Advice for Aspiring Writers, a Guest Post by Joyce Schneider, author of Her Last Breath

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I’m thrilled to be helping to celebrate Her Last Breath, the second psychological thriller by J.A. Schneider, after Fear Dreams – featuring highly intuitive NYPD detective Kerri Blasco. Her Last Breath and is published in e-book and paperback and is available for purchase here.

You can read an extract from Her Last Breath here.

Her Last Breath

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A chilling psychological thriller about a woman caught between two men…

Mari Gill wakes to horror in a strange apartment next to a murdered man, and can’t remember the night before…

Accused of murder, she feels torn between her husband, a successful defense attorney, and a mysterious, kind man who wants to help.

Can she trust either of them – or even her friends? Detective Kerri Blasco battles her police bosses believing Mari is innocent…but is she?

Advice for Aspiring Writers

A Guest Post by J.A. Schneider

Never give up. Never stop writing. Life will do everything it can to throw you roadblocks and disappointment, but keep at it. It’s hard to maintain the passion in the face of constant rejection, but don’t forget what made you start writing in the first place. Also, avoid comparing your beginning to someone else’s middle. Those “oh-so-lucky best sellers” you see in the top slots on Amazon – 99% of them, anyway – went through decades of rejection and frustration.

Her Last Breath is my eighth book. Readers are finally starting to hear about me. Or maybe it began with my seventh book, Fear Dreams –  but before those two psychological thrillers I wrote the six-book Embryo medical thriller series, which had some success, acquired a small but loyal following, but didn’t resonate as Fear Dreams did. Which, again, was my seventh book. If I had given up after six…

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Often, the hardest part is not the writing at all, but keeping alive the will to keep going. For inspiration and encouragement, two of my favorite author quotes are David Baldacci’s “A writer is always terrified,” and E.L. Doctorow’s “Writing is like driving at night. You can only see as far as your headlights.” Other terrific quotes are Tess Gerritsen’s “Do you have the guts to stay with it?” and Stephen King’s “Just flail away at the g-damn thing.” I have a collection of those quotes on a Word doc which I keep open to the left of my writing draft, and those quotes are my crutch, like friends saying, “Hey, we’ve all been through the same thing!”

That collection of quotes is a comfort, and since those writers have more years of hair tearing and toil behind them than I do, I’d like to share a few of their helpful nuggets with you. Herewith, for inspiration and encouragement:

Hugh Howey: “Try to worry about the writing and nothing else. Also look at it as a marathon, not a sprint. My bestselling book was my eighth or ninth. As soon as it took off, the rest of my books took off with it. The idea that we can pub one title and it will catch on … your odds are better that you’ll rope a unicorn.”

Lisa Gardner: “It took a good ten years for me to become an overnight success. (Laughter).”

Bella Andre: “Seven years of frustration, my publisher dropped me…”

T.R. Ragan: After 20 years, I began to question my sanity and the whole perseverance thing. I knew this writing business wouldn’t be easy. If it were, everyone would be doing it. But I never thought it would be this hard. By the time I had signed with my second agent and worked with two editors, I decided to stop writing romance and start writing thrillers. I took my frustration with the industry and unleashed it as I wrote my first serial killer novel.”

[When sales of Abducted reached 300,000 (after 20 yrs of tears) Ms Ragan was approached by two of New York’s big five publishers—at long last. “I said, ‘Forget you,’” Ragan recalls, laughing. Instead, she signed with Thomas & Mercer…]

There’s also that wonderful passage from the Bible, Galatians 6:9: ”Do not give up, for in due season you shall reap if you do not tire.” You don’t have to be religious to appreciate that one. It’s pretty powerful.

As a final note I’d suggest that you not show your first draft to others until you’ve reached the end. That first draft is fragile, you’re in the earliest phase of finding your story from the sticky morass of characters and plot threads. Any comments, positive or negative, can affect the way you feel about your story before its elements have cleared for you, in their own time.

There can never be enough encouragement for you, so hang in there; keep those imagination wheels turning even if pushed to the back burner. No matter what the stress or distraction, it can also be helpful to keep an old-fashioned notebook, in hand, literally. It just feels good to hold. On bad days, get one sentence into it before the bleep hits the fan again. You’ll feel better. Keep the dream alive.

About Joyce Scneider

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J.A. (Joyce Anne) Schneider is a former staffer at Newsweek Magazine, a wife, mom, and reading addict. She loves thrillers…which may seem odd, since she was once a major in French Literature – wonderful but sometimes heavy stuff. Now, for years, she has become increasingly fascinated with medicine, forensic science, and police procedure. Decades of being married to a physician who loves explaining medical concepts and reliving his experiences means there’ll often be medical angles even in “regular” thrillers that she writes. She lives with her family in Connecticut, USA.

You can find out more about J.A. Schneider on her website, on Goodreads, by following her on Twitter and on Facebook. All of Joyce’s books are available here.

You an find out more from and about Joyce with these other bloggers:

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