Rank #1: The Realities of Writing Careers
Join Stephan Bugaj, Justin Sloan, and Kevin Tumlinson as they discuss what it really takes to establish yourself as a creative writer.
NOTE: We apologize for the audio not being perfect in this episode. We're taking steps to ensure better audio quality in the future.
You have to be 100 percent dedicated ...which can be tough advice, we get that. But here we discuss the commitment needed to make it as a writer if you hope to make it a career.
We don’t say to drop everything and only write, but discuss how to make sacrifices and when to be committed to it.
The group further discussed:
- Sacrificing sleep. Or work (if you can do it).
- Keep in mind that how good you are is relative (just because your college English teacher said you were amazing, that same level of amazingness may not be the same when surrounded by professionals.
- Watch out for the scams!
- How to break in, or how we did.
Some awesomeness brought up in this episode and cool links:
- The UCLA Professional Program: http://www.tft.ucla.edu/programs/professional-programs/
For more descussion like this, check out the books in the Creative Mentor series:
Nov 09 2015
Rank #2: Worldbuilding in Scifi and Fantasy with Star Brigade Author CC Ekeke
Author C.C. Ekeke shares his experience writing science fiction with Justin, which includes discussing what sort of subcategories work best in scifi, how to approach worldbuilding in these stories, and how to build a newsletter.
C.C. Ekeke spent much of his childhood on a steady diet of science fiction movies, television shows and superhero comic books. He discovered his desire to write books in college when studying for a degree in advertising. An international trip or two provided further inspiration for the aliens and worlds seen in his writing. STAR BRIGADE: Resurgent, his debut novel, was originally published in December 2005 - this is the enhanced edition relaunched in preparation for the next books in the Star Brigade series.
To contact C.C. Ekeke, check out the author's homepage: http://ccekeke.com
And check out his new cover for his book Star Brigade: Resurgent - it looks amazing!
Jan 30 2017
Rank #3: Dan Wells on Writing Excuses, Writing Books and Television, and His New Books
Author Dan Wells shares his experience writing horror and YA books, such as I am Not a Serial Killer, Partials, and more - he's written TV and seen one of his books become a movie.
Justin had the pleasure of meeting Dan Wells at 2016 Gen Con, so they talk about why you need to attend the Gen Con Writing Track (which Dan says is the best writing track at a conference - aside from the Writing Excuses Cruise.
Dan also shares some exclusive news - first heard here! But... You'll have to listen for that one :)
His website: http://thedanwells.com
His Amazon page: https://www.amazon.com/Dan-Wells/e/B002S2VIBS
Writing Excuses Podcast: http://www.writingexcuses.com
Oct 25 2016
Rank #4: Jason Pinter on Writing Thrillers
Author Jason Pinter joined us to talk writing Thrillers and Running a Publishing Company
Check out his links and posts!
Jason Pinter is the bestselling author of five novels in his Henry Parker thriller series, which
have over one million copies in print worldwide and have been published in over a dozen
countries, as well as the Middle Grade adventure novel Zeke Bartholomew: SuperSpy. He has
been nominated for the Thriller Award, Strand Critics Award, Barry Award, RT Reviewers
Choice Award, Shamus Award and CrimeSpree Award. Two of his books—The Fury and
The Darkness—were chosen as Indie Next selections, and The Mark, The Stolen and The Fury,
were named to The Strand’s Best Books of the Year list. The Mark and The Stolen both
appeared on the ‘Heatseekers’ bestseller list in The Bookseller (UK). The Mark was optioned to
be a feature film.
He is the Founder and Publisher of Polis Books, an independent publishing company he
launched in 2013. He was named one of Publisher Weekly’s inaugural Star Watch honorees, which “recognizes young publishing professionals who have distinguished themselves as future leaders of the industry.” He has written for The New Republic, Entrepreneur, The Daily Beast, Medium and The Huffington Post, and been featured in Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, MediaBistro, Mystery Scene and more.
He was named one of the top writers on Twitter (@JasonPinter) by Mashable
and the Huffington Post, and his articles and essays have been covered in the New York Times,
Los Angeles Times, CNN, The Atlantic, Boston Globe, New York Observer, Baltimore Sun, Salon
and as far as Australia’s Sydney Morning Herald. He was born in New York City in 1979 and
currently lives in Hoboken, NJ with his wife, their daughter, and their dog, Wilson.
Sep 05 2017
Rank #5: Writing Superheroes with Lucas Flint
Lucas Flint shares why he loves to write superheroes, where his character powers come from, and a freebie deal if you get it quick! Enjoy :)
Bait & Switch (free until April 22nd, 2018): https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0788RN49V
Lucas Flint is the pen name of Timothy L. Cerepaka, who writes superhero fiction under it.
The Lucas Flint pen name is also published under the Secret Identity Books imprint of Annulus Publishing, an imprint devoted to publishing superhero fiction.
The Superhero's Son (Book 1: The Superhero's Test)
The Young Neos (Book 1: Brothers)
Minimum Wage Sidekick (Book 1: First Job)
The Legacy Superhero (Book 1: A Superhero's Legacy)
Apr 18 2018
Rank #6: Writing Fiction, Hacking the System, and Forming a Writing Posse with Michael Anderle
You may know Michael Anderle from his amazing 20Booksto50k group, as well as his books that have done AMAZINGLY well on Amazon. He is a KU fan, meaning you can get all of his books #Free if you're a KU subscriber.
Tune in to hear how Michael hacks the system with his crew of mentees / students, and how he uses his business background to ensure his publishing success.
Visit Michael's Amazon page.
Michael Anderle (1967-Hopefully a long time from NOW) was born in Houston, Tx. A very curious child, he got into trouble - a lot. What to do with an inquisitive mind when he was grounded? Read! That hasn't changed since he was in elementary school. The Kindle was developed with him in mind. In the first 20 years, he mostly read Science Fiction and Fantasy. In the last 10 years he has enjoyed Urban Fantasy and Military Fiction. Using these influences, he has developed The Kurtherian Gambit. A series dedicated to watching how one genetically modified person with an incredible team behind her might be able to change the future, if she can survive along the way.
His books: http://kurtherianbooks.com
Aug 08 2016
Rank #7: Fantasy and Supernatural Thriller Author and BookTuber PT Hylton
This episode starts with Justin fan-boying over PT Hylton's book, Thorns and Tangles. The first book is only $0.99 and is amazing, and Justin wanted to know the strategy behind publishing 6 books of 100-ish pages each, versus going for a trilogy.
Next, the group discussed the differences between fantasy, urban fantasy, and supernatural thriller, and finished with a discussion on BookTubers and how doing stuff like this can be useful as an author.
- Who is PT Hylton? (from his website):
I mostly write about secrets. People with secrets. Towns with secrets. How keeping secrets tears people apart, and how sharing secrets, even terrible ones, brings people together.
In that spirit, I’ll share my own secret origin story.PT Profile
I’ve always wanted to be a writer, and I’ve written in some form or fashion ever since I could. But it wasn’t always fiction. After college, two friends and I started a small production company called Plethora Films. We spent a few years making short films and almost-but-not-quite finishing a feature film. For better or for worse, we disbanded just before YouTube hit the scene. To my knowledge, none of our shorts are even online.
I spent the next eight years putting all my creative energy into making podcasts, most successfully with the long-running guitar podcast Six-String Bliss. I also had some short-lived podcasts, including Guitar New Weekly, Real Dad Fitness, and Time-Traveling Film Critics.
One day I was talking with my daughter and encouraging her to go after her dreams.
“Do you have any dreams, Daddy,” she asked.
“I want to be a writer,” I said.
“Then why aren’t you doing it?”
That lit a fire under me something fierce, and I got to writing.
The things I’ve published so far:
The Deadlock Trilogy – A science fiction suspense series about a small town with a secret. Includes Regulation 19, A Place Without Shadows, and The Broken Clock.
Zane Halloway -The Zane Halloway series takes place in a world of magic, mystery, and assassins. It’s an epic sword and sorcery tale told in novella-sized chunks.
Drop me a line on Twitter or through email and say hello!
You can do so by commenting on his YouTube channel, HERE.
May 23 2016
Rank #8: Make Comics Like the Pros with Fred Van Lente
Fred Van Lente has worked at Marvel on comics and games, Telltale with Justin on the Walking Dead: Michonne. Fred has worked on such titles as Amazing Spider Man, Incredible Hercules, Iron Man, GI Joe, Conan the Barbarian, and the books Action Philosophers and Action Presidents (HarperCollins Kids).
Fred also created the awesome book Make Comics Like the Pros, with the amazing Greg Pak.
Listen to hear Fred's tale about breaking into the comics industry, how it's different from writing for games, and the stories behind Men in Black and Cowboys and Aliens.
Make Comics Like the Pros
A step-by-step guide to all aspects of comic book creation--from conceptualization to early drafts to marketing and promotion--written by two of the industry's most seasoned and successful pros.
Discover the Secrets of Your Favorite Comic Book Creators
Do you want to break into the comics industry? There are many creative roles available—writer, penciller, inker, colorist, letterer, editor, and more. Each creator serves a vital function in the production of sequential art at companies such as DC, Marvel, Image, and Valiant. In Make Comics Like the Pros, veteran comics creators Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente team up with a who’s who of the modern comic book scene to lead you step-by-step through the development of a comic. With these two fan-favorite writers as your guides, you’ll learn everything from script formatting to the importance of artistic collaboration to the best strategies for promoting and selling your own sequential art masterpiece. Pak and Van Lente even put their lessons into practice inside the pages of the book—pairing with Eisner Award–winning cartoonist Colleen Coover (Bandette) to produce the swashbuckling, adventure comic Swordmaids, and giving you front row seats to their creative process. Make Comics Like the Pros provides all the answers you’ve been seeking to take your comic book–making dreams all the way to professional-level reality.
And CREATIVE WRITING CAREER 2 the #Audiobook is now available. Exciting!
May 09 2016
Rank #9: Distractions from Writing and Coping with Always Having Too Much Going On
In this episode, Justin and Kevin discuss how to continue to write when your life is full of distractions. Maybe it's just about changing your schedule to fit with the distractions, or learning to do creative work at a certain time of day, and the more menial tasks at 'distraction time.'
They talk Gen Con and lessons learned there, such as how to stop always "Muster-bating." Yeah, you'll have to listen to see what that is. Also, how can partnerships help in this regard? Are they sometimes a distraction?
If you deal with distractions, tune in and then go to the comments let us know what we left out.
And of course, we talk about how AMAZING the Stranger Things show is.
Oh, this Unofficial Minecraft book looks cool... BLADE OF THE SEA.
Aug 15 2016
Rank #10: Chris Fox Talks Writing Fiction VS Non-Fiction, Anthologies, and Writing Fast
Author Chris Fox joins the guys to discuss Writing Fiction VS Non-Fiction, Anthologies, Writing Fast, and more.
If you're interested in learning what he advises for breaking out of an earning plateau, how writing in anthologies with other authors can help your platform and rankings, and more - check out this episode.
Jan 23 2017
Rank #11: Fantasy Author Brian D. Anderson, The Godling Chronicles
Justin first came across Brian through a BookBub ad Brian was running with his The Godling Chronicles. The covers were amazing, and drew Justin in right away (it didn’t hurt that Justin has a book called Land of Gods, and the idea of exploring gods in fiction intrigues him).
With that in mind, Justin, Stephan, and Kevin discuss writing fantasy, marketing fantasy (to include how to get on BookBub), and finding amazing cover art.
Brian’s amazon author profile:
Brian D. Anderson was born in 1971, and grew up in the small town of Spanish Fort, AL.. It was through the trials and tribulations of growing up in small town America that he stumbled upon his true calling. Supreme ruler of the world, and history's most beloved Super Villain. For years he scoured the globe for a base of operations. His first choice - an abandoned missile silo in the Mohave Desert - was too far beyond his meager budget of $16.89. And as the owner had a VERY big gun, and Anderson only an empty soda bottle, a violent takeover of the facility was not a prudent course of action. Ultimately, he settled for a tree hut on the Island of Yap where to this day he plans and plots, biding his time until the moment is ripe for his master plan to unfold.
And he also writes books.
You can learn more at :
Apr 25 2016
Rank #12: Screenwriting for Disney and the videogame Shadow of Mordor with Elias Madias
Join Stephan Bugaj, Justin Sloan, and Kevin Tumlinson as they sit down with Elias Madias to discuss his journey as a screenwriter and video game writer.
SHADOW OF MORDOR! That’s right, that’s what we said. But before we get there, we talked with Elias about how he came up in the industry through being a Director’s Assistant, how he found a writing partner and bust down the first door in his way (to get to Disney!), and how he got into games (the secret? Connections. Networking. Duh).
He spent a few minutes talking about the Austin Film Festival, since he’ll be on a panel with Justin. The key there is to go and talk to everyone as peers, because everyone’s there to have a good time. And don’t ask – wait for them to offer.
And Justin terrified the guest by speculating that the AFF panel may be recorded! Check out the Austin ON STORY podcast to see if their panel makes it.
Want to get an intro to Elias, check out this episode! Want to see what’s he is like when spending too many hours at a bar, go to the Austin Film Festival!
Other awesomeness brought up in this episode and cool links:
And in case you somehow didn’t know, Shadow of Mordor is based on The Lord of the Rings.
For more interviews like this, check out the books in the Creative Mentor series:
Oct 26 2015
Rank #13: Glynn Stewart on Science Fiction Fantasy
Author Glynn Stewart discusses his science fiction / fantasy series.
Glynn Stewart is the author of the Castle Federation and Starship's Mage space opera series.
Writing managed to liberate him from being an accountant before he lost all personality, and he now lives in Kitchener, Ontario with his wife and their demanding cats.
Check out his recent book with Terry Mixon - HEART OF VENGEANCE
And one of my new favorite books, STARSHIP'S MAGE, with over 300 amazing reviews.
Aug 28 2017
Rank #14: Crafting Your Screenwriting Career with Lee Jessup
Screenwriting coach and author of GETTING IT WRITE, Lee Jessup, shares her advice with the guys about breaking into writing, some common mistakes first-time screenwriters make, how to approach finding an agent and manager, and what writers should expect when selling screenplays. She also breaks down the Blacklist and other ways to break in, and motivates the heck out of us. Enjoy!
Lee Jessup's bio:
The author of the best selling book Getting It Write: An Insider's Guide To A Screenwriting Career as well as the upcoming Breaking In: Tales From the Screenwriting Trenches Lee Jessup is a career coach for professional and emerging screenwriters. With an exclusive focus on the screenwriter's professional development, Lee works with all level of writers including ones who have major spec, pilot and pitch sales under their belts, staffed television writers, television writing program fellows, Hit List, Blood List and Black List writers, as well as writers just beginning to chart their professional course.
Following a stint as a development executive, Lee spent 6+ years as director of ScriptShark.com. During her time with ScriptShark, Lee spearheaded a national Business of Screenwriting seminar series launched in partnership with Final Draft and sponsored by The New York Times Company. An invited speaker at the WGA, for NBCUniversal, as well as at screenwriting conferences, events and festivals both in the US and Europe, Lee is a regular contributor to Script Magazines and the official coach for Final Draft’s Big Break contest winners.
Buy her book, GETTING IT WRITE.
Jun 13 2016
Rank #15: Marine to Author Craig Martelle on Living the Writing Dream
Craig Martelle lives in Alaska (God's Country) and shares how he sets writing goals, accomplishes those goals, and walks his dog while coming up with his ideas and developing them.
We discuss how to compare yourself with these authors who are succeeding when some of us aren't, how to practice discipline in writing, and be both traditionally and self-published.
Craig is a successful author, who has been compared to Andre Norton, David Gemmell, and Larry Niven. He’s taken his more than twenty years of experience in the Marine Corps, his legal education, and his business consulting career to write believable characters living in realistic worlds.
Although Craig has written in multiple genres, what he believes most compelling are in-depth characters dealing with real-world issues. Life lessons of a great story can be applied now or fifty years in the future. Some things are universal.
Visit his author page on Amazon.
Nov 07 2016
Rank #16: Writing SciFi and Fantasy with SFWA member LJ Cohen
Lisa Janice (LJ) Cohen shares her advice on writing speculative fiction, how to approach craft, and what joining memberships like SFWA means.
LJ Cohen is a poet, novelist, blogger, local food enthusiast, Doctor Who fan, and relentless optimist. Lisa lives just outside of Boston with her family, two dogs (only one of which actually ever listens to her) and the occasional international student. When not doing battle with a stubborn Jack Russell Terrier mix, Lisa can be found writing, which looks a lot like daydreaming. She writes SF, Fantasy, and YA novels under the name LJ Cohen.
Check out here books on Amazon, here.
And you can get a free copy of any of her audiobooks at AudibleTrial.com/CreativeWritingCareer.
Feb 22 2016
Rank #17: Scott Lynch on the Best Fantasy Books Ever - His
Justin and special guest cohost PT Hylton sat down with Scott Lynch to talk about his amazing fantasy books, writing epic fantasy, how to work on your craft and improve your prose, why playing video games is important, and more!
Scott Lynch the Author
You might know Scott from his books:
The Thorn of Emberlain (forthcoming)
The Ministry of Necessity (forthcoming)
The Mage and the Master Spy (forthcoming)
Inherit the Night (forthcoming)
Scott Lynch was born in 1978 in St. Paul, Minnesota, where he still lives now. In addition to being a freelance writer for various role playing game companies, he has done all the usual jobs writers put in their bios: dishwasher, waiter, web designer, marketing writer, office manager and short-order cook.
Mar 20 2017
Rank #18: Writing Non-fiction and More, with Honoree Corder
Kevin fist met Honoree at one of the Sterling & Stone events, and they've been besties ever since. Honoree writes non-fiction and more, including her book Prosperity for Writers and the accompanying journal.
Honoree talks how to make a living from writing. While everyone defines being a prosperous writer, Honoree defines it as making enough to live off of from solely your writing. This should be a goal for all of us writers.
Honorée Corder is an authorpreneur, business coach, and serial entrepreneur who helps people clarify their visions and turn them into reality. She empowers others to dream big and go for what they truly want.
Success is simple and not always easy. Honorée's books provide the real-world, time-tested strategies she's used herself and with her clients, so you can get to your next level faster, easier, and with less effort and stress. While she doesn't promise the world, she gives her step-by-step advice to you in a straight-forward, no-nonsense fashion you can use today to get the results you want tomorrow.
In her spare time, she watches too much television, loves to read, travel, learn languages, hang out with her family, and talk about herself in the third person.
Honorenter link description hereee's Amazon Author Page.
Mar 14 2016
Rank #19: Sex and Violence in Your Fiction
Kevin, Justin, and Stephan discuss the issue of sex and violence any how it works in fiction, or doesn't. When should you show it, or should you ever? Should you avoid the topic altogether? Does including sexual violence downgrade your story or have affect our society in negative ways, or is it more important to stay true to the art and characters? Would Game of Thrones be the same if Ramsay didn't do all his horrible stuff?
Though calls! We have our advice on how to tackle it. Let us know what you think.
Jul 18 2016
Rank #20: Jasmine Walt on Writing Urban Fantasy, Book Launches, and Karaoke
Justin and Kevin chat with Jasmine Walt about how she went from Ghost Writing to becoming an author we know and love. Her urban fantasy books are amazing, and their covers are perfect. She talks how she works with a writing partner, how she got into writing, and where she gets her book covers.
We also talk Tough Guy Urban Fantasy, box sets, photo manipulation covers vs illustrated covers, and karaoke at NINC. Exciting!
Check out Jasmine's Amazon Page, and these books:
And the book that J.A. Cipriano is doing (which we discuss): Throne to the Wolves
I’m obsessed with books, chocolate, and sharp, pointy objects. Somehow, those three things melded together in my head and transformed into a desire to write. Usually fantastical stuff, with a healthy dose of action and romance. My characters are a little (okay, a lot) on the snarky side, and they swear, but they mean well. Even the villains sometimes.
When I’m not working on my next book, you can find me working on my dao sword form, spending time with my family, or binge-watching superhero shows on Netflix.
Want to connect? You can find me on Twitter at @jasmine_writes, or on Facebook here.
Oct 17 2016