The Masters

Writers are a unique breed, in that they seek counsel and advice at every turn along their professional path. Books for writers sell like hotcakes, YouTube videos on the subject of writing, or its inspiration, often top the charts, and seminars, conferences, and speeches on the art can normally fill a room with those clamoring to learn more, or hear how to do it better.

I’m most intrigued with those of us who seek out the old masters for advice and wisdom, such as Emily Bronte, Jane Austen, Margaret Mitchell, Robert Heinlein, Arthur C. Clark, Isaac Asimov, Kurt Vonnegut, Jules Verne, J.R.R Tolkien, H.G. Wells, Ernest Hemingway, John Steinbeck, Jack London, Agatha Christie, and, oh, so many more! Depending upon our chosen genres, there are certainly one or more of the preceding names whom writers consider godlike. Well, wait . . .  Does the age of the writer matter? Apparently so, because those mentioned had their masters, too.

Ernest Hemingway admired authors Leo Tolstoy and Anton Chekhov, John Steinbeck prized the King Arthur stories written by Sir Thomas Malory, and H.G. Wells, who wrote what he termed “Scientific Romances” in the late-1800s (later coined Science Fiction), admired George Bernard Shaw to whom a great friendship formed. It is said that Jack London, later in his life, purchased plotlines from an as yet unpublished Sinclair Lewis, saying, “Well, I can’t construct plots worth a dam, but I can everlastingly elaborate.”

But what of today’s “old masters?” To name a few, Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, Nora Roberts, Johanna Lindsey, John Green, Nicholas Sparks, John Grisham, and again, oh, so many more! They had their masters, too. The great Mr. King once stated, “Without Ray Bradbury, there is no Stephen King.” Johanna Lindsey admires authors Kathleen E. Woodiness and Rosemary Rogers, saying they are the writers who started her genre. When author Nicholas Sparks was asked about his inspiration, he said, “I like to think part of my trademark is the quality of the storytelling, and that skill is owed in large part to reading everyone from Stephen King and John Grisham to Ernest Hemingway and John Steinbeck.” Ah, yes, the old masters! (Spark’s has a helpful writer section on his website at: http://nicholassparks.com/for-writers/ )

The masters before us affect us in many ways. Writers should take seriously the scrutiny of their final product, lest their footprints in the literary world be washed away by the next wave. Write a masterpiece, not just a novel to earn a dime! Use your talent the way the “Greats” before you have done. Write so that your name cannot be erased. Dare to become one of the masters.

ORIGINALLY POSTED AT: http://romanceninjas.com/smatterings-4-the-masters/

 

Smatterings – Peanuts and Jam

In this age of throwaway gadgets and modern technology, the art of good old elbow grease should not be dismissed so easily.

While growing up on our remote California farm, my father rarely, if ever, called a repairman for anything. First, we couldn’t afford one, and secondly, few existed in our small farming community. In fact, on top of everything else my father knew how to do, he became a self-taught television repairman. Back then, one didn’t just toss out the old TV and buy a new one—it just wasn’t practical. Everything from the toaster, to the television, to our washing machine was repaired until it couldn’t be, and then we usually went without for a long time. That’s where elbow grease paid off . . . we learned to fix things ourselves. And if the item was beyond repair, we found ourselves handwashing clothes, having bread for breakfast instead of toast, and reading books rather than watching television.

Although writers don’t usually need to print their manuscripts these days (most submissions are electronic), I still find myself printing pages, or editing notes, or other important things. So last week when my printer stopped dead in its tracks flashing “Paper Jam!” I didn’t panic. A paper jam is easy to fix. However, after a few hours of not finding a single scrap of paper while the printer kept insisting it had a jam, my frustration mounted. I just wanted to print my editing notes so that I could keep writing! I wrote less and less with my thoughts intensely focused on those missing notes.

A week passed with my intermittent bursts of hopeful repair work, all to no avail. So today, as I prepared to drive into town for the sole purpose of buying a new printer, I felt my father’s spiritual presence. I had to give it one more try. Now, two hours and several bits of smashed peanut later, my printer works like new–thanks Dad! With all the incredible technology today, it would have been very helpful if the printer had flashed “Peanut Jam!” instead. I’m just sayin’… Maybe the geniuses of the world are aiming too high.

I’ll admit, I will be rethinking eating peanuts at my desk from now on, or else I’ll keep the scavenging dogs out from under my desk where the printer works. Yes, I’m blaming it on the dogs for dropping that fugitive peanut into my printer.

All in all, I think it’s important to point out that elbow grease still works! Although I must admit, spending forty dollars on a new printer last week would have been much easier.

ORIGINALLY POSTED AT: http://romanceninjas.com/smatterings-3-peanuts-and-jam/ 

About Book Reviews

I’ve learned many things since becoming a published author, and some of them have been exceedingly simple. It seems I am always on a voyage of self-discovery, which brings me to today’s topic: I love to read book reviews, whether posted on Amazon, Goodreads, blogs, magazines, wherever. I find lots of good books that way. Recently, I heard it reported that Amazon has almost eight million titles available. How in the world do you find a great story in such a massive amount of books? Sure, you can narrow your search until you’re almost blind from staring at the computer screen, but more likely than not, you’re still going to miss a wonderful book simply because it is listed in a category you didn’t think to check!

Book signings, writer’s conferences, and other author promotions usually draw me like a magnet to them, not only to support the author, but also in hopes of gleaning a bit of wisdom, and maybe with some luck, I’ll learn a few new things. But to be perfectly honest, when I meet a writer—no matter how famous or prolific—who is rude, or insensitive, or bored by it all, or has an “I’m better than you” attitude, I don’t care how good their book is, I’m not buying it. But it’s hard to tell anything at all about a writer when their reviews or author interviews are online, so I often wonder . . . What kind of person are they?

Writing is hard work and anyone who does it, and does it well, interests me. Which brings me to my real question: Why don’t authors comment when a blog posts a review of their book? Why don’t they respond when their readers comment on their interview or review? Once in a while, I’ll see an author commenting, which immediately tells me they care about their readers and respect their interviewer and/or reviewer. I love those authors! That’s probably why my book budget regularly falls into the red—I happily spend my hard-earned money to buy their books. Rarely am I disappointed, but maybe that’s because I go headstrong into the story with a good attitude about the author.

Reviews are vital to an author’s success, and every author knows that to be true. So, if you’re an author, I urge you to stop ignoring your readers, bloggers, and reviewers! Say, “Thanks for taking the time to review my book!” or something more personalized. But say something. Your response tells readers you’re a nice guy/gal writer whose work might deserve a chance.

Two important points: #1 Should an author respond to an Amazon or Barnes and Noble Review? NO! Most likely not. So don’t look for author comments in those places. I’m talking about review sites and blogs only. #2 Many times, authors do not know a review or blog post has been written about them or their book—if they don’t know about it, they can’t be expected to respond.

Originally Posted at: http://romanceninjas.com/smatterings-2-about-book-reviews/

Who Are You?

Who are you?  An authentic answer only comes from one who knows who they were at the beginning . . .

Who were your childhood heroes? Which authors did you adore? Whose stories drew you in? What person did you most see yourself as when you envisioned your future? I believe pieces of each are who you truly are right now, today.

My parents were my heroes. In all honesty, I am a quinquagenarian who was raised on a farm in a tiny community, so there weren’t many people contributing to outside influence. But even if I had grown up in today’s modern world, I’m certain my mom and dad would still have been my heroes. They were hardworking, loving parents who had little more than values, hope, and a sense of wonder to give to their children: Anything can happen. There are magnificent things no one has discovered yet. What else is up there with the stars? My parents made the unknown and the unimaginable familiar.

I grew up with more than 5,000 books in our century old farmhouse. Bookshelves, floor-to-ceiling, were filled with an incredible variety! Me, nor my many brothers and sister, ever heard the words, “You’re too young to read that.” We had the freedom to pull any book off the shelf and start reading. No permission needed. For me, any book written by John Steinbeck, Jack London, Ernest Hemingway, J.R.R. Tolkien, H.G. Wells, or Jules Verne drew me to them like a magnet.

Today, I write in the genres of historical fiction and sci-fi/fantasy. I suppose I should have seen that coming, right? My favorite reading genres are historical fiction, science fiction, and fantasy, although I’ll read any genre as long as the story and the writing are good! It all goes back to the beginning.

Now, when questioned with, “Who are you?” the answer comes easily—I am a writer with a never-ending sense of wonder.

Who are you?

ORIGINALLY POSTED AT: http://romanceninjas.com/smatterings-1-who-are-you/

 

Let Your Favorite Reader Wake Up To An Award Winner On Christmas Morning!

Humbled and Honored

A debut novel emerges on shaky ground, no matter who the author. It’s just fact. It’s an unknown that can be exhilarating, but stressful. Like every other author on the planet, I was optimistic about mine when it debuted in 2015, but honestly had no idea how it would be received. As of this writing, Shadow of the Hawk, has soared beyond my wildest dreams, and I am so grateful.

shadowofthehawk-willa-sealLITERARY GOLD AWARDS: 

Literary Classics International Book Award (2015)

Chaucer Award (2016)

WILLA Literary Award (2016) 

RONE Award (2016)

 

 

The 2016 WILLA Award!

Exciting News! SHADOW OF THE HAWK by K.S. Jones has won the Willa Award2016 WILLA Award in the Children’s/Young Adult Fiction and Non-Fiction category. This is truly a dream come true literary award! The competition has amazingly talented writers. I am grateful and humbled by the honor. This award is for outstanding literature featuring women’s stories and is given annually by Women Writing the West.

Multi-Award Winning Book!

13350374_1041097775957823_7630122808615825622_oShadow of the Hawk, a Depression era story and my debut novel, never ceases to amaze me. It is close to my heart and probably always will be, whether it’s because it was my first, or because it was created from my mother’s memories and her birthplace. Each time its applauded, I imagine her smiling and cheering. Shadow of the Hawk has won the Literary Classics International Book Award for historical fiction, the Chaucer Award for young adult historical fiction, the 2016 WILLA Award in the Children/Young Adult category, and is now a finalist in the RONE Awards. Thank you to all who believed, and to all who hoped, but most of all to my mother, to whom this book is dedicated.

 

Surprising Storms

FB Banner 2 books with photo

The launch of my second book, BLACK LIGHTNING, had a few surprises. The best was having lots more people attend the Facebook Book Launch than was expected! Thank goodness for a few “behind the scenes” saviors for keeping everything together and on track, including my wonderful publisher, Mirror World. The next surprise was having Facebook claim I was posting too fast in the midst of the launch (I was typing and posting like a fiend!) then deciding to block me. Seriously, I was thrown out of my own party. It’s sort of funny now, but not so much at the time. Lastly, a few minutes after the launch ended, a real storm including lightning, thunder, wind, rain, and hail the size of tennis balls, hit battering my home and breaking windows, destroying outbuildings, demolishing outdoor chairs, garden cabinets, trees, and my beloved vegetable garden! It was one of the biggest storms I have ever experienced.

The BLACK LIGHTNING storm with so many friends, family, readers, and publishing staff attending the book launch was amazing, but I could have done without Mother Nature’s attendance.

I hope you’re enjoying my first middle-grade novel called BLACK LIGHTNING!

Until next time …

 

Join The Launch!

LAUNCH - BL  meme blue back white trim

Join the ONLINE BOOK LAUNCH of Black Lightning for a chance to win AUTOGRAPHED BOOKS by some of today’s best authors!

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