Advice to New Writers – Stop Singing in the Basement! by Tabitha Lord – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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Advice to New Writers – Stop Singing in the Basement!

My husband is full of great one-liners. When I finished the draft of my first manuscript, and whipped it into the best shape I could without outside help, he said, “Honey, it’s time to stop singing in the basement and get booed on stage.” He’s also a musician, so his comment had a ring of authenticity in addition to the sarcasm.

I’d just finished an intense round of edits – not a kill the adverbs and spell-check kind of edit, but a cut out 10,000 words of text and re-work entire scenes kind of edit. It was exhausting and necessary. It took a few months and a lot of metaphorical kicking and screaming. But I had a better manuscript, one that was not finished yet, but one which I could stand behind as “good” work.

And then it was time to let people see it – people beyond my dad and best friend. People who would give me honest feedback. Truly, I probably hovered over the send button for an hour.

I knew not everyone would like it. For one thing, it’s science fiction. My mom doesn’t even like science fiction. She got halfway through and said, “I think it’s good, but I got confused by all those different planets.” I started a glossary for her hoping that would help. But seriously, I knew it wouldn’t be to everyone’s taste. And still…

Any artist in any field understands that to share our work is to be vulnerable. We’ve risked opening our hearts to strangers – with words, in images, with a paintbrush, on a stage. We’ve put something of our private self out into the world. Even my story, full of spaceships and evil villains, has some of the real “me” in it. People who know me well will recognize those pieces.

A friend recently asked if I am more or less critical of other writing now that I write. And honestly, I’m both. Because I continue to work diligently to improve my own skills, I’m acutely aware when someone else’s are lacking. And I don’t like every book I read. BUT, I have a tremendous amount of respect for the energy and effort it took to write that book, and the spirit it took to put it out there. So when someone asks me for a critique, I always say that part first.

The writing community is extremely supportive of one another. I think it’s because we’re all in a similar space. We’re all vulnerable. We’ve all felt the sting of rejection or of a careless, biting comment. Our moms might not even like our work. So why do it?

Because we love it. Because it is uniquely human to create art. Because it is immensely satisfying to touch another person’s soul with something we’ve made. And because the world needs its painters, storytellers, sculptors, photographers, musicians, dancers, and actors. We need them not just to entertain us, but because the mere fact that they exist at all says something powerful about being human.

I don’t write my books so only I will read them. I write to share. I write so that someone, somewhere will curl up under a blanket for a few hours and lose themselves in a good story. I write because I love to.

I’m willing to risk feeling vulnerable to do something I love. It’s uncomfortable, but I know most of my personal growth has taken place when I’ve been uncomfortable. Discomfort makes me stretch. So, I stopped singing in my basement and got on the stage. See you there?

Caeli Crys isn’t living—she’s surviving. On the run after the genocide of her empathic people, she witnesses a spaceship crash near her hidden camp. When she feels the injured pilot suffering from miles away, she can’t help but risk discovery to save his life.

Commander Derek Markham awakens stranded on an uncharted planet. His co-pilot is dead, his ship is in ruins, and he’s only alive because a beautiful young woman is healing him with her mind.

As Derek recovers, Caeli shares the horror of her past and her fear for the future. When Derek’s command ship, Horizon, sends rescue, Derek convinces Caeli to leave with him. But his world is as treacherous as hers—full of spies, interplanetary terrorist plots, and political intrigue. Soon the Horizon team is racing to defend an outlying planet from a deadly enemy, and Caeli’s unique skills may just give them the edge they need to save it.

Enjoy an excerpt:

She felt them before she heard them. The sudden wave of panic gripped Caeli so fiercely that she fell to her knees. Sweat beaded on her forehead and her body shook with another person’s cold fear. We’re losing altitude. I can’t keep her nose up. Time is running out. A voice echoed in her head, frantic. The words were strange and foreign, but she felt their intent.

A ship pierced the white clouds overhead. Frozen in place, Caeli tracked it streaking across the sky, her consciousness now fully merged with one of the desperate occupants onboard. Her breath came in short, gasping bursts. Seconds later a shattering pain exploded through her body and she screamed. The ground shook violently beneath her, and then nothing.

About the Author:

Tabitha currently lives in Rhode Island, a few towns away from where she grew up. She is married, has four great kids, a spoiled Ragdoll cat, and lovable black lab. The house is noisy and the dinner table full! She holds a degree in Classics from College of the Holy Cross and taught Latin for years at a small, independent Waldorf school. She also worked in the admissions office there before turning her attention to full-time writing.

You can visit her blog at where she posts author interviews, hosts guest bloggers, and discusses some favorite topics including parenting and her writing journey. Horizon is her first novel.

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  1. Thank you for hosting

  2. Thank you for hosting me today!

  3. Becky Richardson says:

    Sounds like a great read.

  4. kim hansen says:

    enjoyed the post.

  5. Rita Wray says:

    Great post, thank you.

  6. Glad to hear! Hope you’ll check out the book:)

  7. Nice post, will check back again!

  8. What do you like to read in your free time?

    • Oh my gosh! I read so much! Because I also write for a review/interview site –, I have the pleasure of reading many ARCs and new fiction. I got to read the Two Family House last month just before it released and I was blown away. I also belong to 2 book clubs. This month we are reading Etta and Otto and Russell and James, and A Dog’s Purpose. I love genre fiction too, so I’m just finishing Jonathan Kellerman’s newest book as well.

  9. Thank you for posting! This look great!

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