying for a degree and writing assignments at 4 am every Sunday morning. When I finished the degree, my wife suggested I continued and inspired me to write my first novel. She told me I had a book deep inside me waiting to get out. I followed her advice and eventually published The Fragile Peace. Since then, I’ve written over 20 novels in the various crime genres but I tend not to write at 4 am on a Sunday morning anymore.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Answer: All my novels carry a message of some kind and that is not at all unusual. Crime writers generally promote good over evil and readers find themselves taking sides with the various characters that an author has written about. They are not that different from romance novels because readers find themselves drawn inside a good book supporting a character (or not) and wanting to know what happens next’. I try to entertain readers whilst also enlightening and informing wherever possible. My novel, White Eagle, for example, offers an explanation as to how terrorism can be avoided. Sound crazy and unlikely? Not if you turned the clock back to the end of various wars and incursions and rewrote the so-called peace agreements. (In some cases there are no peace agreements, hence we have continuing conflict) Terrorism, if you want to focus on that for a moment, is generally rooted in religion and sovereignty. Delivering a thought-provoking message at the same time as delivering a good read is not a bad thing to do.
What is the hardest thing about writing?
Answer: Constantly developing new plots that haven’t been used before whilst simultaneously writing at a pace that will keep the reader held and enthusiastic about the book they are reading.
What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?
Answer: Finding the time. I’m retired and enjoying life yet I still don’t have enough hours in the day.
What is the easiest thing about writing?
Answer: I’ve always looked upon my writing career as a hobby. Finding quality time to do something you enjoy is quite easy. You just move the goalposts so that you can do what you do best.
What book are you reading now?
Answer: I’ve just finished ‘Blue’ by John Sutherland. It’s an autobiography written by a senior police officer here in the UK and it’s an excellent read.
What does your writing process look like?
Answer: I write when it suits me and when the plot is ready to go down on paper. Most of the time I form a plot in my head, sit and make notes, draft it out into chapters and then – when I’m ready – I sit down and put it all together properly. It can take anything from three to nine months for me to write a book that I’m more than happy with.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Answer: Enjoy time with our family mainly – but I enjoy the gym and weightlifting, learning to speak Spanish, playing a guitar, and ballroom dancing.
From where do you gain your inspiration?
Answer: Usually from thinking about what I am about to write next.
What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around?
Answer: The advantages of self-publishing are that you can be totally independent and enjoy a work-life balance of your own structure. The disadvantages of being published by a large company is that you are in effect employed by them to write to timescales set by them. Both courses of action can be immensely successful. It really depends how much you want to put into the route you take and how much freedom you want to enjoy yourself. I think the reality is that all writers are vain. It’s in their nature. Another reality is that there are very few authors who actually make a lifelong living from writing books. Of course, they exist, but there are thousands of writers who will never make it a full-time life-enduring career for a hatful of reasons. Being retired, you can perhaps see why I favor a course that delivers a good work-life balance.
How do you market your books?
Answer: Daily via social media, by word of mouth, guest speaking at various functions, author interviews like this one, and having a good batch of business cards that are handed to people you meet on life’s journey. Wherever I go, I usually present a card detailing my website to anyone who might be interested in reading.
Why did you choose this route?
Answer: Historically, experience reveals what works and what doesn’t. Basically, marketing is a numbers game. The bigger the audience you create, the bigger your readership can grow.
What are your views on social media for marketing?
Answer: I think the book groups on Facebook are excellent devices to present your work. Using Twitter and LinkedIn also provide an audience and lead to more connections.
Would you or do you use a PR agency?
Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books?
Answer: Try to market every day on various platforms and try to diversify the style of marketing so that you are not seen to be delivering the same constant message over and over again. A book cover displayed is great but when displayed continuously day after day to the same platforms, it becomes potentially boring and doesn’t catch the eye of the reader.
What part of your writing time do you devote to marketing your book?
Answer: Coffee time in the morning and a half hour burst at night.
What do you do to get book reviews?
Answer: Nothing at all. I always hope for reviews but I don’t chase people for them. I think that is unfair. In any event, I’m very skeptical about reviews since there are far too many people willing to pay for reviews, give books away for reviews, swop for reviews, barter, and trade for reviews – almost to the point of ridicule. The world of ‘reviews’ lacks honesty on occasions.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Answer: Work hard, keep on writing, and never give your book away for free. Everything has a value however good or bad it is.
How can readers discover more about you and you work
Answer: Links to my website and blog site are below, as well as my Amazon page.
Thank you, Paul, for allowing us to get to know you and have a glimpse into your writing life. We appreciate your sharing some important points for writers of all genres and look forward to reading your novels.
This is where you can find me on book platforms and social media sites. I’ll be writing and sharing on social media. Hope to see you there, too! Carolyn Bowen
Social Media Hangouts!
These are a few of my social media hangouts! Drop by and say hello!
Quote of the Day: “Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.” Louis L’Amour
I’m pounding the keys again working on a new novel. Excited – is an understatement. I’m enjoying watching the words appear on the pages and sharing my writing journey with you.
Around the house
Tookie and Bubba Blue are still strange bedfellows with a new friend joining them soon – a swim mate for Blue.
With the flu season making a major impact this season, I’m taking extra health precautions being more health and fitness minded. It’s taken me a long time to find a balance between work and health pursuits. I tend to focus on my writing and marketing and lose touch with everything else. I’m proud to say that’s changing and I’m still able to reach mygoals.
Spring 2018 Countdown
There are 52 days left until spring 2018. If you haven’t already read my novels, now is a great time as winter bids farewell.
Where to Buy My Novels
Check at your favorite online bookstores and corner bookshops. Click the direct link to begin reading on Amazon. Happy reading!
Quote of the Day: Real seriousness in regard to writing is one of two absolute necessities. The other, unfortunately, is talent. Ernest Hemingway
I’ve resolved that 2018 is going to be the best year ever for me and my writing. First, I’ve got to clean out some debris from habits formed that keep me from my main focus – writing.
As an author they’re several hats we wear, or at least I do. From studying my craft, learning new computer applications (that’s supposed to help reach new readers) creating content for marketing campaigns, interacting with social media, I often have little time to actually write.
I need to set that in focus. For me to actually write – I need inspiration which usually comes through travel. It’s like a story is waiting to be told in the places I visit. Other words, I really need time to travel. If you’ve read any of my interviews, you know I write from the seat of my pants which makes editing a nightmarish expense as well as time-consuming. Yet, I wouldn’t trade the experience for the world.
There are two things that I’ve learned are important to success – time and resources to accomplish your goals. How often have you heard the phrase time is money? Well, it is! When you’re spending time doing something, its dollars spent. You could be earning money elsewhere or in the least relaxing.
Have a clear objective of what I want to accomplish in 2018. This means stating (writing it down) an objective that can be measured. For example, more books sales – what does this require of me?
What are the tools that I need to accomplish the objective? Depending on your objective, the tools may vary. However, for authors who already have published books, there’s a need to continue promotions while writing new works of fiction.
In this case, research the best promotional tools – whether this is book marketing companies to promote your books, search engine advertising, Amazon advertising, or any of the major social media sites advertising.
Make a calendar and schedule time for writing new content for advertisements and social engagement.
Writing – set realistic goals and time frame for completing the steps towards completing a new manuscript.
Implement new strategies – Yes, trust the new process, monitor promotions and update as needed.
Back to my question, how can I make time to accomplish my personal goal of publishing a new book in 2018 while at the same time continue promotions of my books? It’s all about time management!
Today’s author has to be on the top of the playing field with presence and genuine offerings. I’d love to hear what works for you! Wishing you a super 2018, Carolyn Bowen
Where to Buy My Novels
Check at your favorite online bookstores and corner bookshops. Click the direct link or image to begin reading on Amazon. Happy reading!
Quote of the Day: Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go. T.S. Eliot
Today we celebrate the British essayist, publisher, playwright, literary and social critic, and “one of the twentieth century’s major poets” Thomas Stearns Eliot, OM (T.S. Eliot) birthday (26 September 1888 – 4 January 1965). Wikipedia
His works continue to resonate with people today. The quote above is one of my favorites. Learn more about his lifetime literary achievements here.
Giving Away To Good Homes
Today I’m pushing, making an effort, to see how far I can go. What are my plans? I’m giving away (5 signed copies of my historical romance, Cross-Ties to good homes.
To enter for a chance to win: Follow my blogand leave a comment. The 1st five to participate will be the lucky winners. Good Luck! I look forward to a meet/greet soon.
Reviewers Wanted: Get added to my reviewers’ list and be the first to know about new releases and other fun events. Please let me know if you’d like to be a Beta reader for my future books.
If you like to read and review books, please let me know and I’ll provide a Kindle version (Cross-Tiesand/or The Long Road Home) for your reading enjoyment.
I am so excited about the reviews for my novels. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment (nice) about The Long Road Home andCross-Ties a historical fiction adventure. You make my writing life more interesting.
If you like to connect with others who enjoy books, join my new Facebook group –Circle of Friends. I look forward to seeing you there.
Please check out my novels here and at your favorite bookstore! Thanks!