Tag Archives: J.A. Kazimer

WANTED: Writerly Friend for Fun and Whining

By Julie Kazimer

A couple of weeks ago the book and blogging wizard, Chuck Wendig, at his blog, terribleminds (a must read for every writer), had a guest post from Karina Cooper or as she prefers to be called, Karina F***ing Cooper, which I must admit has a nice ring to it.

On Chuck’s blog, Karina discussed what a writer should do while waiting for feedback from agents or editors. Her advice is, write another book. For the RMFW community that’s a no-brainer. We are writers. We write. A lot. Hundreds of thousands of words a year. Maybe as many as a few million during November alone. That’s just how we as a group, roll. While I highly suggest you read the rest of Karina’s very funny and informative post, I wanted to talk about one thing she mentioned.

Make friends.

She wasn’t talking Facebook friends or friends with that couple down the block who may or may not be swingers, but rather, writerly friends. Those who understand your plight. Who support you. Who find your three hour rambling about your character’s headspace, if not interesting, at least not cause for a homicidal rampage.

Now if you’re a fan of The Big Bang Theory, you might remember Sheldon’s quest to make a new friend. He followed a simple plan found in a children’s book, which had the basic message: make friends with someone who has a similar interests as you. FYI, if you’re reading this, you and I have a similar interest, other than me, I mean. We both love writing, and if you are like me, you could use at least two more friends (I hear you need at least 6 good ones to be your pallbearers).

So let’s be friends:

Check – Yes

Check – No

Check – Maybe Later, I’m Washing My Hair Right Now

Other than the obvious begging above, how do writers make writerly friends? We connect with each other, on social media, at conferences, at workshops, and at booksignings. We help each other out by providing helpful hints about PR, query letters, and what agent is looking for what.

Let’s start a RMFW revolution today. Let’s get to know each other. If you’re a member or even if you aren’t, post a comment with your social media info, and let’s start a conversation about writing or cupcakes, or even why the standard number of pallbearers is 6.

Friend me on facebook or follow me on twitter and I will do the same. I look forward to meeting you, and finding out how weird you really are. How do I know you’re an odd duck? Well, you’re a writer. I like that about you already.

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J.A. (Julie) Kazimer lives in Denver, CO. Novels include The Body Dwellers, CURSES! A F***ed-Up Fairy Tale, Holy Socks & Dirtier Demons, Dope Sick: A Love Story and FROGGY STYLE as well as the forthcoming romance, The Assassin’s Heart, and the upcoming mystery series, Deadly Ever After from Kensington Books. J.A. spent years spilling drinks as a bartender and then stalked people while working as a private investigator.

Learn more at www.jakazimer.com or on her writerly talk blog More Than a Little F***ed Up. She can also be found (way too much of the time) on Twitter as @jakazimer and on Facebook as Julie Kazimer.

Banned Books: Why Won’t You (Dis)Like Me?

By Julie Kazimer

A few weeks ago was banned book week.

My favorite time of year.

This is when we honor the long tradition of idiots banning books, and thereby making the author and the book famous. Book banning has a long history both in the United States as well as many other places in the world. Some extremists have even taken to burning said books, which doesn’t quite work the same in the digital age. It will be interesting to see how e-readers go up in the fire.

Now I’m no expert on this banning stuff, but I would ask those in the banning community to do me a favor, and ban all of my books. I’ve seen what challenging a book can do, on a much smaller scale, with the release of my F***ed Up Fairy Tale series (this is not a shameless plug, begging you to buy my books. The begging comes much later, so please keep reading).

Little ole me got an interview with the finest local news agency this side of the **********, CO city limits when CURSES! was released in March of 2012. Yes, I had hit the big time. Take a moment to bask in my coolness.

Moment up, as was my coolness.

For, a few hours before the interview, the reporter called me, said she had to cancel because the editor, felt my book, mind you he had never read it—like so many people who have never read, but nevertheless banned books throughout time—was inappropriate for their obviously highbrow readership unaccustomed to seeing asterisks where letters should be.

At first I was upset because the inappropriateness of my book and apparently of me, had this unintended effect. A reporter with The A.V. Club heard about the cancellation, and in 1st amendment style, wrote a piece on the whole sordid deal. Therefore, instead of an interview guaranteed to land on the driveway (and probably sit there for a few days) of a thousand potential readers, my book hit the inbox of tens of thousands.

This was a valuable lesson in marketing for me and hopefully for you.

Controversy is key to selling books. Forget if they are any good. Who cares about writing when people are tossing matches at your work. Love? Hate? It doesn’t matter as long as you sell thousands and thousands of copies.

Of course, I’m joking .

Who throws matches anymore? That’s what lighter fluid and those long grill lighters thingies are for. Safety first, people.

And with that lifelong lesson, please take a moment to buy or check out the following top 100 books challenged or banned from 2000-2009 (according to the ALA) from your local bookstore or library (might I suggest my favorite book of all time, number 21 on the list).

And then in this next decade, let’s really work on banning or challenge all my books. Seriously. Help a writer out. I’d be happy to burn your book in return.

Top 100 Banned/Challenged Books: 2000-2009

1. Harry Potter (series), by J.K. Rowling
2. Alice series, by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
3. The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier
4. And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson/Peter Parnell
5. Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
6. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou
7. Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz
8. His Dark Materials (series), by Philip Pullman
9. ttyl; ttfn; l8r g8r (series), by Lauren Myracle
10. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
11. Fallen Angels, by Walter Dean Myers
12. It’s Perfectly Normal, by Robie Harris
13. Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey
14. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain
15. The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
16. Forever, by Judy Blume
17. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
18. Go Ask Alice, by Anonymous
19. Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
20. King and King, by Linda de Haan
21. To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
22. Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily von Ziegesar
23. The Giver, by Lois Lowry
24. In the Night Kitchen, by Maurice Sendak
25. Killing Mr. Griffen, by Lois Duncan
26. Beloved, by Toni Morrison
27. My Brother Sam Is Dead, by James Lincoln Collier
28. Bridge To Terabithia, by Katherine Paterson
29. The Face on the Milk Carton, by Caroline B. Cooney
30. We All Fall Down, by Robert Cormier
31. What My Mother Doesn’t Know, by Sonya Sones
32. Bless Me, Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya
33. Snow Falling on Cedars, by David Guterson
34. The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things, by Carolyn Mackler
35. Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging, by Louise Rennison
36. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
37. It’s So Amazing, by Robie Harris
38. Arming America, by Michael Bellasiles
39. Kaffir Boy, by Mark Mathabane
40. Life is Funny, by E.R. Frank
41. Whale Talk, by Chris Crutcher
42. The Fighting Ground, by Avi
43. Blubber, by Judy Blume
44. Athletic Shorts, by Chris Crutcher
45. Crazy Lady, by Jane Leslie Conly
46. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
47. The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby: The First Graphic Novel by George Beard and Harold Hutchins, the creators of Captain Underpants, by Dav Pilkey
48. Rainbow Boys, by Alex Sanchez
49. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, by Ken Kesey
50. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
51. Daughters of Eve, by Lois Duncan
52. The Great Gilly Hopkins, by Katherine Paterson
53. You Hear Me?, by Betsy Franco
54. The Facts Speak for Themselves, by Brock Cole
55. Summer of My German Soldier, by Bette Green
56. When Dad Killed Mom, by Julius Lester
57. Blood and Chocolate, by Annette Curtis Klause
58. Fat Kid Rules the World, by K.L. Going
59. Olive’s Ocean, by Kevin Henkes
60. Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson
61. Draw Me A Star, by Eric Carle
62. The Stupids (series), by Harry Allard
63. The Terrorist, by Caroline B. Cooney
64. Mick Harte Was Here, by Barbara Park
65. The Things They Carried, by Tim O’Brien
66. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, by Mildred Taylor
67. A Time to Kill, by John Grisham
68. Always Running, by Luis Rodriguez
69. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
70. Harris and Me, by Gary Paulsen
71. Junie B. Jones (series), by Barbara Park
72. Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison
73. What’s Happening to My Body Book, by Lynda Madaras
74. The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold
75. Anastasia (series), by Lois Lowry
76. A Prayer for Owen Meany, by John Irving
77. Crazy: A Novel, by Benjamin Lebert
78. The Joy of Gay Sex, by Dr. Charles Silverstein
79. The Upstairs Room, by Johanna Reiss
80. A Day No Pigs Would Die, by Robert Newton Peck
81. Black Boy, by Richard Wright
82. Deal With It!, by Esther Drill
83. Detour for Emmy, by Marilyn Reynolds
84. So Far From the Bamboo Grove, by Yoko Watkins
85. Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes, by Chris Crutcher
86. Cut, by Patricia McCormick
87. Tiger Eyes, by Judy Blume
88. The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood
89. Friday Night Lights, by H.G. Bissenger
90. A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeline L’Engle
91. Julie of the Wolves, by Jean Craighead George
92. The Boy Who Lost His Face, by Louis Sachar
93. Bumps in the Night, by Harry Allard
94. Goosebumps (series), by R.L. Stine
95. Shade’s Children, by Garth Nix
96. Grendel, by John Gardner
97. The House of the Spirits, by Isabel Allende
98. I Saw Esau, by Iona Opte
99. Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret, by Judy Blume
100. America: A Novel, by E.R. Fran

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J.A. (Julie) Kazimer lives in Denver, CO. Novels include The Body Dwellers, CURSES! A F***ed-Up Fairy Tale, Holy Socks & Dirtier Demons, Dope Sick: A Love Story and FROGGY STYLE as well as the forthcoming romance, The Assassin’s Heart, and the upcoming mystery series, Deadly Ever After from Kensington Books. J.A. spent years spilling drinks as a bartender and then stalked people while working as a private investigator.

Learn more at www.jakazimer.com or on her writerly talk blog More Than a Little F***ed Up. She can also be found (way too much of the time) on Twitter as @jakazimer and on Facebook as Julie Kazimer.

Conference Gold: Dos and Don’ts for the Upcoming RMFW Conference

By Julie Kazimer

It’s my favorite time of the year. As the leaves start to fall, hundreds of fellow writers descend on the Colorado Gold Conference. In case you’re not signed up, you still have time. The conference starts on September 20 – 22nd. Learn more and register at http://www.rmfw.org/conference.

If you’re already registered, I look forward to seeing you there. I attended my first conference in 2007. I can’t believe how naïve I was about writing and publishing at the time. I honestly believed I’d be a bestselling author by Christmas that year. Yeah, I was a wee bit deluded.

The delusion continued, and now I find myself about to attend my 7th Colorado Gold Conference. I still get that swell of excitement and anticipation as the conference draws near. Thankfully I’ve learned a lot since my first conference. Now I will pass my vast (yeah, right) amount of conference knowledge on to you.

Do:

1) Wear comfortable clothes and shoes. Friday is usually more casual. Saturday night there’s a banquet in which some dress to kill while others wear jeans. Make sure to say hi to Marc Graham, he’s the guy in a kilt.

2) Network like mad. Too often writer make the mistake of thinking their pitch or talking to an agent or editor about their book is the most important aspect of conference going. It isn’t. The odds of getting an agent or selling your book during a pitch are low, very low. On the other hand, the odds of meeting someone at the conference, whether an agent, an editor, or a fellow writer on the same journey, who will eventually affect your writing career is all but assured.

3) Pitch a finished manuscript. And only a finished manuscript. If you don’t have the book done, then wait, and query the agent and/or editor when it is finished.

4) Meet Patricia Stoltey one of the RMWF Blog Editors. She is an amazing woman.

5) Have a 30 word or less elevator pitch ready and memorized to spout at will to anyone who asks. And they will ask.

6) Attend workshops. It’s amazing what you can learn from your fellow writers.

7) Ask Writer of the Year, Linda Joffe Hull, about her journey to publication. It’s a good one.

8) Take a risk. Do something out of your comfort zone. I’m not suggesting you dance on the bar, but why not head up to the hospitality suite for a before bed nightcap. Or take a workshop outside your genre. Join a group of writers bashing the latest bestseller even if you haven’t read the book. Hang out. Soak it in.

9) Join RMFW if you aren’t already a member. It’s worth every penny.

10) Say hi! I can’t wait to meet you.

11) Have FUN! The Gold Conference is unlike any other. Enjoy it.

Don’t:

1) Look up Marc’s kilt.

2) Be shy. Here’s an icebreaker for the shy writer. Walk up to anyone and say: “What do you write?” This is an instant conversation starter and even better, helps you to focus on your own 30 words or less description of your book.

3) Throw up on the agent/editor you are pitching. As hard as this is to believe, pitches are not the end all be all. So don’t be nervous. Your entire career isn’t on the line…

4) Hide in your hotel room. Oh, I know you…well, I know me. My name is Julie, and I’m an introvert. It’s not a sin. I just need more time by myself to recharge, especially when faced with hundreds of fellow writers. It’s tempting for introverts to stay tucked away in our hotel rooms, but don’t do it. You’ll be amazed by how much you can learn and grow in 48 hours. Be present.

5) Eat alone. If you’re planning to eat lunch at the hotel restaurant, when you’re standing in line, look for others who appear alone or in a small group and join them for lunch. You’ll be amazed by who you can meet.

6) Put too much pressure on yourself. This weekend is about learning your craft, enjoying fellow writers, and gathering energy to keep on writing.

7) One more thing, try not to laugh at Mario Acevedo’s Hawaiian shirt.

Anyone have other advice for conference season? Is there anything you are looking forward to doing or workshop you plan on attending?

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J.A. (Julie) Kazimer lives in Denver, CO. Novels include CURSES! A F***ed-Up Fairy Tale, Holy Socks & Dirtier Demons, Dope Sick: A Love Story and FROGGY STYLE as well as the forthcoming romance, The Assassin’s Heart, and the upcoming mystery series, Deadly Ever After from Kensington Books. J.A. spent years spilling drinks as a bartender and then stalked people while working as a private investigator.

Learn more at www.jakazimer.com or on her writerly talk blog More Than a Little F***ed Up. She can also be found (way too much of the time) on Twitter as @jakazimer and on Facebook as Julie Kazimer.

The Perfect Writerly Advice

By Julie Kazimer

For the last week I’ve racked my brain to come up with a blog post for the ages, one which will be sheared into the mind of every reader. In the end I think I tore something vital, and finally came up with a post worthy of RMFW writers—The Perfect Writerly Advice.

Stop rolling your eyes.

They might stick that way.

Good advice from dear old mom? Or was she full of it? Has anyone’s eyes ever stuck that way?

Yes, it’s true. Your mom lied. Probably more than once. Which I’m sure is what has warped you into becoming a writer in the first place. But in mom’s defense, she was only passing along the advice she’d received from her own mother, and her mother’s mother, and so on.

This madness ends now.

Okay, this madness ends in a hundred or so words. You can wait that long, right?

See I did something stupid, I asked my Facebook friends, most of which are writers, to give me their very best writerly advice. Trust me on this. It was a bad, bad idea. But I’ll share the top highlights (You can read them in their entirety here):

The top writerly advice was:

1)      Quit. Don’t even think of writing as a career choice.

2)      Don’t follow any advice you read on a blog.

3)      First drafts suck and they should suck. Embrace it.

4)      Read. A lot. Then read some more.

5)      Never give up on your dream.

As you can plainly see, my Facebook friends are a smart, albeit twisted and jaded lot. But they do prove a point. All the great writerly advice in the world (and here is some of the best) will not make you into a bestselling author, any more than it will get you a three book deal or even finish your current WIP.

But I do have the perfect piece of writerly advice for those looking for the perfect piece of writerly advice:

Write.

Simple. Easy.

Yes, and you’re right, completely worthless as advice.

I wish writing was as simple as taking the advice of others. The advice, write every day, works for Stephen King, so how could I, a mere hack in comparison, not live and breathe this advice? How could I not listen when Elmore Leonard says, avoid prologues? Sadly I don’t write daily or even weekly and I often have prologues in my books. Does that make me wrong? Does it mean I won’t be successful or write unforgettable characters or books? Probably, but not because I didn’t follow Mr. King or Mr. Leonard’s advice. Other factors are at work, conspiring against me (Oh, I know all about the evil plot to make me write zombie M & M erotica).

As humans, it is our responsibility to dole out advice to everyone we meet, in line at Starbucks (always advise extra whip), to our kids (don’t put a fork in the light socket), and to our writerly pals (only write while wearing tights). Now as writers, it is our responsibility to ignore all that helpful advice, and let our eyes stick once in a while.

Any advice you’ve found helpful in your writerly career? Any advice you love to ignore?

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J.A. (Julie) Kazimer lives in Denver, CO. Novels include CURSES! A F***ed-Up Fairy Tale, Holy Socks & Dirtier Demons, Dope Sick: A Love Story and FROGGY STYLE  as well as the forthcoming romance from Coffeetown Press, The Assassin’s Heart, and the upcoming mystery series, Deadly Ever After from Kensington Books. J.A. spent years spilling drinks as a bartender and then stalked people while working as a private investigator.

Learn more at www.jakazimer.com or on her writerly talk blog More Than a Little F***ed Up. She can also be found (way too much of the time) on Twitter as @jakazimer and on Facebook as Julie Kazimer.

Follow the Yellow Brick Road, and Make a Left: The Journey through Publication

By Julie Kazimer

Recently a friend complained of how long it took him to finally have success as an author. In his view, success meant a third book release in a year, signing with an agent, and good sales numbers and lots of press attention. Not a bad way to define success at all. I wish I had such complaints.

And I do.

You do too.

Being a writer takes a lot of hard work, many hours of butt in the chair, many words tossed in the trash bin, many ups and downs, rejections and a few acceptances, as well as the belief, even in the face of clear signs to the contrary, you can and will succeed.

Some call this belief delusion, and eventually quit. Others, like us, keep plugging away, so deluded in our desire that one day something magically happens.  We complain. We complain about taking two years to find an agent. We complain about the two years it takes for our publisher to release our book. We complain about sales numbers. Reviews. And that questionable wart we got from that booksigning in Boulder.

It’s not that I am ungrateful for what I have, instead, I am looking at my yellow brick road, and seeing only more yellow. Well it’s time to stop viewing my journey as to how long it’s taken, or how much longer the path might be. But rather what I have accomplished thus far. I hope you will join me, or at least, not laugh directly in my face.

I started and/or finished writing a book
80%of people in the US feel like they should write a book. Most never do.
My critique group loves my book
Weird since they normally make me cry.
I’ve sent a query to a real live agent (versus those undead ones).
Over 15,000 writers query an agent a year.
I signed with an agent.
And she didn’t ask for my blood or a thousand dollars in return.
I uploaded a short story collection to amazon.
The first year it sold well over 20 copies. I thought about retiring, but decided, in the end, I liked eating more than cat food. This year it sold over 1200, retirement still not an option, but I have hopes for 2075.
I received my 1027th rejection.
I’ve received my 1027th rejection!!!!! Whoo Hoo! Two more and I win a book deal!
An editor wants my book
And he’s not imaginary. I swear it.
I got a review in PW (a bad one, but still…)
Very few new releases get a PW review, good or bad, so why not embrace it?
Amazon ranked me at 50,000.
Ha! I’m better than 450,000 other authors! (Not really, but why burst my bubble?)
I gave a workshop on publishing.
And I didn’t throw up on the crowd.
I sold 5 books at my last signing
Damn straight. The average is only 4. Suck it, statistics.
I am part of RMFW or plan to join and/or belong to another writerly organization.
Joining a writers group increases others’ chances of publishing success by 68%, mine by 100% since I sold my first book at the 2010 Colorado Gold Conference.

So which brick are you on your path to publication? Share with us your last accomplishment, your last brick in your journey, be it writing a thousand words or selling a million books.

And thanks for playing along.

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kazimerJ.A. (Julie) Kazimer lives in Denver, CO. Novels include CURSES! A F***ed-Up Fairy Tale, Holy Socks & Dirtier Demons, Dope Sick: A Love Story and FROGGY STYLE  as well as the forthcoming romance from Coffeetown Press, The Assassin’s Heart, and the upcoming mystery series, Deadly Ever After from Kensington Books. J.A. spent years spilling drinks as a bartender and then stalked people while working as a private investigator.

Learn more at www.jakazimer.com or on her writerly talk blog More Than a Little F***ed Up. She can also be found (way too much of the time) on Twitter as @jakazimer and on Facebook as Julie Kazimer.