Thursday, 9 April 2015

Gods of Chaos blog tour: Guest Post by Jen McConnel @month9books @chapterxchapter @Jen_McConnel

Today we're hosting author Jen McConnel! She's a fellow Month9Book author who's got some words of wisdom for aspiring writers. First, let's take a look at GODS OF CHAOS, sequel to Daughter of Chaos!

Gods of Chaos (Red Magic #2)
Publication date: March 31, 2015
Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.
Author: Jen McConnel

The gods of chaos cannot be trusted.

Since battling her best friend, Darlena’s grip on Red Magic has been shaky. She heads to Scotland after the Winter Solstice in search of another Red Witch.

On a sightseeing excursion with girls from her hostel, Darlena arrives at The Vaults, a mysterious underground city beneath Edinburgh. But there is something there that make Darlena’s instincts go haywire, as she lets loose a defensive burst of Red Magic, putting everyone around her in danger.

If there was ever a time when Darlena needed the help of another Red witch, it was now. But beware the witch who wields Red Magic.

And now, Jen McConnel's guest post:

5 Nuggets of Wisdom for the Aspiring Author: by Jen McConnel

It seems like I always wanted to be an author; when I was a kid, my mom helped me make my first book, using contact paper and cardboard, and I dreamed of the day when I’d really see my name on spines in the bookstore or library. Eventually, I got caught up with trying to be practical, and I sort of wandered away from writing. But my first love was always there, waiting for me to come back, and I’m so glad I started writing again; I hope this time I won’t ever stop! Since it’s been a meandering path for me, I wanted to share five tips and things I’ve learned along the way to maybe help you on your own journey of words.

#1: Drop the aspiring and just write.

No one can validate your writing except for YOU. You might think that you aren’t a real author until you’ve found an agent, been published, become a best seller, fill in the blank. But the reality is, you are a real writer the minute you believe you are. So own it, and keep writing, and don’ wait for the universe to tell you it’s okay. Make it okay!

#2: Experiment!

Have you ever written poetry? Why not try some? What about Science Fiction? Do you usually create your work with an outline? Maybe it’s time to try pantsing, or vice versa. One of the best ways to keep your writing fresh (and to keep you from getting burnt out creatively) is to mix it up with different projects and styles. When you finish one draft, do something totally different, even if it’s just changing the way you edit your work. Variety is the spice of life, and it’s also a great way to stretch your writing muscles. Remember, no one needs to see these experiments (unless you want them to), so there’s no pressure. Try something new!

#3: Have fun!

Seriously. This is probably the biggest nugget of writerly wisdom I can offer. There will be times when you hate the work, but don’t let those times take over. Yes, writing is hard work, but it’s also an insane amount of fun. You get to create entire worlds on the page, no matter what genre you’re writing; every story is its own little universe, from characters to setting to story. It’s like perpetual make-believe; think back to how much fun you had with your imagination as a kid, and give yourself permission to approach writing with that same sense of wonder and play. Your work (and your heart) will thank you!

#4: Find your tribe.

Yes, writing is a solitary endeavor…when you’re drafting. But if you’re in this for the long haul, you need to gather your tribe around you. Join a writer’s group, or a professional organization. Go to workshops and conferences, take classes, or just show up to NaNoWriMo write-ins. Writer friends are some of the best friends; you can learn from them, and they will understand your unique brand of crazy at all stages in the creative process. If you write for kids or teens, the best place to start meeting your tribe is through your local SCBWI; the Carolinas chapter is my home base, and every year at the conference, it’s like the best family reunion ever. And once you find your tribe? Hang onto them; good friends make everything possible.

#5: Believe: in your work, and in yourself.

This is a nugget I picked up from the wonderful Neil Gaiman, in his poem “Instructions”: “trust your heart and trust your story.” Over the years, I’ve found that the single biggest factor to my happiness and the quality of my writing is my continued belief in myself and my work. Sure, there are patches (or canyons) of doubt, but I’ve found that I can push through the darkest places if I can return to my heart and remind myself of my belief in the words on the page…and my belief that I am the only one who can tell this story the way I’m telling it. Listen: no one else will ever write what you are writing; no one else will ever be you. So believe in your fabulous self, and keep writing!

About the Author:

Jen McConnel first began writing poetry as a child. A Michigander by birth, she now lives and writes in the beautiful state of North Carolina. A graduate of Western Michigan University, she also holds a MS in Library Science from Clarion University of Pennsylvania. When she isn't crafting worlds of fiction, she teaches college writing composition and yoga. Once upon a time, she was a middle school teacher, a librarian, and a bookseller, but those are stories for another time. Her fiction titles include YA and NA, and she also writes nonfiction. Visit to learn more.

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1 comment:

Jen said...

Thank you so much for hosting me!