Why Maps and Meditations?

Both travel and meditation play a role in my fantasy books- but more importantly, they’ve played a big role in my life and who I am as a person. Here’s what I mean…

Travel

Mark Twain wrote: “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views (...) cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”

To me, that’s what travel is really about. Of course, I enjoy seeing new places, too- but it’s the exposure to new perspectives and ways of life that is most important.

Meditation

As much as I love travel… I believe looking inward is more valuable than looking outward. 

I like to focus on the “why” and the end goals of meditation… which includes all things self-improvement, life balance, and connection to something greater than ourselves.
 


The Writer's Life

How authors get paid

How authors get paid
Oct 27, 2019 by Tamara Spell
Recently, there's been a lot of buzz around the story of the author who blew a $350,000 advance and ended up broke. Here are some important takeaways from that story, and some basic book money facts for novelists and anyone curious about how authors get paid.

Meet Little Girl: The wild child

Meet Little Girl: The wild child
Oct 18, 2019 by Tamara Spell
You've met the other four cats. Now, meet Little Girl, the aloof and unpredictable feline who inspired the character of Pixie the Wondercat.

You live or die by your first 16 lines

You live or die by your first 16 lines
Oct 13, 2019 by Tamara Spell
Is this really a matter of life or death? In a way, yes, at least for your novel—because the first page of your book can determine whether it "lives or dies" in terms of publication and sales. As an author, here's why you'll want to make sure your first 16 lines are up to snuff, and what to include on that oh-so-important first page...

Two Twitter opportunities for writers

Two Twitter opportunities for writers
Sep 27, 2019 by Tamara Spell
Writers: did you know you can learn what agents are looking for -- and even pitch your book! -- directly on Twitter? There are official days and rules for this. But wow, it makes me wish I had started using Twitter years ago! Here are two recurring opportunities I just discovered...

Why use a pen name?

Why use a pen name?
Sep 22, 2019 by Tamara Spell
Why do authors use pen names? Here are some of the reasons why... and, how I chose one for myself.

Meet June: The friendly guy who never learned to “speak cat”

Meet June: The friendly guy who never learned to “speak cat”
Sep 03, 2019 by Tamara Spell
June is large and in-charge. He's super friendly, and tries his best to make friends with his fellow felines, even though he doesn't always seem to understand their cat signals. And, he's the inspiration for Gus, the Wondercat who loves mythology and sunshine spots — and of course, breakfast!

Why join a critique group?

Why join a critique group?
Aug 30, 2019 by Tamara Spell
As a writer, how valuable is a critique group? And, what sort of feedback do you get? Here's my recent experience with a group near my new home...

The answer to my tension question

The answer to my tension question
Aug 23, 2019 by Tamara Spell
Being a writer often means solving one problem after the other, and not getting discouraged along the way. A few weeks ago, I ran into a plot problem, and I needed to add more tension to my story. Here's how I'm doing that!

FREE Chapter Preview! The Cat Council

FREE Chapter Preview! The Cat Council
Aug 17, 2019 by Tamara Spell
Here's a preview into the world of the Wondercats! In Chapter 3, right before the cats receive their superpowers, they hold an emergency meeting of The Cat Council, to discuss a danger that's looming on the horizon.

Meet Cowboy: Little cat, big attitude… and the best friend a person could ask for

Meet Cowboy: Little cat, big attitude… and the best friend a person could ask for
Aug 07, 2019 by Tamara Spell
Cowboy is, in fact, a female. As the only senior cat in the group, she's grumpy and doesn't like to share her space. But she's got a heart of gold and is totally loyal to her person.

What's your story type and why does it matter?

What's your story type and why does it matter?
Aug 03, 2019 by Tamara Spell
What is a story type? And how is it different from genre, plot, or theme? Here's what I learned today, and how it affects my pitch to agents and editors.

How I repeatedly fail at being J.K. Rowling

How I repeatedly fail at being J.K. Rowling
Jul 26, 2019 by Tamara Spell
When I write my books, I repeatedly try to be like one of my favorite authors J.K. Rowling - but I usually fail. And, this has nothing to with selling millions of books, or earning millions of dollars... and much more to do with surrendering, and planning ahead.

Meet Luna: Unconditional love wrapped up in a bundle of fluff

Meet Luna: Unconditional love wrapped up in a bundle of fluff
Jul 09, 2019 by Tamara Spell
Next in the Wondercats bunch is Luna, the inspiration for the character Snowball. Luna's superpower is unconditional love, which disarms even the toughest of opponents, and can warm your heart on even the most difficult of days.

How I'm adding more tension to my book

How I'm adding more tension to my book
Jul 06, 2019 by Tamara Spell
Tension is a crucial part of any story - it's the magic ingredient that makes a book hard to put down. But, have I created enough tension in the plot of my book? Have I made the stakes high enough? Here's a recent dilemma I've run into... and an inside look into my brainstorming process.

Meet Holly: The real-life hero cat that inspired Hazel

Meet Holly: The real-life hero cat that inspired Hazel
Jul 01, 2019 by Tamara Spell
Holly was a hero even without superpowers. Here's the story of how we found each other overseas... and how she saved the life of a young kitten.

Follow along: My book writing challenge

Follow along: My book writing challenge
Jun 28, 2019 by Tamara Spell
What's it really like writing a book? Follow along here to get an honest, behind-the-scenes look into the whole process.

Simplicity Challenge #5: Letting Go for the New Year

Simplicity Challenge #5: Letting Go for the New Year
Jan 24, 2019 by Tamara Spell
After years of struggling with time management, I'm starting to realize that my problems don't always stem from a lack of time, but rather from a lack of energy from trying to do too much. After accepting this, my schedule is becoming simpler and more manageable. Here's how I'm handling big changes this year...

Simplicity Challenge #4: Food delivery services

Simplicity Challenge #4: Food delivery services
Nov 01, 2018 by Tamara Spell
I've jumped on the band wagon for food delivery services - both for groceries, and for packaged recipes/meals. What do you think? Is this a fad, or something that will give us back some precious time during this modern, busier-than-ever day and age? Here's my take...

This has been harder than I thought

This has been harder than I thought
Aug 01, 2018 by Tamara Spell
This isn't my first time to India, but it has been different than my previous visits in a few ways. Everything from people staring, to "creepy crawlies," to squeaky toy horns on the rickshaws present unique challenges every day- with a mix of fun surprises, too. It's all part of traveling deeper, and keeping an open mind.

My Favorite Books from 2015

My Favorite Books from 2015
May 05, 2016 by Tamara Spell
I discovered some great books and authors in 2015. It's fair to say that they all changed my life in some way, whether big or small- and that goes for the fiction as well as the non-fiction. But that's the power of books and good writing. Have you read these? And what do you think I should read next?