Hey! So you know how I criticize people for always blogging like “BUY MY BOOK”?
Well, I’m about to be that guy.
Money’s kind of short and I need to pay rent and eat (I do have a job, it’s just not enough).
I’d like to suggest that you purchase (yes, the accursed p-word!) your summer reading NOW, since it’s not like the story is going to disappear from your Kindle app. $5.99 isn’t a lot–it’s the price of your coffee, your visit to the bar, your sandwich, etc. But that’s all it costs to get my 350-page YA fantasy novel.
And it would really help your beloved blogger out 🙂
Here’s the description and a link. Cheers!
“The clock is ticking…”
His parents abandon him when he’s thirteen. He’s left to care for his little brother and sister. Life is tough. Things can’t seem to get any worse.
But then fabled monsters of the Dark Lands break down the door. They kidnap his siblings. And they leave him bleeding out on the floor of his own home.
But he survives.
Fear Hedekira is a hot-headed sixteen-year-old faced with a world that is becoming more warped by the day. Joined by his friends Aislin and Arik, it becomes his mission to punish the monsters that attacked him–the Volcyrie–and rescue his brother and sister. But time is not on his side. If he can’t free his siblings in time, they’ll be taken to another world entirely…where they will be sacrificed to the God of Death.
We’re all just unhappy zombies. Not even just zombies. Unhappy ones.
We wake up. We shower (hopefully). We make our coffee. We go to work.
Life becomes an endless stream of going from one place to the next, of trying to save time, while understanding that we never had any in the first place. We spend so much time trying to get time, so that we can waste time in the way we want to.
Each passing day is a blur. Drive to work. Spend time serving people we don’t really even know. Putting on faces that are appropriate, but not real. We aren’t allowed show people who we really are. Half the truth is, we don’t even know who we are ourselves.
We spend countless hours trying to be happy, forgetting that, in our search for happiness, we never actually can attain it. At least not in the way we’ve been trying. Searching never made anyone happy. Only finding. Or better yet, accepting.
Money. Everybody needs it. Everybody wants it. It’s the one thing we try to get above so that we aren’t a slave to it, but it ends up enslaving us anyway. We try to break free of our chains by fastening them to our wrists. At least if it’s a choice to be slaves, we can say we were free enough to make such a decision. We say, “I don’t wanna let money control my life, so I better spend all my time trying to get it.” Hah. No wonder life makes no sense.
Pain. We hate it. We’ll choose the most difficult route if it doesn’t involve pain. We’ll sacrifice things for pleasure, even though sacrifice is supposed to involve pain. We pretend like we’re tough, but the moment the pleasure stops, the moment we get uncomfortable, we’re no better than infants. Life becomes unacceptable. Life becomes unfair. Sometimes, we think it isn’t even worth it.
I’m going through all this now as an adult. First thing I’m realizing is that being an adult sucks. Every child thinks about the freedom they’ll have as an adult. You can’t be controlled by other adults. You won’t have to ask for permission. You’ll be carefree, your own boss.
Lies. Kids are more free than we are. The older you get, the stronger the chains become. Welcome to adulthood.
“Everything can be set right, except death. And death sets everything right.”
I’ve been told by some successful writers that you just have to figure things out for yourself. To quote, one of them even told me that “there is no roadmap”.
But is that REALLY true? I mean, aren’t there things that ALL writers do, and do well, that you have to replicate if you want to be successful?
Observing some of my fellow self-published authors, it seems like doing a Blog Tour is a piece of this roadmap…it seems like getting lots of reviews is another part…it seems like blogging a LOT is another part…
Doesn’t this comprise something of a roadmap?
What do you think? Have you observed any tendencies or directions that all successful writers seem to take? I’d LOVE to hear about them!
There’s a lot of obstacles to self publishing and being successful as a self published author. Merely having enough perseverance to publish your book at all is an obstacle. Hiring an editor, finding a cover-artist, and building your audience all add varying levels of difficulty to the process too.
Oh, and did I mention that EVERYONE is self publishing? So yeah, you’ve also got LOTS of competition.
But what’s the #1 problem with self publishing?
I call it Amateuritis: the false sense of confidence you have going into the entire self publishing endeavor.
You size up the odds; you read about writing a novel, hiring an editor, and how to market your book, and you think, “Yeah, I can do this!” But then you publish your book, the excitement dwindles, and a few months later, you have this feeling of “…Now what?”
You suddenly realize that becoming a literary sensation isn’t so simple. You knew it wouldn’t be easy…but the truth is, you tricked yourself into believing that at least for YOU, the path to success was a straight line.
Yeah, I can talk about this because I know how it feels.
Of all the obstacles listed above, Amateuritis is by far the worst. It’s the curse of not knowing the way the world works. Guess what: you wanna’ rise to the top? Then you have to go through the same process as everyone else. Life isn’t easy, and it makes no exceptions.
Yes, this sucks, but to defeat Amateuritis, you must accept reality.
For starters, you need to rise above your feelings of feeling like a loser. You think you are a loser? Well, so is everyone else. Get over it.
If you want to defeat Amateuritis, don’t make the same mistakes twice. Understand that the journey ahead of you is long and hard, and if you want to be a successful author, you just have to keep working at it. Listen to the stories of other successful authors. Was it easy for them? No. They got rejected. They had to scrap and rewrite parts of their stories. They might’ve even gone hungry.
Do you think it will be any different for you?
Instead of lulling yourself into a false sense of confidence–Amateuritis–be proud. Be proud when you get rejected. Be proud when you make those all those corrections to your novel. Be proud when you go hungry. Why? Because you CAN be confident that you’re on the right path. The same path as all the other successful authors.
What will you give to be successful? It is a question only you can answer.
Beat Amateuritis. Be an author. Be successful.
What do you think?
Dominic Sceski is the self published author of The Golden Lands, which soon morphed into Elithius. He wouldn’t advise that you read any of his novels, as they are currently undergoing rigorous editing. But he would be happy to become the next J.K. Rowling once they are finished 🙂
He currently studies at Villanova University and enjoys keeping up with this blog, writing his stories, lifting weights, dating his amazing girlfriend, and making his friends laugh.
Yet another wonderful infographic provided by Donna Norton over at https://custom-writing.org/blog/ !!! If you haven’t already, check out https://custom-writing.org/blog/ . Lots of good stuff there for writers!
So I thought I’d start giving you guys some song’s that capture the feel of each of my characters. Feel free to add them to your writing playlist, as they are great for creating emotion and inspiring epic-ness!
This song is my theme for John Hedekira, the main character of my story (of course the music isn’t mine!).
Life is hard for John. Life tries to crush him. His own hildhood is a mystery to him, a time he’d rather forget. His reality is consumed with his battle against the Evil on the outside…and the inside.
But, strengthened by his friends, there’s this hope, this light that exists inside of him, crying out a battle-cry, fighting back against the world. Fighting back against the darkness.
This is only his first theme though…as the story goes on, his theme changes, as you will see.
If you consider yourself one of my hardcore followers, I’d love to know what you think about this!
John Hedekira is the main character of my fantasy series, Elithius.
Obviously, as much as possible, I want all of you to love my characters. I want you to feel for them. I want you to care about them.
So I think it’s only right that I tell you about them.
Meet John Hedekira
He feels trapped. He feels alone. He feels unappreciated. He feels abandoned.
John Hedekira’s parents disappear when he’s thirteen, leaving him to look after his two little siblings. Can you imagine the sense of confusion? The anger? The frustration? The sudden, incredible weight of responsibility?
John dutifully looks after his siblings for three years. He does “everything an older brother should do”…until it all becomes too much. His siblings have become so distant and delirious, they start to shut him out. Even though he is throwing away his life to provide for them, they won’t even acknowledge him.
So he blows up at them. Wouldn’t you?
But he also decides that, if they’ll neglect him, he’ll neglect them.
But there’s this eerie sense of fate in the story. The same night John decides he will neglect his siblings, their home is attacked. John is left bleeding out on the floor of his own home, and his siblings–Cassie and Luke–are captured…
…by the Evil.
The Evil are the fabled monsters of the Dark Lands. They are Evil incarnate; immortal through their spiritual connection with each other, though their bodies can be slain. And they always flock to wherever an evil act is committed…and thus they find John.
John survives the attack…but is determined to get revenge on the Evil for nearly killing him. He still doesn’t care about his siblings. Everything will change…but not yet.
Who Is John?
John Hedekira is like each of us. He just wants life to make sense. He feels like a question without an answer. He knows that he is called to something deeper; he knows that his life has meaning. But he doesn’t know what that meaning is yet.
And, like so many of us, he searches for meaning in his life in the wrong ways. At first, he finds meaning in the obligation he feels towards his siblings–to provide for them after their parents disappeared. Then he feels empowered by his feelings of hatred and vengeance towards the Evil that nearly killed him and kidnapped his siblings.
But something happens that changes him.
It takes his hatred consuming him to realize what he’s doing wrong.
He learns that he doesn’t have to fight out of anger or wrath. He doesn’t have to fight because he hates his enemies.
He is given a second chance at life.
He can fight because he wants to protect. He can fight because it’s the right thing to do. Even in battle, he can love.
Believe me, it’s an epic transformation.
John is a person who is driven by his emotions…but learns to control them. He learns to channel them. And he allows himself to undergo a spiritual change.
He still struggles to do what’s right, but now he knows why he’s fighting. He has purpose. He has drive.
He’s going to rescue his little brother and sister because he loves them. He’s going to fight the Evil because he cares about the world.
And he’s going to become a kick-ass swordsman while he does it. He’s going to wield supernatural powers. He’s going to unlock godly powers so that he can kick out the evil ones inside.
This is my main character. He’s a determined, passionate 16 year-old guy, who fights for what he loves, but is scarred by a rocky childhood. He can have trouble controlling his anger. He can feel despair. But he’s determined never to give up or give in.
So, I guess you could say he’s a fighter.
And that is John Hedekira.
All right, so if you really want to get to know John Hedekira and his story, you can get my book here. One of the best ways you can support an author is by reading his (or her) work! And it’s only $0.99 as a Kindle eBook.
Whether you’re interested in downloading my story or not, as always, I want to know: What do you think?
You are too calculating. Don’t tell me you are young. Youth gives all it can: it gives itself without reserve.
-St. Josemaria Escriva
There is an innate desire within a young person to respond to the “callings” of youthhood. What are these callings?
Callings for greatness. For change. For renewal. For love. For Truth.
These are not only “callings” that every youth possess, whether knowingly or not. They are cries; even if a young person doesn’t know it, even if I don’t know it, there is a part of me that cries out for these callings, desperately yearning to fulfill them.
To be young is powerful; to be young is to be innovative. To be young is to be idealist–and a little naive, yes. But to be young is to have strength and, to quote the saint above, to “give itself without reserve”.
Have you ever turned on a popular kids TV show and been amazed by the simplicity, the beauty, the innocence, and the passion with which the characters think, act, and speak? Think about Avatar: The Last Airbender. There is so much we can take away from this television series; the beauty of it all, the innocence of the characters, their child-like yet laudable determination to bring justice to the world…the list goes on and on!
Think of Katniss from The Hunger Games and her desire to bring about change within her world, to rip out the old and bring in the new. Think about so much of the anime out there that features young characters pitted against older opponents. This style of story telling, in which youth struggles against the old, the innocence of truth fights against the lies of the world, is not practiced merely so that the stories will appeal to children. Having younger characters is not merely fanservice. There is something unique, deep, and profound that the youthfulness inside of us is trying to say, whether we know it or not.
The world needs youth, and it needs change. We must never cast wisdom and experience aside; we must never cast Truth aside. But the change that the world requires must come from youth…because it is the youth of the world that will shape the future.
What are we doing to empower young people to initiate this change in the world and renew the good parts of the old, while casting off the mediocrity of the past?
Writing is my way to be a rebel. To be defiant. To rise up to the challenges of the world and declare that I will not be defeated. I am strong and powerful because of writing. Because of writing, I can create change. Because of writing, I can declare the Truth.
Roaring out like a lion, fighting with the fire of innocent, pure determination…crying out that youth has come to reclaim what the world was always meant to be.
I’m an idealist, I know 🙂
If anyone is interested in joining a young writer’s club, please contact me in the comment section below or email me at aultsom23(at)gmail(dot)com! Age range: 15-22 (exceptions can be made). Participation required: (minimal/as much as you want!)
Oh, and did I mention that I wrote a book that simply BREATHES everything I just talked about above?
Alrighty people, I’ve finally got things up and running.
If you would like to join my young writers club, The Voice of Youth, please say so in the comment section below. I will send you an invitation to become an Author of my new blog, the blog upon which the club will be based. As an Author, you will be able to create your own posts and contribute your own thoughts to the rest of the club. All I need is your “yes” and your username or email, and you’ll be admitted!
To get some people up to speed…
This club is for youths ages 15-22 (exceptions can be made though).
We are all about helping each other become better writers by sharing our work, constructively critiquing others, and discussing diverse writing topics.
For newly published/self published authors, we are all about promoting each other and helping each other get the most attention possible.
Participation requirements: minimal (we are flexible)
Rules of conduct: Be courteous. No bullying, threats, inappropriate comments, images, or publications of any kind. Failure to comply with these guidelines will result in termination of your membership.
With all that out of the way, let’s have fun! 😀 😀 😀
Here’s the mission statement:
The Voice of Youth is a group of writers dedicated to helping each other write stories that promote the True, the Good, and the Beautiful, by providing constructive criticism, honest feedback, and promotional resources, so as to create a vibrant writing community with enough power to move mountains.
If you are on board with all of this, or if you have any questions, please feel free to comment!
So excited to get this started! If you’re interested, don’t be shy!!
Writing is at times a lonely endeavor. You start out with a sense of determination, as if writing and promoting your story is your destiny. The road seems long and challenging, but you’re ready to face whatever will come. Maybe there’s a mountain or two you have to climb, but the winding pathways of those mountains will have their serene moments, their glorious panoramas, moments of beauty.
You feel all of this before you start you journey…and then, well, the journey actually starts. And it’s a lot worse than you anticipated.
You thought perhaps the solitude would give you a sense of purpose, maybe even a sense of heroism, since heroes rarely actually share glory. But now you’re feeling as if loneliness is closing in on all sides, and you feel as if everything you do is worthless because there’s nobody to see the progress you’re making. Maybe it doesn’t even feel like progress, because no one is cheering you on.
The mountains don’t seem so fair when you’ve now got this negative outlook on your journey. Instead of being a journey filled with adventure and excitement, it’s a journey filled with struggle, stress, and fear. You thought you could carry the world on your shoulders, but now, the world is crushing you.
Writing…hmm…doesn’t seem so great any more.
So you try to find some friends, but you can tell your friendship doesn’t run deep. You share your feelings with them, and they share their feelings with you, but neither party is willing to drink what washes over them. You are both unwilling to engage each other and enter into each other’s lives. Secretly, you are both competing for the same prize.
You wonder if companionship is possible. You wonder if it’s even possible to break free of your loneliness, of your depression, of your stress. You cannot connect with anyone, you cannot find help, and you don’t know why.
Until you find the Tree.
Each person is but a mere branch. We tend to think that we are our own tree, growing up in the big, intimidating forest. But no. We are all a part of the same tree.
Big and small, young and old, something connects all writers. The moment we realize this, the moment we stop pushing and shoving. We stop fighting for attention. We stop cheating on each other, looking over our shoulders, and being dishonest. We stop patting each other, and ourselves, on the back. We become critical because we care. We become attentive because we want to be. We become a community.
We become what we were meant to be…a part of the Tree.
A Tree cannot survive without roots. One day, each of us will take part in becoming those roots. But this won’t happen unless we accept our role in being a branch…just a branch. Not the trunk. Not the roots. A branch.
I am a branch of this tree, and you are too, most likely. The Tree that connects us the part of ourselves that longs to set our imagination free; the part of ourselves that yearns for creative expression, that yearns for beauty, and truth, and goodness, and a desire to share this. We are all in love with the same thing. We are all in love with the Tree. We must only look deep enough to see that we are all a part of it.