Wednesday, March 4, 2015

I've Moved

Hello, all!

Just a quick announcement: I purchased a domain and hosting and have moved the site here. Click the link to follow me over so we can keep engaging!

Thanks so much!

Path to Publishing: J. W. Cirilo

Path to Publishing is a new blog series in which I interview published authors. It's a great way for them to get free exposure as well as help other writers who are trying to get published. This week, I'm featuring new adult fiction writer J. W. Cirilo.

The Magician's Nephew Book Cover

What's your name? What do you write?

My name is J.W. Cirilo and I write primarily New Adult Fiction, particularly what I like to refer to as folk fiction.

When did you decide that you wanted to be a writer?

That's actually a difficult question to answer for me. I don't actually remember a time in my life when I wasn't a writer. From a very early age I'd been scribbling song lyrics and poetry in crayon (albeit not very good ones). All the encouragement and praise I got growing up fostered the need to attach myself to my writing.

What books have most shaped your writing and why?

Another very difficult question. I grew up with the Harry Potter series and Lemon Snicket's masterpiece, "A Series Of Unfortunate Events," so I'd have to say those two series, both I've left unfinished because, much like Matt Smith, I hate endings! I've read a lot on the in-between, and there are so many influential books that have no doubt inspired and helped realize my genre and shape me into the writer I am and the writing I do, but really what shaped my writing primarily was music, not so much books. That's probably blasphemous, what I just said, in terms of the literary world.

What's one book you can reread without getting tired of it?

"The Magician's Nephew" by C.S. Lewis. I'm kind of a kid at heart, I guess. There's just something so inspired about his world, and it's one of the very few titles in my library I find myself coming back to repeatedly every five or so years.

How do you feel about self-publishing vs. traditional publishing?

Self-publishing writers, in my feeling, very often jump the gun on what they're doing. With traditional publishing, you have gate keepers, editors, artists- whole teams of people working on making your art both marketable and personal. Self-publishing is as easy as click and post these days, especially with KDPS and Ingram, but if a self-publisher invested the time and money into meticulously crafting their book, I think that's more personal and intimate. If working in journalism has taught me anything it's that writing is a lot more about having your voice heard and your work appreciated than making money. 

There's probably a huge list of artistic powerhouses not limited to the great Neil Gaiman that one could cite as traditional publishers who have remained creatively true to their craft, but I would argue even he would agree, if your wish is just to be read and not try to make a semi-stable career out of this, self-publishing probably isn't the worst road (assuming you take it seriously). Both are incredibly difficult endeavors to partake in, so it's really just a preferential thing; do you want to work with a company, or have the burden of the lot left on your shoulders?

What's your writing routine like? What about your process?

My writing routine has barely anything to do with a routine, or writing for that matter. A lot of it is spent pacing around my apartment with a tennis ball arguing with myself over direction, pacing and scenes that I'm not fully comfortable with yet. Eventually something strikes me like a diamond bullet and that's when I sit down to begin punching away at the keyboard for eight hours or more. Once I've started, it's nearly impossible for me to stop. That is, unless I run out of idea or wrote something especially "brilliant' that I just can't top. At that point, I have to stop and come back later or the next day because everything after a great line just looks like filler. 

I need that refreshing celebration for a time, and if it means I only got a few hundred words done, that's fine. I'm in no rush for deadlines right now, and hopefully my readers will appreciate that patience when the finished project falls on their lap. 

How did you get published?

Funny enough, I went to school with the CEO of the company that would hire me as an editor for their quarterly magazine. It was a bit of serendipity, I suppose. We worked at the school paper together for a few months and then he asked me out of the blue to come write for them. One thing lead to another, I pitched my novel, and book deal! Not very exciting, I know, and sometimes I consider that Vonnegut queried over a hundred agents before he got a deal, and Rowling's agent spent years pitching her first book to publishers, so I feel like I benefited from a privilege that almost makes me undeserving of a break. At those times I try to tell myself that I earned it because I was a good writer, not because the guy solely was doing me a favor, and that sometimes helps.

What's the best advice you have for writers looking to get published?

Keep true. If this is what you really want, that makes you feel like you matter and what you do matters, keep true to the path your on. Don't give up because the world can be discouraging, and don't stop because you've hit a wall with rejections. We often look at the victories and successes of our heroes because they made it to the top of the mountain, but so often lost in translation is the story of their struggling climb upward. Once they were just like us, and we have to believe we to can get there too, maybe not to the same effect or level of success, but we can get there. The pride that must be yours to look upon your finished work must be something to look forward to- to stoke those fires of motivation. Keep climbing.

What's a common misconception about publishing that needs to be addressed?

I'm still very new to this, so I'm not really sure I can give any insight about that. One thing I was surprised of was how much more complicated it was than I thought. There's a lot of PR and marketing and meet and greets, as well as all the little details to work out. It's not just here's the book, six months later, it's published. Incredibly, for me anyway, it's a bit more complicated than that.

Where can people find your books? What about your blog or social media accounts?

As of right now, my debut novel has not been released because of the aforementioned complications, but when there's news to be announced and all the fun stuff, you can find me on Twitter, which, for now, is the best place to get in touch with/follow for updates.

Want to be featured in a Path to Publishing post? Leave a comment, email me, or reach out via social media. I'm always accepting new authors to interview!

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Read @brianawrites Path to Publishing interview with new adult fiction author @jwcirilo. (Click to tweet)

Sunday, March 1, 2015

BLOOD AND WATER: The Bonds of Friendship

Samson jumped up on the table while Jay was reading. Jay stroked his fur without looking up from the paper. He was trying to concentrate. No matter how silly some of the items on the list seemed, they were all important to him. He thought if he could say them with a straight face, Melanie wouldn't tease him too badly about them.

"Learn to drive," he said, "swim in the Thames, spend the night at the British Museum, kiss someone in Paris—”

Melanie snorted. Jay ignored her and kept reading.

Big Ben and Parliament and the Thames in London

"Stay up all night talking with someone I love, get in a fight and win, get drunk, have s—” He stopped abruptly. Melanie didn't need to hear that one. Maybe he could skip it without her noticing.
"Eat an expensive French meal—”

"Wait," Melanie said. "I think you skipped one."

"No, I didn't."

"Yes, you did. You started to say one thing and went straight into another." She leaned forward on her elbows. "You can't do that. It's cheating."

"Says who?" he asked.

"Says me. Go back to where you were."

Jay folded the note back up into a neat square. "Never mind. This was stupid, anyway."
Melanie tried to snatch the note out of his hand, but he jerked it away from her. When she got out of her chair, he leapt out of his seat and clutched the paper to his chest. There was no way she was reading it. He'd die before that happened.

"Jay," she whined, "just let me see it."

"No," he said. "It's over."

Samson jumped down from the table and rubbed against Jay's shins. He took a step backward, away from Melanie. Samson darted past him, probably fearing that his tail was going to get stepped on. Melanie took a step forward.

"Jaybird," she said.

"I told you not to laugh and you laughed anyway," he said.

"No, I didn't."

"Yes, you did. You laughed when I said that thing about Paris."

"Okay, okay," she said. "I'm sorry. Can you please keep on reading the list?"

Jay thought for a minute. The item he hadn't read was embarrassing. It revealed something that no one knew about him, and he wasn't sure he wanted anyone to know about it yet. He wondered what Melanie would think of him when she found out. He was afraid to read it to her because he didn't think she'd like him anymore. She might think he was a loser. Then again, if he was going to be dead in two weeks, maybe it would be better if somebody knew.

"Okay," he said, "just please, don't laugh. I mean it this time."

"Fair enough," she replied.

Want to read more? Click on over to Wattpad for the rest of the chapter, and make sure you follow me for updates! Also, feel free leave your thoughts and predictions in the comments below. :)

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.@brianawrites shares her latest installment of BLOOD AND WATER, in which the bonds of friendship are tested. (Click to tweet)
"Then again, if he was going to be dead in two weeks, maybe it would be better if somebody knew." @brianawrites (Click to tweet)
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