I humbly accept…

Jodi Picoult

There’s that unwritten schism that literary writers get all the awards and commercial writers get all the success.

– Jodi Picoult, Author of 18 novels

According to this quote by Jodi Picoult, I have become a literary blogger as of late. In the last few weeks, I’ve been nominated for a few blogging awards, which I think is just wonderful, because I’m a person who appreciates appreciation.

Also, it is nice to know that I’m not simply writing into the void.

My thanks go to the people who nominated me:

According to the rules of these awards, I’m supposed to say 7 things about myself and then nominate 15 other people for each award. I’ll give you the 7 things, but the 15 other blogs seems a bit chain-letter-y, so I’ll just list some awesome blogs without keeping too close a track on numbers. For the people who do find their links here, take your pick of these awards and tell your friends that you got it here.

7 Things about Josh Mosey

  1. I am happily married (sorry ladies!)to the most beautiful, smart, and hardworking woman in the world (sorry men!).
  2. I took a class in college where I learned how to tie knots and juggle.
  3. I am the founding president of the Valhalla Norwegian Society.
  4. I have more hair on the underside of my arms than most people.
  5. In high school, I helped a non-existent student run for class office, and though he did not win, he beat one of the more popular girls from school.
  6. I have never been afraid to make a fool of myself.
  7. I am afraid of fish.

There you go. The dirty truths come out.

Here are some links.

Some are writers, others are religiously themed. Be sure to visit them all, because they are all quite good.

As it turns out, I came up with 15 links after all, but that was only by happenstance. These are the blogs that I make it a point to read as often as they put new content up.

Thanks again to the folks who nominated me, and thanks to everyone who reads my blog. I honestly didn’t think I’d be able to keep it going for this long.

8 Questions | Meet Roger Colby from Writing is Hard Work

Roger Colby & J.R.R. Tolkien

Today’s post is an interview that I did with fellow blogger and writer, Roger Colby of Writing is Hard Work. If you aren’t following Roger’s blog yet, check it out. If you don’t know where to start, I really enjoyed his recent post on J.R.R. Tolkien’s Ten Tips for Writers.

Anyway, on to the interview!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

1. How did you get into writing?

As a teen I felt kind of like an outcast, so I didn’t really have too many close friends.  I wasn’t a social butterfly, so I spent a lot of time reading.  During my sophomore year in high school I took a creative writing course that changed my life.  I found out that there was something I could do that made people hang on my every word.  Although I was capable of straight “A’s” this was the first class to which I gave everything.  I have been writing in one way or another ever since.  I wrote short stories up until about 4 years ago.  I have a massive collection of these short stories, and many of them are bursting at the seams to become novels.

2. As an English teacher, what is the one thing that you want all of your students to learn above all else?

I want my students to learn how to think for themselves, know why they think it and have evidence for those thoughts.  Too many students are told by a well meaning teacher: “Just write whatever you feel.  It’s ok.  Just write.”  This breeds idiocy.  When students enter my classroom they must support their opinions with fact.  I do not give out knowledge, they find it.

3. What fills your creativity well?

Believe it or not it has never really run dry.  I think there must be a synapse in there that is made from that adamantium Wolverine claw metal.  However, I do find that time alone with a book or time alone on a walk along my road (I live in the country) usually causes my brain to start churning out ideas.  I then have to write them all down in a little notebook or on my iPhone.  I quickly forget them otherwise.

4. How do you balance your writing with the rest of your life?

I have four great children and a wife who is awesome.  I also teach full time, administrate an alternative education program and am active in my local church.  I have to budget out my time.  Time management is probably a writer’s most important tool.  I have about two hours for writing a day scheduled.  I have an hour in the morning scheduled for blogging and another hour scheduled for social networking.  I schedule weekends mostly for the kids and dating my wife.  I must write 1000 words a day, whether or not the writing is absolute garbage.  I also have a wife who understands how important writing is to me.  She is a huge part of my writing flame.

5. Why did you pursue the self-publishing route instead of the traditional publishing model?

I have sent my stuff off for years.  I have published a few things over the years in small local magazines, but nothing that could make it through the glass ceiling of the national publications.  I have a drawer full and a deleted sector of my hard drive full of rejection letters.  Most of them are automated and I know that they didn’t even look at my material.  I became very cynical about the publishing industry when they published Twilight.  That book is a total rag.  It is full of errors, plot holes, and general bad writing.  I scraped together a bunch of money ($2000) and published my first novel through Outskirts Press, a fleecing agency for the uninformed.  After discovering Amazon Createspace and Kindle, Nook and Smashwords, I realized that I could use blogging and social media to help me get more readers and publish for next to nothing.  Self publishing gives me an avenue to get all of this writing down the pipeline so that it is not sitting around on my desktop like the trained dog no one will ever see perform.

6. What are you doing as a self-published author to promote your books?

As stated above, I am blogging regularly, using Facebook and Twitter to network and interact with people who may be potential readers.  I am using a marketing strategy that is somewhat experimental.  The self-published book series “Wool” reached the best seller list because A) the writing is good B) he offered his novel in digital installments which were free and C) he build buzz through blogging and social media.  I am not expecting my book to be a best seller, but I am doing everything to help it along that I can.  It is a lot of work, but worth it if I can at least sell 100 copies (the best case scenario for a self published author).

7. What advice to you have for people considering self-publishing?

Do it.  However, before you go uploading your tome to the internet you might want to consider a few things: 1) Write well. Amazon, at last estimate, had almost 1 million digital books in their library.  Many of these (or I should say most) are people who are not really writers who are lazy and do not care to clean up their grammar or spelling or type-os and are absolutely embarrassing the market.  2) Get an editor.  Find a professional editor and then PAY them to edit your text.  3) Find a writer’s group.  There are writers groups in your area that probably meet at the local library or somewhere.  Get plugged in to that group and have them critique your work.  LISTEN to their critique.  You are not God’s gift to the publishing world.  Be humble.  Take your lumps.  Become a better writer.

8. What do you want people to know about you aside from your writing?

I am an avid fanboy.  I have a full-on, screen accurate Ghostbusters costume, a custom Mandalorian costume, and a 1940’s Captain America costume complete with metal shield.  I do charity events to raise money for Spencer Children’s Hospital and the MDA.  I do this with a local group of fanboys and girls (www.jediokc.com) and geek out with them on a regular basis.  I also consider myself a “world” Christian in that I am absolutely against the “Americanized” version of Christianity that is used as a mule by politicians and is a weekend hobby for most people and a poor representation of what Christianity is meant to be.  I have been to China for 5 weeks, and other missions efforts, and have seen Christianity as it is practiced in other countries.  If only American Christians had the guts that Chinese Christians had, this would be a better world.

The Writing Processes of Vonnegut, Pratchett, Gorey, and Tolkien in Links

In an interview this week with a fellow blogger, I was asked who inspires me. I answered with four different authors, each chosen for a different reason (in order to find out what those reasons are, you’ll have to read the interview). This week, I decided to seek out any wisdom that my four favorites might have to share on the topic of writing.

I was introduced to the writing of Kurt Vonnegut in an ethics course offered by the Lee Honors College at Western Michigan University in my freshman year. We read Slaughterhouse Five and explored the morality represented within its pages. I’ve always enjoyed books, but I haven’t always enjoyed them when they were required reading for school. When I first read Slaughterhouse Five though, I couldn’t put it down. I think I read it twice before the due date and then again before the end of the semester. “Billy Pilgrim has come unstuck in time…” Even just talking about Vonnegut’s work now makes me want to pick up a copy and read it over again. The link here features Kurt Vonnegut’s 8 Rules for Writing. If you are a writer, I hope you click through.

It was sometime in my first year of working at Baker Book House when a coworker exposed me to the genius of Terry Pratchett. I think we were talking about sci-fi and fantasy stories when she told me that she was doing a paper for one of her literature classes on the topic of rule consistency when creating a fantasy world. “It doesn’t need to be just like it is in the real world, but it needs to be consistent within itself,” she said. She went on to tell me that she was using the works of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series as an example of consistency. When no flicker of recognition flashed on my face, she insisted that I read some. The next day, she brought me three books. “When you finish one of these, you are going to want another to start on right away,” she said. She was right. This link is for an interview that Pratchett did a few years back, and the relevant portion for writers begins about midway down the page.

I ran across Edward Gorey in college on a random excursion with my roommate, friend, and sometime muse, Adam. Together, we would visit Barnes and Noble and search through the bargain racks for anything that looked interesting. I picked up one of the Amphigorey books and was instantly in love with the mixture of dark humor, brilliant illustrations, and tales that forced the reader to fill in the blanks with their own imaginations. Alas, I could not find any advice to authors from Edward Gorey, but this link is for his book The Unstrung Harp or Mr. Earbrass Writes a Novel, in which Gorey illustrates the creative process of novel-writing though at the time he wrote this story, he himself had never written a novel. Still, it isn’t far from the truth.

My last author for this list is actually the one that I read earliest in my life. My dad handed me a copy of The Hobbit when I was in 7th or 8th grade and told me that I might enjoy it. I devoured it. Tolkien’s style, characters, and voice drew me in (as they do for anyone who dares to read The Hobbit). After that, my dad gave me a copy of The Fellowship of the Rings which I breezed through as well. And then I hit The Two Towers and got bogged down along with Frodo and Sam in the Dead Marshes. Sadly, I set the series down for a full year before attempting another go. But by that time, I had forgotten half of the details of the story, so I decided to start the whole thing again from the beginning. The Hobbit, check. The Fellowship of the Ring, check. The Two Towers, I powered through it this time, check. After I finished The Return of the King, I was sad the journey was over. LOTR was all I could talk about with my dad for weeks. And then he asked if I knew about the Silmarillion, which I hadn’t. So I decided to start again with The Hobbit, plowed through LOTR, and picked up the Silmarillion. Oh man, I was in nerd heaven. So many things in LOTR were explained, origins of the races, where the wizards came from, what a Balrog is, tales from the first and second ages of the world before the third age (when LOTR is set)! I am helplessly a Tolkien fan, so when I saw this post on Tolkien’s 10 Tips for Writers by the wonderful blogger, Roger Colby, I knew that it was going to be good. Colby culled through Tolkien’s writings and interviews where he discussed his craft and came up with a solid list for writers to use as a reference. Be sure to check it out, as well as the rest of his site.

How I did this week. Also, fun links!Last, for my writing report card, I’m going to give myself a B+ for the week.

I got the most hits in one day to date on Wednesday, I did a blog swap with another blogger, and I had fresh content everyday. The only thing was that I didn’t get a chance to write much on my novel, but I’m not going to let that get me down. Good job, me!

Report Cards, Writing, Blogging, and Hidden Messages, Oh My!

Here we are. It’s been an eventful week on the blog. I had my most hits to date on Monday (65 for those of you who like to know that sort of thing). I introduced the main character from my WIP, and posted a review of a book within the same genre. And, I started my first book giveaway (you can still enter to win until Monday morning when I pull the winner).

How I did this week. Also, fun links!As far as a grade for my writing report card goes, I’ll give myself a B. In taking time for blogging (which is totally worthwhile in its own right), I’ve not taken as much time to work on my novel.

Perhaps I’ll do better this next week.

Perhaps I won’t. But I’ll try.

You should visit me again to find out.

But I digress, let’s get on to the week’s top links!

In first place, I’d like to share another link to my writer friend Bob. He and I made a gentleman’s challenge this past week to see who could get a certain amount of hits on a given day. I’m new at this, and Bob has been blogging for a while, so it was an ambitious challenge for me to make. Anyway, I’m convinced that Bob is cheating, because he did a post this week that was pure quality. If you are a writer or have ever encounter’s writer’s block, check out this link.

Right up there with Bob’s post is this post from a blog called “Writing is Hard Work”. Truer words were never spoken (or written, as it were). The post linked here gives 6 ways to begin a novel. So if the reason that you haven’t experienced writer’s block yet is because you haven’t started a novel, here are some good ways to get started.

Then, for other bloggers out there, I came across this post on blogging mistakes that is quite good. I got permission to link to it here because I found it helpful as a guy just wading into this murk we call blogging.

Here’s one for all of my non-writer, non-blogger friends. Jessie Clemence and her husband Eric were one of the first people to befriend me when I got to Western Michigan University. After only one year of getting to know them, they graduated and I didn’t expect to see them again, but after a year or so, they moved to Grand Rapids and we reconnected. As it happened, in one of the summers between school years, I had two jobs. I worked in a dirty warehouse in the morning, then moonlighted as a waiter at Big Boy at night. My own house was too far away to be able to go home and clean up between shifts, so Eric and Jessie let me come over and use their shower. They are truly some of the nicest people out there. Anyway, check out Jessie’s blog. It’s filled with spiritual inspiration for people in general and families in specific.

Dare I forget to mention my contest again? If you just stumbled upon my blog, I’ve got a contest going, the prize for which is a shiny used set of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Maybe you’ve read it, maybe you own it, but wouldn’t you like to tell everyone you know that this contest is going on? Come on, please?

And that’s pretty much it. If this week’s contest goes over well, I’ll do another one. I work at a bookstore and have access to lots of great books that I can use to giveaway. I’ve already got some good responses and suggestions for my blog, so I hope to continually improve it as I go. Thanks for stopping by!

Yowsa! (Did you catch the hidden message in today’s post? If you did, pass it on to my brother here.)