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Showing posts from 2014

The Writer's Curse: Anxiety and How I Overcome It

Today's post is more a ramble that I have attempted to edit so it makes sense, and it's certainly an example of my thought process.

First, let me point something out -- Not all writer's experience the same level of anxiety as I do but, for those who do I'm one of them.  I know I'm certainly not alone.

There was this meme going around Facebook a few weeks ago that described the mind of someone creative as being like a browser with a few thousand tabs open all the time.  I cannot stress how true this is.

What it forgot was the constant sense of dread and panic that comes from all that.  Think about it, or, better yet, open as many tabs as you can in your browser without crashing your system.  Now know that if you open even one more that your system will crash, but at the same time if you close anything you'll lose something you were working on because you don't have the option to save it.

The writer is like this especially if we have to balance a day job (and…

Post NaNo Coma Alert!

I realize the last post probably seems a bit like a time warp considering it clearly says there's a few days left in November and we are most definitely almost midway through December... already.


Screaming aside this means I have long finished the first draft to The Last Iron Horse, and yes... it did come in over the 100k mark.  In fact the final word count was 105,340 words.  That being said I am taking a break and not even looking at the manuscript.  I have a few other projects that are overdue and need to be finished up before I do.

That being said...

... It's December!  Why are we even talking about manuscripts and editing and work in general?  The holidays are upon us and we should be celebrating our family and the achievements of the previous year.  And yes, planning for the next but that can come later... as in after Boxing Day later when it's time to put the final polish on whatever New Year's resolution we might have before it's time t…

Last Days of NaNoWriMo 2014

(Originally written near the end of November, but due to issues with the internet was not posted until now.)
Another November rapidly comes to a close. Those of us in the know regarding NaNoWriMo, or just Nano, are probably looking at the last few days in either relief or dread… or perhaps a bit of both. What are my feelings on it? Pretty much the same, actually.
(For those not in the know, head over here and find out… and perhaps join in our insanity for NaNo2015)
I see the end of November with mixed feelings.
The first is, of course, “Thank MF God it’s over.” 50k in a month? Was I for real? And yet, as I update this my current word count is over 80k. I am so exhausted from the gauntlet—the marathon of writing—that the thought of being able to rest my poor aching grey matter for a while is one of vast relief.
I have literally done nothing this month but work (I still do have a day job—and thankfully my boss is understanding enough—and patient enough—to take the NaNo-brain as it…

The great big giveaway - After Oil

I have a really short post for today but a super important one.  If you want an autographed copy of After Oil, for free, delivered to your door then you need to check out the following link;

Goodreads Book Giveaway After Oil by Kristan Cannon Giveaway ends September 30, 2014. See the giveaway details at Goodreads. Enter to win That's right - I'm giving away two copies of the hard cover of After Oil to two lucky GoodReads members. The only catch is that you need to be a member of GoodReads (which is free anyway) and in the US or Canada. If you're in the UK or elsewhere I swear I will have another give away just for you but I have to cover shipping costs which is a little on the expensive side right now.


With the school year upon most of us I know there is more than a few people who will be experiencing the sudden grip of terror upon hearing the following words:

"You need to write an essay on..."

Yeah, those words.

For some of us (myself included) the word isn't such a dirty word.  After all I blog almost every week and a blog is a sort of essay and editorial all rolled into one post.  You might say I'm an old hand at writing them now.  Funny, I didn't feel all that enthused about them when I was in school but now I write them for s**ts and giggles.

All giggles aside--despite the fact that I do write simply because I like to--writing an essay is a bit more involved than sitting down and starting to write.


The first step is to pick a subject, which will also set the format of the essay as well as the tone, and then research it.  Sounds simple enough, right?  Wrong.  Quite the opposite, actually.  On a side note, this is why I applaud each and ev…

From Concept to Shelves: Research Part 2 - The Plot's Still Bare... But There.

I realize that in the last post this was actually the third in my list but the reason I need to start here next is because it controls what the characters need to react to--and in a very major way it also controls where the book takes place... which then leads back to #2.

It seems odd and out of place but in reality it's not.

I can't give away too much of Cold other than that it will eventually be a criminal procedural thriller that is also erotica.  This is where I can see a few eyebrows raising.  There is a reason why my pen name, Meredith Hayes, and my real name will never meet in the middle.  First, anything written as Kristan Cannon is usually PG to just under an R, if it were to have a movie rating.  Also, I tend to write post-apocalyptic and near post-apocalyptic fiction.

My pen name strays into erotica, and that's a heads up.  An author will often--but not always--use pen names to separate genres.  Usually we also don't make a huge secret of the fact.

But I dig…

Declaring Support for Fair Telecommunications

I'm sure this is no surprise but I'm not a fan of big media or big telecom.  This is why I am throwing my support behind and their efforts to make our communications fair, private and ours.  After all we are the paying customers... not the other way around... and our communication providers and media needs to remember this.

Let me tell you two experience I had with the Big Two; Bell and Rogers.

Ten years ago I had a Bell account.  I bought a cell phone from Bell, as well as home service, satellite service and internet.  Well, wouldn't you know the cell phone's screen broke and started to leak.  This is a manufacturer's defect.  Bell's response?  It was water damage and they refused to deal with the phone or the warranty.  I took the phone back to LG and their response?  "It was clearly a manufacturer's defect" and to take the phone back to Bell where the phone was purchased and they would honour the warranty.

Obviously this didn't…

After Oil live on Scribd!

The wait is almost over!  Well, for those who have Scribd the wait is over.

I am very pleased to finally announce that the book will be finally out in all other formats (including the hard cover) within the next few days.  At first it will only be available on the publisher's website or my website until the distribution catches up but once everything trickles down After Oil will be on shelves or available to order at any major bookstore as well as Amazon.

As I said, though, if you can't wait that long it is already on Scribd.

From Concept to Shelves: Research Part 1 - Characters

Research will take the longest time to complete because, frankly, I don't think it ever does finish until the final draft is submitted for publishing.  Unfortunately I often find more that I could have used long after the final word has been written.

As I said, it never ends.

Once I reach the point where research can be done I break it down into the following;

Character research:  Backgrounds, education (including where & when), family backgrounds.  I get into each character's personality and ask questions that will control how they react in the story.Location research:  Where will the novel take place... what's the major "attractions", what's it known for?  Then, once the very basic encyclopedic knowledge is gleaned I start getting more in depth -- I use Google Streets, Google Map, etc.  I chat with people who live there.  Eventually I will even travel there, if its required, and live there for awhile to get a feel for the place as a local would.  For Col…

Belated - A Not so "Happy" Canada Day?

First things first - I am so sorry about this being a week late.  This was supposed to be last week's post but it turned into this week's post instead.

Wow, two major holidays in one week!

Up here in Canada we celebrated our Canada Day on Tuesday.  Unfortunately, this did not result in a longer weekend.  I still had to report to work on Monday.  It's a good thing I actually like where I work so this was not as depressing as it could have been if I did not.  No, unfortunately, I do not always work as a writer (soon...) and my regular day to day involves keeping a really busy construction office as organized as humanly possible.  A task I utterly fail at, if I'm honest.  I'm better than some but I can be frank and honest and say that I fall right in the average mark where it regards organization -- meaning I have to fight with it like everyone else.

I dread to think what my current boss would think of the portable, and somewhat tame, black hole I like to call my pers…

From Concept to Shelves: Rough Plans

In the last post we discussed the concept of where ideas can come from and where I find them.  This time around is all about the first rough idea of where I will take that concept and idea and -- hopefully -- eventually also turn it into a novel.

The projects in question that we're going to follow are my next novel, Cold, as well as a few others in various stages of planning and writing.  The primary one will be Cold as it is in this stage of writing right now.

This stage is where that rough idea that might come from a vacuous half imagined scene, or something, and has to be fleshed out into a novel plan.

At this point I ask myself the following question

Novel or short story?

In the case of Cold I'm aiming for another full length novel.  Why is this important?  Other than length there has to be enough to the backstory and primary plot to justify the length of the novel.  Characters must have a fully fleshed out background and story.  The setting has to be dynamic and detailed. …

From Concept to Shelves: First Steps

From Concept to Shelves:  First Steps

It's fairly obvious by now that for a writer to stay in business she needs to keep writing.  In that spirit I decided to do something a little different.  You are about to follow the entire process -- from concept and research of a new novel to the final realization of seeing it on shelves.

This is the first post in this series and it's about (no surprise here) about coming up with a concept, a basic idea, of what the novel is likely going to be about before we get into the research.

This is part of the Planning Stages; that initial first plunge into the unknown before we start drafting.  For most writers this is also the longest and it's both frustrating and exciting.  Why is it frustrating?  Well, think of it this way -- you're not sure what exactly you're looking at.  It's the blank page... actually, no... it's worse.

With a blank page at least you have an idea of what it is you want to write.

Here... you have no ide…

After Oil is finally on shelves!

After years of working on After Oil we've finally managed to get it to shelves.  I say we -- even though I did write it and it was independently published -- because even as an independent I could not do it without the teamwork behind me.

And that's the key right there.

Teamwork Counts.

Most independent and self-published authors will go into this thinking they can do it all by themselves.  Let me tell you how wrong that misconception is.

Just how wrong?  Let me introduce my team (names changed) just so you have an idea.

Wilma, who edited for grammar and spelling only.  Notice the lack of developmental or plot editing.  She was busy enough catching typos, missed words, misspelled words or words not used properly.  The best author will be very articulate but by the time three am rolls around even the best in the business find that their eyes are ready to fall out of their skulls and mistakes will happen.  So will burnout.  I just wanted this book done so badly that I didn't …