Our Independence


Hello and welcome back.  We’ve been away for a bit but we haven’t been idle.  In our absence we’ve been learning to streamline our processes, focus our branding and sharpen our vision for Crescent Sol.  While we have many ideas for new projects we want to pursue, we are first and foremost, independent writers/authors who want to publish our own work.  We believe that indie-publishing gives us the most freedom with our work and, in our opinion, provides the most authentic and true representation of who we are.  Thank you for staying with us.  

So, why indie-publishing?  When someone writes a book, the author wants as many people to read it as possible.  Most people don’t have the funds that are required to distribute books nationally and internationally, so they submit their work to a publishing house.  The publishing house wants to make money like any other business so they don’t want to publish and promote a book that won’t turn a profit.  A lot of books are rejected.  A lot of good books.  The few that are selected are edited and often sections are reworded or rewritten to make the book more marketable.  Everything is subject to revision by the publishing house.  This is not necessarily a bad thing.  Weak sections can be strengthened by professional editors, professional graphic designers can create eye-catching covers.  There are professional readers, marketing teams, distribution teams, focus groups, etc….   But after all of the changes , is it still the same book the author envisioned?

So, what’s the difference?  Independent authors also submit their work to editors, they also collaborate with graphic designers to create their covers, they even hire PR firms to guide them on how best to market their product.  If the steps are similar, why take on all of the added work and responsibility by going independent?  For Tracie and me, it’s about having complete creative control over our work.  We want our books to be read by as many people as possible, but not at the expense of our autonomy.  We also want our selves to be reflected in our work when we reveal it to the world.  Our work will still be revised and polished but it will always be uniquely and completely us.

For Fear Of Great Change

from the yellow sofa

By: Carl Nickles

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To make a any change in your life, no matter how small, you need key ingredients - Desire, belief, planning, discipline and progress.  They are all interconnected and they can all be destroyed by fear.  Fear can alter your belief in yourself and it can kill desire preventing it from growing into passion.  Fear can sabotage your  plan which prevents you from being disciplined. Without discipline and consistency, progress is nearly impossible to attain.

How do we eliminate or manage fear, particularly when it comes to writing? A suggestion I read in Brenda Ueland’s book called “If You Want To Write” reads “I’ve found that many gifted people are so afraid of writing a poor story that they cannot summon the nerve to write a single sentence for months.  The thing to say to such people is:  ‘See how bad a story you can write.  See how dull you can be.  Go ahead.  That would be fun and interesting.  I will give you ten dollars if you can write something thoroughly dull from beginning to end!’  And of course no one can.”  

If your desire is to write, then make the plan to write often (daily) and believe that you can do it.  Show up and watch yourself improve.  Write freely, fearlessly, and even horribly.  Above all, shed light on your fears and kill them before they derail you.  It won’t always be easy or “fun”, but great change rarely is.  I’ll let you know how it goes.  What are some ideas and methods you use to get past the fear of writing?  Let me know in the comments.

From the movie After Earth:

“Fear is not real. The only place that fear can exist is in our thoughts of the future. It is a product of our imagination, causing us to fear things that do not at present and may not ever exist. That is near insanity. Do not misunderstand me danger is very real but fear is a choice.” - Will Smith

How I "Won" NaNoWriMo

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From The Yellow Sofa

By: Carl Nickles

NaNoWriMo officially ended on Nov. 30.  While I didn’t “win” by completing the 50,000 word count by the deadline, I won in other ways.  This may seem like a petition for a participation trophy, but I think the lessons I learned along the way were as important as the number of words written.  

Winning for me was writing more in the last 30 days than I have since since college.  It was doing something that until recently I thought was reserved for people with years of experience and training or for people who’s entire life had always been a continuous flood of words and ideas.  I  won because I created people, scenes and a world from practically nothing.  

 I won because I have accepted the hard truth that I am, and will always be a planner.  I don’t know how people write 50,000 words of a novel without a detailed outline (I’m jealous), but I apparently need to plan.  Planning has helped me firm up how I want my novel to begin, evolve and end.  

Most importantly, I won because I have written.  Maybe not 50,000 words (not even close), but more than I would have had I not entered the NaNoWriMo contest.  As I alluded to in a previous post about writing, you (I) have to write.  It’s the only way a novel will be completed.  It’s the only way to become a better writer.  I plan on entering next year and I hope I participate every year.  The goal will always be to get the word count to 50,000 but the truly important part will always be the journey of belief, creation, discipline and inspiration.   It’s the little things you learn along the way that matter most.  Those experiences are the “wins”.

I can’t thank everyone enough both inside and outside of the writing community as well as the other participants of NaNoWriMo for their support and encouragement.  If you participated in NaNoWriMo this year but didn’t make it to 50,000 words, do you still feel like you have won (I hope you do)?  Let me know in the comments.

Writing - Why Write?

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From The Yellow Sofa

By: Carl Nickles

Golf.  I’ve never played, but friends tell me that at times, there is an incredible amount of frustration compared to the small amount of joy/success in the game.  The same could be said for getting involved in a land war in Asia (thank you “The Princess Bride”), explaining Star Trek to non-science fiction fans and bathing cats.  Why do them at all?  Striving for a hole in one, debating TOS vs TNG or risking your life by placing a cat in water all sound exasperating.  The same could be said for writing.  So why write?

With writing, there is an entire theme park of frustration and challenges awaiting you.  Finding stories worth writing that are not only interesting to you but to your potential readers, rewriting, revising, editing, rejection letters, criticism (especially from non-writers) and the never-ending work of promoting your story.  Despite all of this, you power through for the hope of one day enjoying a little notoriety, a little money from sales or seeing your book in print.

You may never make a penny off of your writing, you may never be published, so why write?  In spite of all of the people that inhabit this planet, in spite of all of the stories they have told, they haven’t been told by you.  No one else sees the world you inhabit or create exactly like you do.  Telling your story, whether it’s a paragraph or a novel in your voice can be the hole in one , your success, your joy.  That little victory can be worth all of the frustration you endured to obtain it.  So write.


From The Yellow Sofa

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By Carl Nickles

NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month is a contest beginning November 1 where participants endeavor to write 50,000 words of their novel by November 30, 11:59pm.  On the official website, nanowrimo.org, you can find links to more information about the contest and track your progress as well as links to forums, pep talks, virtual write-ins, and information on meet-ups.  

To write 50,000 words in 30 days, you would have to write 1,667 words per day.  That seems daunting.  For a new writing like myself, that sounds terrifying.  So, I’ve decided to sign up.  Tracie will as well.  Tracie has already written 3 books and is working on a couple more.  I’m currently working on 2 - and by working I mean thinking about them a lot and writing blogs instead of actually writing books.  I only have a couple more days left of October to think about, outline and otherwise prepare (October is also known as Preptober) for NaNoWriMo so wish me luck!

Are you going to participate in NaNoWriMo?  Let us know in the comments.  Tracie and I will be providing updates in our stories on Instagram (@carl.nickles and @tracie.chavonnne)  Check it out.

Writing Crap

From The Yellow Sofa

By Carl Nickles

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I’ve been learning how to write for the past 4 years.  And I write crap (starting a sentence with “and” doesn’t help).  Like anything else, to become good at it, you must practice.  As you practice, you’ll make mistakes.  If you’re practicing piano, you’ll hit wrong notes.  If you’re writing, you’ll make errors and you’ll write crap!  I’m writing crap right now and I’ll continue to write crap as long as I continue to write. The crap I write a year from now will read better and take less time to edit, but it will still be crap.  

And thats ok.  

Improvement comes by trying and failing, trying and getting rejected and trying again.  You will eventually get more “right” than “wrong”.  Other people will still tell you that you write crap.  People who have written little more than their name since middle school  will tell you that you write crap.  Some other people will read your crap and tell you your crap is great, fantastic, inspiring and life-changing.  

That’s kinda cool.  

 Keep practicing, keep writing.  Let me know in the comments how your writing is going by clicking on the title of this post.  Also, check out our collection of books written by Tracie Chavonne.