Short Change Hero

*If you don’t watch Strike Back on Cinemax, now might be a good time for a binge watch. It is, hands down, one of the best shows. The final season drops next year.*


Prepping Character Death

This weekend I am going over my notes for book four. Yes, it has a title. No, I’m not giving that information out yet.

As I go over my prep work, I realize that it’s a pivotal time to start killing off some annoying characters. I recently wrote a fight sequence I am incredibly proud of. I spent weeks letting it play out in my head before I sat down and knocked it out, and I think it plays out beautifully, but that will be in the first book.

Book One (also titled), is an introduction. You meet all of the important characters, everyone necessary to make the book “come alive”. You learn some minor back-story, and you learn about things that probably won’t be pertinent within a reader’s mind until Book Three and/or Book Four. Laying the ground work is important, but now it’s time for action.

I recently posted a photo, courtesy of M.J. Rose, which basically stated not to annoy the writer or she’d kill you in a book. I’d already been pondering it, but now the list is at three people.

Killing someone on paper is incredibly gratifying. It is the ultimate “Fuck You” to a person that, in your every day life, may or may not have been told off, but is about to find out that you don’t mess around. They say that the pen is mightier than the sword, but the pen IS my sword and I know precisely how to wield it. Now I just have to decide who goes first and which weapons get used.

I LOVE this shit! 

copyright © 2014 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Finding Work As A Writer

Finding Work As A Writer


Depending on what your skill-set is, finding work as a writer isn’t easy. Like many writers, I am not classically trained. I liken it to the fact that I’m not classically trained to cook either, but I still kill it in the kitchen.

To clear up the difference between being a classically trained writer and one who isn’t: Yes, I took all the prerequisite writing classes long after realizing I had a gift. I went to a school where all forms of writing were the primary focus. I do not have a Journalism degree, and I didn’t major in anything that would put me to sleep or make me want to remove my eyeballs with a fork. Writing comes naturally to me, but on the freelance end of things, it is not always easy to find work.

There are thousands of people trying to hire you to write an e-book that may or may not even have your name on it, and many of them want to pay you per word, and some simply want to pay you as if you’re some kind of migrant worker with no knowledge of what an American wage should look like. I just saw one that strongly suggested a penny per word. Here’s the catch: They’d like 30,000 words and they’d like it in three days. Are you fucking kidding me?! I’ve got 30,000 words for you, but you’re not going to like a single one of them.

Then there are the jobs you, essentially, are bidding on. You submit a proposal where you tout your skills and show an interest in the particular project, and then what you’d like to be paid, either hourly or for the entire project. God forbid one puts a price on their talent and abilities! If I wanted to be paid like I work at Walmart or McDonald’s, then I’d work at Walmart or McDonald’s. No, that’s not an insult to those that work there, it is a comparison. People who work in retail and/or fast food don’t have it easy. They’re expected to do a lot for very little, many of them do not receive benefits of any kind, but hey, here’s a discount for you to make up for what we do not provide as your employer. No thanks.

If you’re joining any .com type of situation and have forked over anywhere from $30-$75, or more, never to earn a dime or even get a return on what you put out, then it is probably a scam. If you’re thinking it’s a great way to earn a quick buck, research the site first. If it has even one complaint against it or there are blog posts about it being a scam, do not, I repeat, do NOT, fork over a penny. You’d do better looking for work on Craigslist.

Yes, there are a great many options if you’re smart, resourceful, patient, and look for the right projects. In the meantime, as you diligently search, remember why you’re a writer and take a good look at your own work, even if you’ve deemed something finished. If there’s anything you need or want to change, work on, etc., take some time to re-focus and polish the rough cut stone that you are. There is not a single one of us on this planet that does not have room for improvement, myself included.

FYI: I lost brain cells this morning reading a list of things people would like to hire a writer like myself for. I think a piece of my soul died.

copyright © 2014 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

How Much Does Music Influence Your Writing?

How Much Does Music Influence Your Writing?

As a writer, I get asked this question quite a bit. As I work on the first four novels in what will be, at the very least, an eight book series, I do have a playlist I refer to when I am researching.

I have eclectic taste in music. It may or may not be the kind of music you like to listen to, but it’s truly all over the place. For book one, I have a 500 song playlist on my Kindle Fire. I listen to it at the grocery store, the nail salon, at home, in the shower. I have the same playlist on my phone. Some songs really speak to the individual characters, and others just set the tone for the world in which I have created. I have a similar playlist on my computer, but apparently due to some cross over repetition, there are less songs in that particular playlist. That, or I never bothered to update it when I switched over to the new laptop. Since I tend to access it via my cloud, that’s probably why.

Do specific artists influence my characters? No, but a few songs are like theme music for them. I have that moment where I think “Okay, so and so is on the page.”, as if Elvis just walked into the building. But again, there’s such an eclectic mix that I’m listening to Halestorm one minute and something classical the next. I always have my music on shuffle, always. I cannot listen to it any other way, and much like bad TV, I will often skip over songs obsessively until I find precisely the one I want to listen to. At certain moments, a song is often on repeat.

Unlike many genre writers, I do NOT have music playing when I am writing. It’s irritating and distracts me from the task at hand. When words are playing out in my head, the music has to be paused, muted, or shut off completely. But prior to that, I often have something on for long, or short, periods of time. It just depends on the mood I am going for and whether or not something external is influencing my brain in the moment. It also depends on whether or not I am writing in the midst of a migraine, in which case, I want it as silent as possible and might actually be writing silently in a notebook with a pen.

I do not have individual playlists for each of my characters. I have songs that intensely remind me of them, but that’s pretty much where it ends. Because I have eclectic taste, I do not feel the need to weave a ton of music into my work. In book one, I think exactly two bands are mentioned in total. No music is mentioned in the beginnings of the other novels, but that doesn’t mean that won’t change.

The protagonist is, much like me, a music lover, but she tends to use music in the same ways that I do in her daily life. That wasn’t intentional, it just sort of flowed that way. Some of the other characters, if this wasn’t for book purposes, would have some pretty epic songs involved with their appearances. If this were being written for television or movie purposes, the characters all have both visual, mental, emotional, and musical impact. I can’t describe it any better than that. The protagonist, perhaps, is a bit more meditational, a lot more internally verbal, yet still strong and influential.

My current musical influences as I write, at the moment, for different reasons, are The Band Perry, Kacey Musgraves, Carrie Underwood, Ed Sheeran, Miranda Lambert, Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, Snow Patrol, Gavin DeGraw, & Christina Aguilera. A very odd grouping indeed. Trust me, this can, and will, change on a dime.

Are there specific artists influencing your writing? If so, let me know who in the comments.

“How Much Does Music Influence Your Writing?” is copyright © 2014 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.



People have no idea exactly how serious I am about this!

Photo credit to M.J. Rose. If you haven’t read her books, I highly recommend them.