Wednesday, 8 May 2013

The Artist Unleashed: PLAY TO YOUR STRENGTHS, by Hart Johnson aka: Alyse Carlson (INDIE LIFE segment below)

First, huge thanks and smooches to Jessica for hosting me!

If I've called to mind for you a killer broom ride to steal a dragon egg then we share at least a reference point, but Mad-Eye Moody wasn't so far wrong, not where this writing business is concerned. Unfortunately, knowing that doesn't make it any easier, does it? Like Harry, we still have to ponder what the heck we are good at and figure out how on EARTH that applies to the situation at hand. 

Bear with me a moment, or better yet BARE with me... I'm rather famous for preferring nakedness after all, and as long as we're grasping at strengths, no point leaving out even those that might seem silly at first glance...

Rarely serious...
What AM I good at?

Well... I can wriggle my nose (or wiggle, if you're in the US)--up and down like a bunny.

In fact I have a full repertoire of silly faces. Any of you who cares to buy me a number of drinks in a dimly lit bar can see them if you'd like, but I can assure you I was once called a cartoon. They really ARE silly faces.

I can write a limerick... wait, not tell... better to SHOW you that:

A limerick's a mighty fine skill 
Overlooked in the arts, if you will 
Need a wee bit of rhyming 
and a little more timing 
And a couple of glasses of swill


Okay, so anybody can write a limerick, but I've devoted a bit of time to it *shifty*

Sadly, silly faces and limericks aren't really key qualities to the publishing industry though, so I had to just give those skills amiss and ask what OTHER skills I had...

So what AM I good at that's USEFUL?

  • I have a couple psych degrees, so characterization comes pretty naturally. 
  • I seem to have a knack for a bendy plot—this can be bad, too—or rather, it pigeonholes me for genre—it creates a definite challenge for Young Adult stuff, but it fits mystery very well. 
  • I'm definitely persistent (I think any of us who write books regularly are—we have to be). 
  • But really the strength that defines me—the one that is less common, is humor. I'm sort of a nut. 

I've struggled with that last. I envision myself a dark, sexy, mysterious sort, but the fact of the matter is the guy was right... I'm more of a cartoon. And finding a genre that is BOTH bendy, mysterious and silly was NOT something I ever thought I'd do... But as it turns out, Cozy Mystery found ME.

Dead people. Solving the mystery... but lots of laughs mixed in there, most often through the personalities of a couple key characters.

And you know what? When you find the genre that suits your strengths, it really feels like playing to write... At least until the reviews start rolling...

Begonia Bribe Roanoke, Virginia, is home to some of the country’s most exquisite gardens, and it’s Camellia Harris’s job to promote them. But when a pint-sized beauty contest comes to town, someone decides to deliver a final judgment …

A beauty pageant for little girls—the Little Miss Begonia Pageant—has decided to hold their event in a Roanoke park. Camellia is called in to help deal with the botanical details, the cute contestants, and their catty mothers. She soon realizes that the drama onstage is nothing compared to the judges row. There’s jealousy, betrayal, and a love triangle involving local newsman—and known lothario—Telly Stevens. And a mysterious saboteur is trying to stop the pageant from happening at all.

But the drama turns deadly when Stevens is found dead, poisoned by some sort of plant. With a full flowerbed of potential suspects, Cam needs to dig through the evidence to uproot a killer with a deadly green thumb.

Hart (aka, Alyse Carlson) writes books from her bathtub and can be found at Confessions of a Watery Tart, on Facebook (author page, profile), Twitter, or Goodreads.

IndieLife7-1INDIE LIFE

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You can read more about the book, and all authors involved, in my dedicated post about it last week.

If you could Tweet about the sign-up form it would be great!

You can just copy/paste this:
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  1. A local newsman called Telly Stevens!! Only the fabulously NAKED Tart can come up with such a fab character!!!

    And I'm so glad the one and only Hart has found her calling with her cosy mysteries!! Brilliant! Take care

  2. *giggles* This is where I confess my wonky subconscious did that with my naming. Totally unintentional, but yes... absolutely giggle-worthy.

  3. Love Hart! She's hilarious. It sure does take a lot of persistence, this writing thing.

  4. You are a nut, Hart! Now if you can work in nakedness, you'll be set.

  5. Definitely a bit of a nut, but i also see bit of the dark, mysterious Hart, too, so don't give up on it!

  6. Play to your strengths, but that doesn't mean you don't have hidden reservoirs of deep mysteriosness! Congrats on the book!!

  7. One of the things I'm looking forward to in Begonia Bribe is that wicked sense of humor. Congrats again!

  8. I like writing about creeps and villains with humor.

    Hugs and chocolate,

  9. Very fun post! And I disagree about limericks -- 'tis a fine skill for a wee author. My books often contain spells, so I've discovered a use for your skill. :)

  10. Loved the lymrick. I can't write them - poetry of ANY type escapes me. I'm still looking for my perfect genre to write in. You gots lots a skills Hart :) A great sense of humor is very worthy.



“I'm using my art to comment on what I see. You don't have to agree with it.” ~John Mellencamp

“Allowing an unimportant mistake to pass without comment is a wonderful social grace” ~Judith S. Marin

“I don't ever try to make a serious social comment.” ~Paul McCartney

“I'd make a comment at a meeting and nobody would even acknowledge me. Then some man would say the same thing and they'd all nod.” ~Charlotte Bunch

“Probably what my comment meant was that I don't care about the circumstances if I can tell the truth.” ~Sally Kirkland

“We're not going to pay attention to the silliness and the petty comments. And quite frankly, women have joined me in this effort, and so it's not about appearances. It's about effectiveness.” ~Katherine Harris