June is Pride Month and on the Artsy Raven podcast we are releasing episodes featuring a LGBTQ author every Sunday. More details available in our June newsletter (click here), including which episode to listen to which has a submission call for short stories. It was great to talk to these authors who all generously shared their challenges and struggles, but despite all this, they all remain optimistic and achieved their goals!
At the end of May we had a book launch for Belief, an anthology featuring Asian authors. I was happy that my 3-tiered cake didn’t fall down and it was a lot of fun baking, even though I’ve lost my sense of smell and taste after the COVID vaccine. Since I take care of my 105-year-old grandma, I get tested for COVID every week and it’s been negative. Anyhow, we recorded the Belief event which can be watched on Youtube here. More details about the book here.
Comedian Josh Williams and I talked a little bit about Belief and other things in life on his One Man Podcast, click here. His podcast is a casual conversation and somehow I impressed him with my talk about the radioactive sandwiches I fed people when I worked in Nuclear Medicine!
I’ve been trying to do more writing by doing writing sprints with an indie author group every Sunday night, but it’s been slow. My brain is still split on weekdays because of virtual school and I can’t write one sentence without the kraken (my child) demanding something. I’m not sure at what age human children become more useful!
For more detailed Artsy Raven podcast episode summaries, they are posted on Patreon and Ko-fi every Sunday.
May is Asian Heritage month and this year on the Artsy Raven I interviewed a few of the authors from the Belief anthology, a book which has been getting some PR on Canadian radio stations. This is the first book I’ve ever done marketing and interviews via radio stations so I’m not sure what the ROI is on doing this, we will see! Visit the book page to see the radio interviews and other media links, including The Richard Crouse Show on Newstalk 1010 and THE RAW MIKE RICHARDS SHOW on SAUGA 960 AM: http://www.darkhelixpress.com/acww/belief/
Every week in May I’m dropping an interview with a Belief author and they read their piece from the anthology as well. It’s really great to hear the authors read from pieces which we have been editing for a few months and they give life to their words! Check out the Artsy Raven podcast page for dates of when the episodes will be released: https://jfgarrard.com/arpodcast/
The podcast pace hasn’t been too bad, I am not an exhausted pigeon yet! Until next time!
Ed Seaward’s interview and reading with the Artsy Raven is now live. He is the happiest person I know and yet his latest book Fair, is about the violent life on the LA streets. He was a screenwriter, worked in the energy field and now retired from “real work” but is writing novels. He has a lot of good advice to give writers and I consider him a great mentor. Check out our episode below to gain some of his wisdom.
In addition, he is giving copies of Fair along with a $10 USD Amazon gift card. Two winners will each receive one e-book and one Amazon gift card. Enter between April 4-9, 2021, winners will be contacted via e-mail!
The second episode of The Artsy Raven podcast features Maya Svevak, a scientist, lawyer, activist and author of Svevi Avatar: Persecution of Constantina. She shares with us what inspired her to create a fantasy world in her series of books which take place in an alternate timeline where European colonization didn’t happen. Her world explores the 7 core ecosocial (ecological + social) issues of our time which include issues related to: indigenous peoples, environment, identity, gender violence, capitalism, health, and culture. She also shares writing tips, how she published her books and the collaborative relationship she has with her team of artists.
The first episode of The Artsy Raven podcast is live! It’s available on Spotify and YouTube at the moment. Anchor will be sending out the podcast to other channels as well, but it’s still early so the computers are all talking to each other and negotiating, I presume. Bonus content about the secrets of success from the guests for each episode is available exclusively on Patreon.
We had a tiny party with myself, my husband and my little one because of COVID and we didn’t feel comfortable asking people over to our tiny apartment. The cake was baked by Ginny who is fighting on Food Network’s Great Chocolate Showdown and it is a chocolate cake. She said all sorts of fancy words like “caramel something” and “ganache something,” I will have to ask her for exact terms before I post about the specifics of the cake! But it was yummy, that’s the important part!
Chris Gorman, the first guest on The Artsy Raven, has been recording the Words with Writers podcast for a while now and he was the most prepared guest. I had sent him questions and he actually wrote out almost every word he was going to say and even practiced reading the entire transcript to note his speaking time! Of course when we actually did the recording, we interjected impromptu things and I had to cut him off from answering three questions or else we would go overtime.
It’s a bit frightening how fast the podcast went up after the files were ready for uploading. With the click of a button, it was live on Spotify/YouTube and I could see it in the search engines when I look for it. Editing the podcast took a few hours in comparison and I hope in the future I can produce these episodes faster as I become more experienced. At the moment I’ve booked a lot of “local” guests and the challenge in the future is asking “strangers” to come onto the show. I feel I need to have a few more episodes up before approaching big potatoes to come onto the show.
Yesterday someone dragged me into a Zoom conference about selling and customer retention. One of the guests said that you need at least 35 YouTube videos before anyone notices you are alive! Eek!
For my new Artsy Raven podcast I have confirmed 8 people to be guests for me to interrogate (um, interview), so in a few months I’ll have over 35 podcasts and people will hopefully notice I am trying to spread the love of reading, writing and publishing! In a way I feel like I’m on a conveyer belt right now, just churning out podcast scripts and graphics. Maybe one day I’ll be rich enough to hire a minion to help me…
I start off with a template script and for each guest I modify based on what they write or what their occupation is. One of my upcoming interviews is with a book marketer – Chris of The Idea Shop, and I am super excited about talking to him. Authors want readers and he is a book marketing master for the Canadian market. I’m sure he will share lots of great ideas will us struggling writers!
To organize the scripts I numbered them onto my Google Drive. This way I can also share them easily with my guests and they can edit too before we meet. Onwards with another day!
Everyday I turn down the chance to promote authors 99% of the time because the magazines I work with have limited capacity for interview pieces. As an author I know that writing is hard work and marketing is even harder. For a long time I pondered how to help these people and finally I decided I should launch a podcast with the writers as superstars!
Whenever I finish listening to an author interview on a podcast, I often want to hear them read. So I thought why not? Let’s make a show to interview authors and then ask them to do a reading!
In parallel my husband is bugging me about how come I didn’t earn enough as a writer and publisher to pay the accountant in 2020. I had thought about Patreon in the past but a combination of self-doubt and imposter syndrome led me to not do it. Under some buckling pressure, I decided to launch my own Patreon page and made an account on Ko-Fi (digital coffee) to hit the goal of paying the accountant next year. I can do a lot of things, but accounting ain’t one of them!
I don’t know if this podcast will succeed or fail. But I am ordering a small cake for the podcast launch from Ginny who is competing on “The Great Chocolate Showdown” on The Food Network Canada right now so at the very least I will have dessert. What’s another five pounds on top of my already gained COVID weight?!
As Lao Tzu said, “A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.”
As my mom says (whenever I start a crowd funding endeavor), “I will give you money, stop groveling and stop writing!” If this was about money, I would have taken her up on her offer a long time ago.
During a meeting in Jan 2021 with a few Asian authors, they lamented over the fact that they haven’t been getting much support from others since they were isolated due to COVID-19 and they lived in places with relatively few Asian people. This inspired Ricepaper Magazine to put together a Write-Rice Asian writers support group. Of course, it’s also open to anyone supportive of diversity, we want to be inclusive as well!
The list of topics we will touch upon includes the different methods of publishing to tips on how to write better. The hosts for 2021 are JF Garrard, Vincent Ternida, Derwin Mak and Cynda Yeasting. For more details and to register for these free sessions, click on this link: ricepapermagazine.ca/writerice
Feb 19 – JF Garrard (What are the different options for publishing? Traditional/Self-Publishing/Vanity/Podcasting/Youtubing, etc)
March 19 – Vincent Ternida (What is the difference between short stories, novels and poetry?)
April 16 – Derwin Mak (What do editors look for? Surviving the slush pile and looking for submission calls for fantasy and science fiction genres)
May 14 – Cynda Yeasting (What is an author platform? Discussion about networking and promotion ideas)
June 18 – JF Garrard (What is the difference between genres? Scifi/fantasy/horror/specfic/magical realism, etc)
July 16 – Vincent Ternida (Writing a good villain and interesting characters)
August 20 – Derwin Mak (What happens at genre conventions for science fiction, fantasy or romance? Are they worth the money to learn about writing?)
Sept 17 – Cynda Yeasting (Social Media 101. What is the difference between Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/Tiktok, etc)
Oct 15 – Vincent Ternida (Writing realistic fiction and plotting)
Nov 19 – JF Garrard (Nainowrimo Write in session, e-book prizes during “Word Wars” in which people compete to see who can write more words in 10 mins)
Dec – no session, survey link will be made available for feedback
Since we are all stuck at home because of COVID-19, it’s made it easier to attending writing events. Mind you, I miss connecting with people in person, nothing can replace this and I hope COVID-19 is over soon so we can travel.
As a person on a budget I’m always looking for free things. Probably cause I grew up in a frugal household. Anyhow, below are a few free events I’m attending which are virtually held to learn more about the craft of writing. Usually after reading sessions there are Q&As, so you can ask questions to help with your own work.
If I find any more interesting ones, I’ll repost with additional information. Eventbrite also has a lot of free online events as well.
The festival takes place in Brampton, Ontario, providing an important space for writers to discuss their craft and the challenges involved in creating stories that ask difficult questions, expose hard truths and push literary boundaries.
This online author conference run twice a year in association with the Alliance of Independent Authors and (in normal times) other major global conferences like Digital Book World (US) and the London Book Fair (UK). The event attracts the foremost speakers, sponsors and followers. Competitions and giveaways, as well as interviews, panel sessions, debates, round tables, and live-tweeting all add to the excitement on conference days.
Lately I’ve been querying more and have been getting lots of rejections. As usual I wonder why the heck I am a writer. We are the most depressing people we know! I won one short story contest which was fantastic and I’ve been promoting that by making a cover for it (The Blue Son), but the glory is over in ten seconds!
With this COVID stuff going around, everyone is scared and rethinking about what’s important to them. I’ve been writing a more since I’m leading a writing group for the Canadian Authors Association’s Toronto Branch and have an obligation to keep writing. I horrified a few writers by confessing that I tossed out the draft manuscript for my second vampire book (sequel to The Undead Sorceress) and am starting again from scratch. Between publishing my first book and now, I have learned a lot from my creative writing teachers, my style has changed and my ideas of plot lines for the book has been thought out more. I’m also selling/publishing more short fiction as they are easier to pitch than novels. For the Asian Canadian Writers Workshop, we are working on another anthology and that will probably come out next year.
Today a friend sent me an article about author logos. It’s a pretty good read and talks about advantages of having one. Similar to any corporate logo, it will only take you so far because at the end of the day, you still need a good product (your writing). I made one as an exercise for fun and am not sure if it works or not. The logo has robots because I write a lot of sci-fi/people and the flower is for fantasy/Asianess. I write horror too, maybe I should have added some bloody drops? Or a ghost rising out of the flower? Should I add I’m a publisher too? Will have to think about this some more!
Please enjoy your time while this COVID nonsense is going on and stay safe!