I fancy myself a writer.

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Planning the final book in a series

A friend of mine is sketching out some ideas for the cover of With Envy Stung: Valley of the Bees #1. What do you think?

A friend of mine is sketching out some ideas for the cover of With Envy Stung: Valley of the Bees #1. What do you think?

I don’t remember having this much trouble writing the outlines for books one and two. I’ve made a list of all of the loose ends that need tied up, and now I am trying to figure out how to tie them together. It’s getting very complicated!

I thought I was ready to publish book one, but as I play with all of these loose ends, I think maybe I’m not ready after all. What if I need something to happen in book three that won’t work due to something I wrote in book one? I won’t be able to go back and revise it once it’s published!

Maybe I need to at least have a first draft of book three before I publish book one. I want to start my pre-launch of book one, but what if I don’t have it ready in time? What if I think it’s done, but it’s not? I have thought it was done many times throughout the process, only to find that it still needed more work.

What if, what if, what if? Sometimes – a lot of times – writing is just a whole lot of “what ifs!” Read the rest of this page »

You have a right to privacy. Now, take your clothes off. In front of everyone.

Does this confuse anyone else? Teachers are supposed to protect their students’ privacy by not sharing their personal information. A teacher can’t post grades publicly or leave a gradebook open on a desk because students might see each other’s grades. Yet, we have no problem with forcing students to get undressed in front of each other in gym class.

Privacy in the classroom, but not in the locker room?

Privacy in the classroom, but not in the locker room?

We don’t want any of our kids to know what any of the other kids got on their math test because that might make someone feel bad. But, we’re ok with them knowing what color underwear everyone else wears. We see nothing wrong with making sure our children all know who has the biggest breasts or the smallest penis.  Read the rest of this page »

Who here has a #blog?

None - This image is in the public domain and ...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hello, readers! I am in the process of planning out a marketing campaign for my upcoming novel, With Envy Stung: Valley of the Bees #1, and I was wondering if any of you who have blogs would be interested in helping out.

My goal is to set up a pre-order of the book and then plan one promotional activity per week for several weeks in order to build some buzz around my novel. One such activity that I would like to engage in – if I can find bloggers who would be interested in helping out – is a blog tour.

The blog stops on my tour could consist of an author interview or Q&A, or you could read my novel in advance of the launch and write a book review: whatever works best for you! Read the rest of this page »

Why varying word choice should not extend to #dialog tags

As writers, we all know the importance of varying our word choices. However, regardless of what your middle school language arts teacher might have taught you, this concept should not extend to dialog tags.

writing meme

Your dialog tags should never be more interesting than your story!

If you’re like me, you have probably had at least one English teacher admonish you for overusing the word, “said” when writing narrative. That teacher probably asked that you instead switch it up and use dialog tags such as, “he replied,” “she moaned,” “he argued,” and “she admonished.” While this might have been appropriate for a middle school English class, it is absolutely incorrect for a novel. Read the rest of this page »

How to help a fellow #indie author by reading her books for #free

Rain at three, short story

“Rain at Three” is now available at Smashwords for FREE.

I just finished reading the Smashwords Book Marketing Guide in an effort to find more ways to market my books. One of the topics this book discusses is how reviews help improve a book’s discoverability. Additionally, when an author offers at least one of his or her titles for free, it increases the likelihood that readers will 1) discover that book, 2) review that book, thus improving its discoverability, and 3) purchase another book from the same author (if the reader enjoyed the free book). The guide also stresses the point that we, as indie authors, have to help each other out with this.

Anyone who has browsed the free books at Smashwords and other book distributors will know that there are a lot of garbage eBooks out there. However, if you browse long enough, you are bound to strike gold eventually. Most of the time, I know whether or not I want to read a book after reviewing the first page or two. Personally, I wouldn’t mind being the person who discovered the next big author. I definitely wouldn’t mind being discovered in this same way!

Having mulled over this information for the past two days, I have come up with a plan that I think will help both me and other as-of-yet undiscovered authors. Read the rest of this page »

How to expand your audience with Smashwords

Like many indie publishers, I began my publishing journey with Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). Since learning to publish an eBook was more than enough knowledge to digest on its own without learning to publish on multiple platforms at once, I decided to stick with KDP for a while until I had a better idea of what I was doing. However, with the launch of my latest book project, I decided it was time to finally expand beyond Kindle and Nook and learn how to use Smashwords.

Capture

The leap from Kindle to Nook eBook publishing was a no-brainer. I wanted my print books to be available in brick and mortar bookstores like Barnes and Noble, and I wanted my B&N customers to also be able to access my books on their eReaders. But I knew there was still a vast audience that had no access to my books. Read the rest of this page »

I have a stalker

I don’t particularly enjoy airing my dirty laundry in public. But as I am often fond of saying, you can’t fix a hole in the floor by throwing a rug over it. Sometimes you have to expose a problem to deal with it. So, that’s why I’m here today, writing to you about my stalker.

You can't fix a hole in the floor by throwing a rug over it.

You can’t fix a hole in the floor by throwing a rug over it.

A few years ago, I made the mistake of dating someone who lived in the same apartment complex that I lived in. It was a relationship of convenience. I had no money to pay my heat bill, and his house was always warm. The guy was a good cook, and I like to eat. I had no cable, but he did. So, the long weekends spent getting used to not having my kids with me every other weekend while they were at their dad’s went a little bit faster. Besides, the whole thing really pissed my ex off, which was a huge plus. In fact, I probably would have broken it off with this dumbass a lot sooner than I did if my ex-husband had just minded his own business. Read the rest of this page »

Book release & #GIVEAWAY: As Good as a Feast     

As Good as a Feast is now available on Kindle and in print!

As Good as a Feast: Essays on Enough is now available on Kindle and in print!

I am pleased to announce the release of my latest project, As Good as a Feast: Essays on Enough, which is now available on Kindle and in print! To kick things off, I am hosting a couple of book giveaways that I hope you will all enter.

The first giveaway, which is going on right now, is through Amazon. You can enter here. Please feel free to share this giveaway with all of your reading and writing friends!

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. This giveaway started March 22, 2016 7:44 PM PDT and ends the earlier of March 29, 2016 11:59 PM PDT or when all prizes have been awarded.

The second giveaway will be through GoodReads, and I will announce that one officially when it becomes available.

I am currently accepting short stories and creative nonfiction essays for my next two anthology projects. For submission guidelines and additional information, please visit the Elderfly Press Submissions page.

Book Giveaways: A How-to

This is the first time that I have done giveaways of actual print edition books, so it has been a learning process. As always, I want to bring my writing readers along with me on this process and share a bit of what I am learning. Read the rest of this page »

How to know when you’ve “made it” as a writer

Hitting a writing milestone is one of the greatest feelings for a writer, especially when you meet your own self-imposed deadlines early. This week, I finished writing book two of my Valley of the Bees novel series and am now working on my second draft (my goal was to finish the rough draft by the end of March). I also just ordered the second proof of an essay collection that I am editing, titled, As Good as a Feast: Essays on Enough. Once I have reviewed this second proof, the book should be ready to go to print!

As Good as a Feast - Print Cover Image

Yesterday, an article popped up in my newsfeed. The title caught my eye, but I decided not to read it. The topic was on how to know when you’ve “made it” as a writer. I didn’t need to read it because I feel like I have already made it. Read the rest of this page »

Is your novel stuck? How to write your way past the flashing cursor

One of the most important lessons I have learned about novel writing is that the worst thing you can do when you’re stuck is to sit and stare at a flashing cursor on a blank page. In my experience, when I have done this in the past, the longer I stared at that cursor, the more stuck I became. Instead, I have learned that the only way to get unstuck is to write through it.

writing meme

This may sound like a crazy idea.

“I’m stuck,” you’re thinking. “How do I write through it when I can’t think of anything to write?” Read the rest of this page »

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