Monday, November 22, 2010

Tips and Excerpt Today From My Guest, Light Gore Author, C.A. Verstraete

A good writer never stops learning. Here are some tips from one of the best of them, C.A.  (Christine) Verstraete. After that, you'll learn about her latest releasem what she calls a light gore.

10 Tips to Better Writing By C.A. (Christine) Verstraete

1. Start Small
Big projects can sometimes be overwhelming. Break them into bite-size pieces. I'm guilty of stressing over not writing the 20 pages a week I'd planned. Setting goals smaller, say three pages a day, will get almost the same results, with less stress. And if you don't get the exact amount done, don't beat yourself up. Even one paragraph or page is one more than you had before, and 500 or so words closer to your final word count.

2. Believe in Yourself
A bad review can hurt, but the pain is temporary. But that inner critic that tries to hold you back and tear down your efforts (you're a lousy writer, you'll never get anywhere, why are you wasting your time?...) can be worse. Believe in you. Think on what you've accomplished and move forward. One rejection is just that. It's not the end. Don't let rejection stalk you. Send that story or project to another publication and move on to the next one. Having at least a few stories circulating (some say 10 or 12 if you can) will prevent you from obsessing over one.

3. Learn From Others
Success comes from listening to others who have already been there. Check out the experiences of other writers in your genre. Study the works of writers you admire to see how they did it. No matter how many years you've been writing, there is always something new to learn.

4. Review Yourself
A little self-evaluation can be good to gauge where you are in your writing goals and progress. Be honest; don't be afraid to point out your shortcomings, but also decide on how to improve them. Maybe you've only been published in lower paying markets and are afraid to move to the next level. Pick a market you haven't written for; study the content, and work on a story to submit. Becoming a better writer doesn't mean treading water; test the waters in new markets.

5. Make Goals
Goals keep you from stagnating, but make them reasonable. Start with one goal, like planning to get published in a new magazine in your genre, or working on a story in a different genre or field. When that goal is accomplished, make a new goal. Keep moving forward and don't stress over how long achieving that goal may take. It isn't a race. Work at the pace you feel comfortable with.

6. Seize the Day!
Swallow your fears. Some opportunities only come once. Don't be afraid to take a chance. You never know where it will lead.

7. Don't Fear Mistakes
You'll make mistakes; you'll write less than stellar stories. We all have. It's one mistake. Even if you make the same mistake, it's not the end of the world. Learn from them. Every mistake only makes you stronger.

8. Don't Be a Victim
Self-pity leads to depression, which leads to inactivity, self-doubt and can be a vicious spiral that robs you of your energy and happiness. No matter your circumstances, there is no reason to sit still and be unproductive. Don't make excuses, do something. There are tons of free resources available. Use the Internet and computers at the library. See if there is a niche in your community where you can volunteer or provide a service. See #5.

9. Be Happy
We all can't be Rockefellers or live like them. Always thinking the grass is greener on the other side will never make you satisfied. Look closer and you'll find crabgrass and weeds there, too. Enjoy your faith, friends, family, pets, and hobbies. Shut off the computer and make time to exercise and have some fun. You'll feel better and be more productive.

10. Think Positive
It takes less energy to think positive and will add more to your life and your writing.

And now, let's see find out how C.A. managed to put her tips to work in her latest release:

A party at a day camp; a blind date on Valentine's Day. Can you say loser?, Jess thinks. But this is no ordinary party. The Killer Valentine Ball has more thrills than Jess ever expected--or will ever forget.

As they walked into the shadows, Jess noticed that things weren't quite as they appeared. Sections of the room lightened for a moment before being cast again in deep shadow. What Jess thought she saw in that split second made her heart race. On the dance floor, the same three couples stood, clasped to each other. Jess stared. She swore they never moved.

The music played quietly in the background. When the shadows brightened, Jess caught a quick glimpse of one of the couples. The young man's mouth gaped open. His partner's gown glistened with streams of dark ribbons. The light flashed again and Jess gasped. Those weren't ribbons! The girl's dress shone with dark glimmers. Like-like blood, she thought. No, it can't be! She looked back at Dylan, who shook his head and urged her on.

"Light tricks," he whispered. "It's not real. It's Halloween stuff, like the movie. Don't worry."

Want to find out what happens next?  You can for $.99, if you Click the link above.

The Killer Valentine Ball

Author: C. A. Verstraete
Cover Artist: Delilah K. Stephans
Word Count: 3,094; Pages: 15
ISBN: 978-0-9865875-6-6
Price: $0.99
Release date: October 1, 2010
Warning: Light gore

To connect with C.A. (Christine), you can find her online at these links:

Book page:

Please leave a comment or question below for C.A. (Christine). I know she'd like to hear from you.


  1. Now I just have to remember some of these great tips.

    Morgan Mandel

  2. Loved the tips and so spot on.

    Great post.

  3. Thanks for the reminder. The tips are great, especially the bits about staying positive and grateful for what you have!

  4. Thanks again Morgan for your great hosting!

  5. good tips. Maybe it's time to try submitting something.

  6. Excellent tips, all pertinent, all a teensy bit difficult. Thanks for the reminders--we all need them once in a while.Celia

  7. This is an excellent interview with Christine, Morgan. I enjoyed both parts.

  8. Thanks for the tips. It's so easy to go from rejection to dejection to depression. Reminders not to do this are always needed!

  9. Excellent tips, Chris, not just for writing, but for life in general.

  10. Wonderful tips, Chris! As Earl said, not only as they pertain to writing, but great to remember for life in general. The only thing I'd add is don't be afraid to try new things, that's how I ended up being published in a zombie romance anthology !

  11. Thanks old and new friends for stopping by! yeah it's so hard sometimes to get past the "writer blues!" We've all been there, right? (and hope to not go there again!) I often have to remind myself of these things, too!

  12. I'm afraid writer blues goes with the territory. After all, who doesn't want to be liked? There are so many possibilities for rejections we must rise above.

    Morgan Mandel


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