Tag Archives: 20-Something

Being an Adult SUCKS!

I didn’t sign up for this. Where can I get a return on my adult card?

My Nonna Shouldn’t Be Driving

Just in case my Nonna ever wanted to borrow your car in exchange for homemade lasagna and Mozzarella cheese.

Secret Project… SHHH!

Hey everyone,

It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Summer has happened, and life has happened, and everything is all up in the air in regards to my life and what’s next from me in terms of a second novel, but in the midst of it all, I decided to try something new.

The publisher for “The Black Oracle” has long recommended that authors create a YouTube channel to promote their work, and though I was originally opposed to the idea, I decided to give it a try. So, I started working on a secret project: a YouTube channel that I launched on Wednesday! Watch the video below to hear me read excerpts from my novel “The Black Oracle”.

Just Kidding

JUST KIDDING!

That would be boring as hell, wouldn’t it? I know it would, I rolled my eyes myself (no one wants me to babble on and on about a book I wrote). Instead, I decided you can hear me babble on and on about something else — something a little lighter than my writing, a little more rant-ier, and a little more fun. So, without further ado, check out one of my first videos about Sarah Palin and speaking American.

And as they say on YouTube: like, comment, and subscribe.

Why Write?

So, I read an interesting blog post yesterday by the fantastic Kristen Lamb (follow her. NOW!), and she addressed the idea that only 5% of prospective writers *actually* become successful authors. In her post, she argued that although this is a depressing statistic for those of us who aspire to be that elusive successful writer, 5% isn’t that bad. Check out her reasoning:

When I gave the 5% statistic earlier, many of you were probably discouraged. But let’s take a closer look at that number.

It’s been said that as much as 75% of the literate population would love to one day write a book. Out of hundreds of millions of possible authors, how many do you think actually take the idea seriously?

5%

And of the tens of millions left over, how many sit down and write and finish a first draft?

5%

Of the millions remaining, how many actually read craft books, get critique and keep revising that first draft until they have a polished draft?

5%

Of those who finish that first novel then realize they have a train wreck and not a novel, how many suck it up and start over to write a better book that’s more likely to engage with readers?

5%

Of those who finally write a decent book, how many take time to also build a brand and platform? How many learn to blog effectively in ways that reach and cultivate readers?

5%

How many get in the regular habit of writing, researching and revising? They don’t just stop with the one book and keep on writing more books?

5%

Of those who publish the first book and don’t instantly become zillionaires, how many keep writing and improving?

5%

This profession is really hard. Toss a few hundred million people with a dream into one large funnel and most will not shake out at the end. Yet, if we look at the individual pieces of becoming “successful” it is astonishing how much we control.

Others whine, we work.

At this point of my life, I found this to be pretty inspiring. I recently left my 9-to-5 (read: my contract didn’t get extended), and though I wasn’t completely against going out and finding another one, I’m *kinda* inspired to give this full-time writer thing a try. So, that’s what I’ve pledged to do. I have my novel coming out next month, and I’m working to secure some freelance work. Is this plan risky? Of course. Am I worried? Not really.

In light of these things, Kristen Lamb’s reasoning got me thinking. Yes, 5% may not be so bad when you consider that a lot of unsuccessful writers  are unsuccessful because they don’t put in the time, but the amount of commitment expected of a writer is nothing to laugh at. In fact, becoming a writer is often fruitless labor for the first while (10 years in my case), so with that seemingly unattainable dedication, why write at all?

I think the answer to that question is fairly simple. Anybody who is serious about writing already knows that answer, and I think it is those people who end up persevering and becoming the perceived unattainable successful writer. The fact is that writers write because they have to. They write because there isn’t anything else they’d rather be doing. They were “born this way”, so to speak (Thanks GaGa). And at the end of the day, a writer becomes one of the “lucky” 5% not because of luck at all but because they wanted to, and they worked their butt off to get there. I’ve always said that becoming a writer is like running a marathon: you don’t just wake up one day, show up at the starting line, and come in first place. There’s training. There’s failure. There are nasty blisters and early mornings and vomiting from overexertion (beautiful visual, Michael).

But writers like it this way. If becoming a successful writer were easy, it wouldn’t be worth it. How fulfilling would it be if you could just laser beam 80,000 words onto a computer screen and then sell it to the first publisher you pitched it to? Not very.

So, take comfort in the fact that determination does great things. Work your butt off, but enjoy the process. It’s not until years later that you appreciate all the time it took you to grow. Trust me, reading old material has become a nice pastime for me. It’s kind of inspiring.

Why do you write? Do you worry about becoming a successful writer?

Cover Reveal for The Black Oracle!

I’m happy to announce that today is the cover reveal for my novel The Black Oracle!

So, without further ado, check it out!

The_Black_Oracle_Cover

Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Release Date: May 25, 2015
Cover Art: Alexandria N. Thompson

On a post-apocalyptic Earth, humans are not alone.

Joachim is a hunter. Though generations have passed since the Great Death, something has evolved in the trees beyond the giant glowing mushrooms, mutants that want to see human entrails spread along the jungle floor.

And now they’ve taken Joachim’s wife.

To get her back, Joachim will have to give the leader of these demons something in return: immortality. A creature knows when he is going to die, after all. Plunged into a world of magic and darkness, Joachim must find the only woman who knows where the ingredients are. She is a prophetess known as the Black Oracle living in the realm of Zalm, but she’s a little preoccupied at the moment. She leads a rebellion against the ruthless High Council, and when Joachim seeks her out, he too finds himself consumed by her struggle.

In a story of betrayal, prophecy, and bloodshed, Joachim has ten days to retrieve the ingredients and return to Earth all while evading the High Council’s army, one that wants the Black Oracle and her associates killed — Joachim included.

Add it to your to-read list on Goodreads!

——-

Bio_PictureMichael Cristiano is a Canadian writer. His relentless obsession with fiction began long before he could even spell the words ‘relentless obsession’. Growing up in endless suburban sprawl, he spent most of his childhood getting lost in fantastical masterpieces and attempting to be published by the age of thirteen.

When he isn’t writing or reading, he can be found planning his next backpacking trip around the world. He is a recent graduate from the University of Toronto with studies in Foreign Language and Linguistics. Previously, he attended a Regional Arts high school where he majored in drama. He is fond of all things dramatic.

Michael currently resides in the Greater Toronto Area and he is using his years as a twenty-something to establish what he hopes will be a long career in writing. The Black Oracle, his debut novel, is due for publication on May 25, 2015.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

The Black Oracle is Now on Goodreads

Hey everyone!

Just a quick post before I give my review of Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five within the next few days. I am happy to announce that my debut novel, The Black Oracle, is now up on Goodreads. Further, I am ecstatic to finally say that it will be released on May 11, 2015!

Stay tuned for my cover reveal later this month and for ordering details, but for now, check it out and add it to your to-read list on Goodreads! I’ve attached a description of the novel below.

THE BLACK ORACLE

On a post-apocalyptic Earth, humans are not alone.

Joachim is a hunter. Though generations have passed since the Great Death, something has evolved in the trees beyond the giant glowing mushrooms, mutants that want to see human entrails spread along the jungle floor.

And now they’ve taken Joachim’s wife.

To get her back, Joachim will have to give the leader of these demons something in return: immortality. A creature knows when he is going to die, after all. Plunged into a world of magic and darkness, Joachim must find the only woman in who knows where the ingredients are. She is a prophetess known as the Black Oracle living in the realm of Zalm, but she’s a little preoccupied at the moment. She leads a rebellion against the ruthless High Council, and when Joachim seeks her out, he too finds himself consumed by her struggle.

In a story of betrayal, prophecy, and bloodshed, Joachim has ten days to retrieve the ingredients and return to Earth all while evading the High Council’s army, one that wants the Black Oracle and her associates killed — Joachim included.

Liebster Award Nomination

LiebsterAward1

Well, well, well, it seems I’ve been nominated for the Liebster Award! I began this blog back in July of last year, and though it began as an extension of my writing career, it really has taken on a life of its own. I enjoy expressing myself without the structure of fiction, and I enjoy the informal feel (read: ranting).

In any case, it’s fantastic to be recognized for something that I enjoy, so a big THANK YOU to Melis for nominating me for the Liebster Award (whose blog, by the way, is called Infinite Daydreamer, and you should definitely check out here). The award goes to bloggers who have less than 200 followers, and those who are nominated must answer 11 questions as well as nominate 11 other blogs. I’ve nominated some blogs at the end, so if you’re a blogger who’s received a ping back, that’s why :p

So, here we go!

How did you decide on the title of your blog?

The title of my blog was quite simple, really — it’s my name! I thought about using a different title, but none of the ones I thought up would really be applicable to all the projects I have in mind throughout my prospective writing career. So, my name was the simplest, and for me, the easiest to pick because I could then have seamless cohesion between my blog, my published work, and my other social media endeavors.

What is one word that sums up the heart of you blog and why?

Writing! That’s a pretty easy one. Yeah, I realize that I stray off of that topic from time to time as topics such as travel, life, and the struggles of a millennial are spoken about also, but at the end of the day, this blog focuses around writing as a whole, my thoughts on it, and as a central hub for my writing career.

What are your favourite pastimes besides blogging?

Writing fiction. Lol, I see a trend… But wait! I like reading too. I also have a considerable amount of wanderlust, so I love travelling and/or planning my next trip. I’m not really into television or movies, so my pop culture knowledge is embarrassingly low, but I love to learn and debate and meet people, though I can sometimes be a little shy and introverted at first.

What is your favourite aspect of blogging?

My favourite aspect of blogging is the informal feel. When I write fiction, I generally spend a lot of time toiling over the tone and the voice and how something is coming across to the reader. I like that blogging is a little bit more raw. I like that I can say what I want and that a quick copy edit is generally all the editing I have to do. I also like that blogging is more interactive. I get to meet people here who have similar goals and aspirations. Not to mention the other blogs. I love reading what other people have to say.

Which project, recipe, or idea on my blog would you most like to try yourself?

I think this question refers to Melis’ blog, if I’m not mistaken. I like the monthly favourites feature that Melis has on her blog. I think it’s a great way not only to let others know what you’ve been into that month, but I think it acts as a nice retrospective for the blogger. I know for me that specific pieces of music or different books influence my mood and my writing, and those things change often. I think the monthly favourites feature allows for both readers and bloggers to look back and see what they were into last month or even last year.

Where does your blog inspiration come from?

I think a lot of my blog inspiration comes from what I’m doing at any particular time. The blog posts where I talk about writing normally correspond to a particular aspect of the writing process that I’m experiencing at the time — I wrote one about editing when I was editing, I wrote about troubles finding inspiration when I was having trouble finding inspiration.

What is one country you would like to visit and why?

I would love to visit Iceland. I think that I’m pretty well traveled in general, but one place I’m dying to visit is Iceland. I love the Nordic feel, the melancholic nature of winter, the contrast of beauty and somehow, desolation. Also, some of my favourite musicians come from Iceland (Bjork, Olafur Arnalds) and the Nordic countries on the whole. AND if that wasn’t enough, Iceland means sulfur springs and glacier climbing and geysers and the northern lights. Have I convinced you yet?

If you have children, what are their names? If not, what are your favourite boy and girl names?

Hmmm… Odd question. I think it would be hard to name my children because names that come into my head normally already have a personality or a back story attached to them (#writerproblems). However, I like the name Leonardo (Leo for short), and I’ve saved that name for my child in the future. That means no story shall be written about a Leo or will feature a Leo until that child is born. Then, when I get a feel for him, maybe he’ll end up somewhere.

A long-lost relative leaves you a large sum of money. What do you do with it?

First, I give some to friends and family who I know could use it. I would probably invest the rest of it, and if it’s enough to support me, I’d probably stop working a 9-to-5 for a while and travel. The purpose of all of that, of course, would be to write, so honestly, I’d take the money and figure out how much more time it would afford me for writing. I’d focus on my writing career and use the time I spend working a 9-to-5 to develop it.

In your opinion what’s the best blog post you’ve written so far and why?

The best blog post I’ve written so far would have to be How I Stopped Caring and I’m Better Off Not only was it well-received by readers, but it was one of the most genuine blog posts I’ve ever written, and I think that’s what led to its success. I think the post showcases me most transparently, and I think it is the “realest” blog post I’ve done so far. I should do more like that in the future.

Where do you see yourself in five years time?

Hmm.. a tough one. I don’t know if the answer is a where or more of a what. I’ll be wherever feels right, whether it’s still here in the Greater Toronto Area or abroad. I will definitely have a more developed writing career. The Black Oracle will be released by then and hopefully the other three manuscripts I have written and/or drafted will be published too. I hope to have an agent and be able to support myself off of my writing. But besides all of those writerly goals, I see myself being happy. I mean, I am very happy now,  but I see myself continuing to be that way, if not even more happy.

Nominations

I don’t have 11 who have less than 200 followers :/ Lol, fail. BUT I do a few and I’ve nominated them below.

Trekking and Travels

The Wandering Neanderthal

Words Ate My Life

I’ve enjoyed these blogs and you should definitely check them out!

5 Reasons Why You Aren’t Accomplishing Your Goals

For me, 2014 was my go with the flow year. I graduated university and used up all the money I saved to go travelling. I ended up landing a job back home before I even finished backpacking. Since then, I’ve been working a 9-to-5 on a contract that keeps extending and extending, and to top it all off, I got a publishing contract for The Black Oracle which will see publication this spring. In fact, 2014 was a pretty good year!

But for 2015, I’m looking to change things up. Going with the flow had gotten me a lot of opportunities last year, but now I want to take charge. I have quite a few goals and for once, a five-year plan (it’s kinda scary, but I’m excited!) But through this process, I’ve had to do some soul-searching and some analysis of my goals. What’s possible? What are my limits? Most importantly: What would stop me from accomplishing my goals?

I’ve listed the top 5 reasons I postulated below.

cry

Sad goal-setter is sad.

You Have No Goals

This seems obvious, yet this is a common pitfall: it’s hard to accomplish a goal when you don’t have any. Further, it’s even harder to accomplish goals that aren’t well-defined. For me, this *normally* equates to goals regarding my health. I’m good at accomplishing word count goals and marketing goals, but when it comes to going to the gym or eating better, I fall flat. Why? Because I don’t create concrete goals in those areas. For example, I’ll say “I’m going to write 6,500 words a week” for a writing goal, but for physical fitness, I’ll say “Yeah, I should head to the gym more”. Do you see the difference?

Hint: The second isn’t a real goal. It’s just a nice idea.

My goal: eat all the food.

My goal: eat all the food.

Your Goals Aren’t Attainable

Never say never, right? But also, don’t bite off more than you can chew. I experience this pitfall sometimes, even with goals that I have quantified and made into something tangible. For example, I wanted to complete a refresher course in German and a beginner course in Icelandic in the second half of 2014. Why didn’t I do those things? I made those goals unattainable. After working a 9-to-5, prepping a novel for publication, creating and executing a marketing plan, sleeping, eating, and commuting, I had very little time to learn two languages.

Thus, they were unattainable. I shot waaayyy too high and I missed my goal, and not just by a little bit.

You Have No Action Plan

Having well-defined and attainable goals are all good and fine, but they mean nothing if you have no plan. This was, in part, the reason why I failed at the German and Icelandic goals I mentioned above. Not only did I not have time to learn those two languages, but I had no plan of how to go about doing it. I should have set aside two hours a week for each language and then slowly but surely worked toward completing the courses. Instead, my work was rather infrequent: I started off strong, say 8 hours a week between the two courses, but after a couple weeks, I had stopped working at them completely.

However, I’ve had an experience with writing lately that has proven to me the effectiveness of an action plan. One of my current goals is to finish the first draft of a Paranormal Young Adult novel (55,000 words) by the time I leave for vacation to the Dominican Republic on February 7th. I’ve determined that if I write 6,500 words per week between now and then, I can reach my goal. And I’m happy to say that my action plan is working: I’m on track to a completed first draft.

You’re a Dreamer, not so much a Doer

I was more of a dreamer when I was younger, even though I’d say I am still a dreamer now. The difference is now that I’m a dreamer and a doer. I dream up the things I’d like to do, and then I do them. You see, that’s the crucial part. Saying that one day, you’d like to write a novel is not going to get you a first draft. Saying you’d like to travel the world one day isn’t going to buy you a plane ticket. You have to do something. But lucky for you (and me), the first steps are often the hardest, and after a while, things start falling into place.

Hey, look! I did it! That's a real giraffe in South Africa!

Hey, look! I did it! That’s a real giraffe in South Africa!

You’re too Insecure

This pitfall is perhaps the most debilitating for goal-setters, and unfortunately, it is something I can’t quite tell you how to fix. Insecurity keeps you from what you want. Fear keeps you from doing the things you want to do. And society doesn’t help: we in the West have set up a system where originality and breaking the norm is frowned upon, and I’m sad to say that that’s spreading around the world.

But only you can stop being insecure. Only you can seize the opportunity life has afforded you. Only you can stand up to nay-sayers and pursue your dreams. Besides, is failure really that bad? If you never fail, how can you bask in the glory of success? Furthermore, you’re guaranteed to fail at something that you never even try.

This blog post is just a walking cliche today, isn’t it…?

But legit, stop being afraid.

Featured Interview on Katie Hamstead’s Stories

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Check out an interview I did for Katie Hamstead’s Stories where I talk about writing, my first novel, travel, and more! Katie was actually my Acquisitions Editor for Curiosity Quills Press who picked up The Black Oracle when it was still being passed around for potential publication. Speaking of which, The Black Oracle now has a release date! Stay tuned for those details and *perhaps* a cover reveal in the not-so-distant future.

You can read the interview here. While you’re at it, stay tuned for the month of January where Katie will be interviewing other authors and editors from Curiosity Quills Press.

Three Writerly Goals for 2015

Well, hello there. How you doing? It’s been a long time… In fact, it’s been almost two and a half weeks since I posted any content. I know most bloggers will take a break over the holidays, but my break was rather unintentional. Besides all the craziness of Christmas celebrations, I got the flu… Oh, it was oodles of fun, let me tell you, bed-ridden for two full days and then too lethargic and fatigued to do ANYTHING. Needless to say, my goal of writing 20,000 words over my 16 day break from work isn’t going to happen. So, I’ve settled on 10,000 words instead and I’m a little more than halfway there. Now just to remain healthy…

Anyway, enough about me… Let’s talk about me! I’m normally a person who is very goal oriented so the new year is always awesome because I get to quantify my goals and track my progress. This year I’ve settled on three resolutions and *surprise, surprise*, they’re related to writing.

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Publish The Black Oracle

Well, I guess I’m kind of cheating… The Black Oracle was picked up by Curiosity Quills Press in June of last year, but I can finally say that we are on the final stretch of seeing it in print! We’re currently finalizing the cover and we just set a release date (but, shhhh, I can’t say when just yet!)

The goal then is a successful release. I’ve been working on a marketing plan and I’m excited to begin. In fact, I think some things *may* be beginning within a month or so. So, stay tuned! And if anyone has any work coming out this year, whether traditionally published or otherwise, get at me. Let’s link up and have successful releases together!

Edit Next Published Novel and Finish Two Work-In-Progresses

Yes, I know… The Black Oracle ain’t even published yet and I have a second novel lined up and (almost) ready to be published. I spent the first six months of 2014 editing it and my goal for this year is to take another look at it, pump another 10,000 words into it and then get it ready to take on the world. It’s a new adult speculative fiction novel (think soft science fiction) and I am extremely excited to get the publishing process started.

Also, in my final post of 2013, I talked about how I was cheating on my first work-in-progress, an LGBTQ+ YA novel, with a second one that would end up being a YA horror/paranormal. Now I’ve got both manuscripts hovering around 15,000 words but I’ve decided I want to complete the first draft of the YA horror/paranormal first, hoping to have it finished around mid-February when I got to the Dominican Republic (wooo! Travel and sun!) As for the LGBTQ+ YA novel, I want to finish it over the summer. I started it last summer, it takes place in the summer, so maybe my lack of inspiration comes from the winter.

Blog More and Read More

I have been slacking so hard in these areas the past little while. Okay, maybe not as bad as my slacking in going to the gym… In any case, I want to blog more. Instead of only blogging four or five times a month, I want to try and blog twice a week. At first that’s daunting, but with an impending book release, that shouldn’t be hard. You like being spammed, right?

…I’m kidding. I won’t spam you.

And then there’s reading. I did so well in 2013. I FINALLY finished all the books on my bookshelf, a backlog of almost 40 titles, and only bought 2-3 new books at a time. And then in 2014, I relapsed and bought way too many books. My birthday and Christmas came and now I have a backlog again. What with being busy and sick I’ve managed to read 50 pages of A Clash of Kings since Christmas so I’ve read about 200 pages since the beginning of December (…yay.) So, catch up, Michael! Read all the books!

Got any resolutions, writing or otherwise?