I am actually a bit giddy. Oh yes...very cool that I got Lori Lopez to share some time. That makes this the 99th blog post for those of you keeping count. Hmm...only me? Well that's okay. I have decided to make this a bit of a teaser for Friday (the magic number 100). So, here are the things I will giving away: an audio file of yours truly on guitar and vocals singing "Stranger Things Have Happened"; free ebook copies of DEAD: The Special Edition Compendium; That Ghoul Ava; and our newest anthology, Spiders (icky). Also, one lucky person will be given the gift of semi-immortality as I will be choosing a "companion" for Snoe in the fifth Zomblog book that will be written and released next year. So...what do you need to do to win? Simply show up on Friday.
So...enough of me...here is Lori Lopez!
It just seemed a natural thing for me to do, a calling. I was good at it from early on, and I was always writing some story or poem or play . . . something. My imagination demanded it. At age fifteen I knew I wanted to write novels. I've always loved verse too. I composed more than fifty songs across the decades, prior to starting a poetry column in order to take time for it. I've always been writing something in prose, whether fiction or nonfiction. Now my emphasis is short stories and novels, but each month I also write some poems.
So many writers are hounding the social sites for reviews. Do you think it is a give and take, or is there a lot of taking with very little reciprocation?
Reviews are precious to writers. I'm not a reviewer. Now and then I will seek out those who are reviewers, but that can backfire if they don't ordinarily read your genre. Personally, because I have so many projects to finish and release, and new ones continually cropping up, it's a struggle for me to reciprocate with reading and reviewing for other authors. I try to be upfront about that. Some just review, and some authors graciously review for others without expectations. I appreciate that tremendously. I'm not to the point yet where I have a lot of readers that I don't know, let alone readers who post reviews. I'd like to sincerely thank everyone who has reviewed my work, even negative ones. I can remember when it wasn't being read.
You are the author of one of my favorite reads this year; the cat story was an absolute gem. Share some of the inspiration.
Thanks, Todd. I'm glad you enjoyed CHOCOLATE-COVERED EYES. Also "Unleashed", which is the first in a series of short stories based on the nine lives of a feline. The main character is a tuxedo alley cat named Midnight. The real Midnight was quite a rugged survivor. She had apparently encountered some form of abuse as a stray, because she was deathly afraid of humans. We adopted Midnight when her mother brought her to our yard. She would only trust me and my sons. Inspired by her toughness yet shyness, I developed the concept of a cat influenced by abuse to become homicidal. Despite the serious topic, there's a lot of humor in it too. I had fun writing the story and hope to release Tail Two by the end of the year.
What is the difference between being an author and a writer?
Well, we use the terms interchangeably, but I think of an author as a writer who has completed works and is both published and read, usually with a following. Anyone can say they're a writer. Many are writing something or other. But getting it done, getting it out there, and getting it read . . . that's something else. It's a matter of professionalism, I think. An author is accomplished and respected. That is the goal of the writer, to reach that level. Until recent years, I was just a writer..
Who are you a fan of in the Indie scene?
There are a number of fellow authors (yes, authors) I admire. You're one of them. You seem to be achieving significant success in this business. I've read excerpts by you, and you're a bright talent. There are a number of other stars of the indie community I am very privileged to call friends and colleagues. I feel I'm part of something historic, that we are among those who represent this movement, and that the terrific authors I have come to know will rank as some of the great voices of an era.
The writing community can be its own worst enemy at times. What are some of the issues you see cropping up in the Indie world? Solutions?
There tends to be a lot of griping . . . about bad reviews and trolls, low sales, lack of support, too much promotion, giving work away for free or too cheap, and so on. Wars can erupt and factions develop over misunderstandings, tempers and emotions. It's uncomfortable to be caught in the middle between friends. I try to get along with people and be supportive. Nobody should make public attacks or attack the work of a fellow writer out of jealousy or in order to get even or to vent their frustrations. We all need to maintain a degree of composure. It's about being professional. We also need to treat each other with respect. Writers should remember that readers are also important members of the community. They're watching. Show some dignity. That's part of being an author, I believe.
|(editor's note...one of my favorite titles this year!)|
The social media is…
Essential but also blocking. Promoting and networking online is vital and free. It has made a huge difference in my career. I had a few print books out but was getting nowhere. Joining the indie community online changed that. I'm very grateful because I wasn't being read and now I am. I also started to release E-books (CHOCOLATE-COVERED EYES was the first last October for Halloween). The drawback: I find I can spend the entire day on Facebook and get no writing done. Not that I comment or chat a lot, or see what everyone's posting. I just don't have much time to spare, so I do what I can and try to find balance.
It's important to join groups as an author to promote your work, but some of the groups get upset if you don't spend time commenting regularly and hanging around. This is difficult for me, and I can only participate in a few on a very limited basis. Other groups, I occasionally try to check what's posted and support some of the posts with Likes, maybe a comment. I don't spam the groups by posting the same thing over and over. I mainly promote when I have something new that I feel would be of interest or need to let people know about. I get tired of hearing complaints in groups about promotion and tend to avoid those kind. Some groups welcome promotion. With them I feel comfortable. I joined groups primarily to share and promote my work. Besides my writing, it can be all I have time for.
But groups have helped for networking too. And I have met some terrific people in them. I do my best to stay in touch with friends. I am very glad to have made some online. I was without any in my life for a while. Yet it can be challenging to keep up with everything, and I don't know how other authors post and comment as much as they do, plus have a "real" life in the physical world, plus get any work done. It's beyond me. Most days I'm on the computer twelve or more hours and still don't get a lot accomplished. I don't write fast. And I do the artwork for my covers. Each one takes a day or two now; they used to take longer.
I can't participate with other social networking sites or groups because I can't even keep up on Facebook, which I consider the best. I might have to skip it for days to finish projects. And as much as I try to stay out of the drama, I have suddenly found myself in the midst of it.
Share some information about your work with us:
I write in a lot of genres, often at the same time. Horror and Fantasy are the most common. Horror is my favorite; always has been. There is often some humor too. At this minute I have a couple of novels, a volume of verse based on my monthly column "Poetic Reflections" and two story collections. Also a good amount of short stories and novelettes released individually as E-books, all self-published by choice because I prefer to have creative control over my work and prefer to edit my own way. That's important to me. I'm about to release a third collection that focuses on Horror titled THE MACABRE MIND OF LORI R. LOPEZ. A number of the stories were published or accepted for anthologies. I will be releasing an illustrated print version of my novel AN ILL WIND BLOWS this year, along with more stories and hopefully more books.
What is one question you are sick of being asked—not in interviews, but by individuals who know you write?
Some people ask me for advice and I try to give it. What can bother me are people I don't know who just start pumping me for information on publishing (when they could ask it in a group) or because they think I look like someone who can help them, and then never say another word to me or else keep trying to chat when I've let them know I don't have time to talk. It should be my choice whose work I recommend. I don't like being pushed to do so. I'll give what advice I can and let them know I'm very busy.
How will you deal with negative reviews?
I've already had to deal with some. Generally because they didn't like the story or writing style. An opinion. Opinions will vary, and we need to keep that in perspective. However, there are troll reviews which usually have nothing to do with the story or book but are aimed at the writer. It's a personal attack, based on an often imaginary or inflated grievance. Or maybe the person had a bad day and needs to take it out on someone else. I've received troll reviews recently, levelled at one story. Two of them are gone thanks to community support; the other one-star review may be an honest opinion, but it was still pretty extreme and not very nice. The important thing is to keep your cool and try not to dwell on those. Once you have a large number of reviews, a few bad ones shouldn't affect your rating or the success of your work. I don't have that many reviews yet, so it was quite glaring. You just can't let them get to you. Don't take it personally; don't get discouraged. Keep writing and publishing. Prove the naysayers wrong. Don't respond, because that isn't professional. It will only make you look bad.
How much reading do you get in, and can a writer excel at his or her craft if they do not read?
I enjoy reading indie authors. I find their work to be fresh and exciting. I just can't often spare the time. It's a goal of mine to relax more, read more, in the future. Right now I'm too backlogged with projects and anxious to release them. I read snatches here and there, excerpts, an occasional story. Some I read, even books, while editing for other writers I respect and believe in, as a favor. I'm always glad that I did read these works, such as the thrilling horror tales of Jerry W. McKinney. It just requires a lot of concentration and isn't as much fun as simply reading. I tend to pressure myself a great deal because I feel I have lost too much time in my life from being able to write and publish, and I have so many projects that were pushed aside. I'd rather be writing. It has to be my priority. It's where I'm at in my journey, my career.
Can I excel at writing without reading? Yes. I read voraciously as a child. It helped prepare me. In my twenties and thirties I also read. Since finally starting to write full-time about fifteen years ago, I've had to curb that desire. I watch movies and some shows to unwind and recharge my creativity, to give my eyes a break from words. Sometimes I miss reading and need to gobble some paragraphs up like a snack. But the truth is, all the while I am writing I am reading . . . what I'm writing. I edit as I go, then still do a number of edits at the end. I write what I would like to read, therefore I do enjoy reading what I write.
What is the greatest lesson you have learned in your career that you wish you could go back in time and tell a younger you?
Don't wait as an adult. Don't let life block you. Find the time to write. Make the time. Life hurtles by and you will always be busy, so you have to grab time and wrestle it into submission. Don't wait for the right time or it might not come.
What projects are you currently working on?
Along with releasing the horror collection and a few print versions, some of my immediate goals include several urgent short stories (a couple for anthologies), another horror collection, Parts Two and Three for my vampire trilogy "Jugular" . . . Oh, there's also a novel for kids I wrote in Ninety-Eight. I need to retype it onto the computer and do some artwork. I have a lot of projects, and I keep changing my mind about what to do next. I'd like to finish the first sequel to my novel DANCE OF THE CHUPACABRAS this year, but I doubt there will be time. Early next year. I just need to focus on something long enough to get it out, before something else interferes, ha ha. That's how it seems to go.
What is one thing about you that would surprise the readers who do not know you personally?
I don't speak the way I write. I don't speak much at all except to people I'm comfortable with. Then I can talk a lot. I use more plain English when I do talk and, gasp, can even be quite redundant. (In my writing, I go to scrupulous lengths to avoid noticeable redundancies, just as I care about the flow and cadence of each line and enjoy using uncommon terms, the full extent of the language.)
If you could “redo” one of your works, which one would it be and why?
I wouldn't redo anything I have published now. I did add a Part Two for my werewolf tale "The Lycaning" recently. The idea fit perfectly so I went with it. And I did previously remove a series of very eccentric passages from DANCE OF THE CHUPACABRAS that were just too much. I might publish them separately or in a special edition. But it was a wise decision to remove them. The style of the book is eccentric enough.
Is there anyone you’d like to give a mention?
I'd like to thank Jennifer Thomas, a fan on Facebook who has become a wonderful friend. She's very supportive of indie authors, and she even started a fan group for me there. I'm not widely read yet, and it seemed kind of strange, but I am trying to open up more and share progress with my writing in the group. Members are also welcome to share excerpts and reviews and such. As for Jennifer, she is the sweetest person. I'm very fortunate to know her.
I'd also like to mention that my son Rafael is a talented poet and aspiring author. He will be releasing his first book of verse soon, related to a fantasy world he created for a series of novels. The verse in the book was all penned by the poets of that world. I think it's a pretty unique concept. He has some great ideas. I'm very proud of who he is, and he helps me with technical stuff related to writing and publishing. His brother Noél is also interested in writing, music too. We have various plans together. We collaborated on the book trailer for DANCE OF THE CHUPACABRAS a few years ago.
What is in your “to be read” pile right now?
Works by other indie authors, including you. I'm hoping to find more time next year as I said. I am trying to read short stories this year. I started one by Billie Sue Mosiman called WALLS OF THE DEAD. It's an interesting tale by a superb storyteller.
(BOOK TRAILER FOR "DANCE OF THE CHUPACABRAS")
ENHANCED DANCE OF THE CHUPACABRAS: THE VIDEO - HD
POETIC REFLECTIONS COLUMN:
AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE:
FACEBOOK AUTHOR PAGE:
LORI R. LOPEZ AND FRIEND FAN PAGE
GOODREADS AUTHOR PROFILE:
Some available titles . . .
(E-BOOK SHORT HORROR COLLECTION)
DANCE OF THE CHUPACABRAS
AN ILL WIND BLOWS:
(E-BOOK SHORT STORY)
(E-BOOK SHORT STORY)
(E-BOOK SHORT STORY)
(E-BOOK SHORT STORY)
(E-BOOK SHORT STORY)