Valley of the Bees

The Kirkus Review of Valley of the Bees is in!

Great news! The Kirkus Review for Valley of the Bees is in, and it is pretty good!

Read the full review!

Here are a few high points of the review:

Webster has written a richly detailed work whose world feels legitimate and lived-in, letting readers gradually, seamlessly experience it, rather than overwhelming them with exposition. Meanwhile, Valley is an empathetic, compassionate protagonist who feels three-dimensional from start to finish. Her caring for the bees establishes an instant connection with the reader. The complications of her friendship with another teenager, Reyna, who has fallen in love with her, as well as the intricate bonds that tie her to her family make for an engrossing drama. Furthermore, her relationship with her grandmother, as well as the unfolding of a number of buried family secrets that cause her to question a great deal of what she thought she knew, provides a brilliant through line.

Continue reading “The Kirkus Review of Valley of the Bees is in!”

Writers on Writing

How writing a novel is like putting a puzzle together #amwriting

What’s the first thing you do when you put a puzzle together?

I posed this question to my spring semester creative writing workshop on our last day of class. I was trying to get them to think about what comes next for them, now that they have all started writing their novels. I also asked the question on my Facebook page to see what answers non-writers might come up with. Only one of them came up with the answer I was looking for. I got a variety of responses to the question, including:

  • Find all the edge pieces
  • Look for the corners
  • Sort the pieces by color
  • Throw the puzzle in the garbage because puzzles suck!

Continue reading “How writing a novel is like putting a puzzle together #amwriting”

Illinois

I’m officially an Illinois author!

I have a couple of interesting announcements for you today! First of all, I have been added to the Illinois State Library’s official list of Illinois Authors. You can find my listing among those of other writing Illinoisans, including Sherwood Anderson, Gwendolyn Brooks, Earnest Hemingway, Upton Sinclair, Carl Sandburg, and more!

Illinois Reads

I have also become an official Illinois Reads Ambassador. Which, honestly, doesn’t mean a whole lot– other than the fact that I will be receiving marketing materials from them to share. So, you might be hearing more from me about Illinois Reads programs and Illinois authors in general in the future.  Continue reading “I’m officially an Illinois author!”

Valley of the Bees

Enter to win a copy of Valley of the Bees #1! #giveaway

I’m giving away a free copy of With Envy Stung: Valley of the Bees #1 over on GoodReads. Check it out now!

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Enter to Win!

I got more than 500 entries on my last giveaway, and I’m hoping to hit 1,000 this time. Visit GoodReads now to enter! Continue reading “Enter to win a copy of Valley of the Bees #1! #giveaway”

Television

To Walk Invisible: The Brontë Sisters on PBS

Masterpiece has done it again with their new BBC movie, To Walk Invisible: The Brontë Sisters. I watched it last night on the PBS channel on my Roku, and it was so good, I had to share. Check out the trailer:

An interesting element of this story is how the sisters are pressed to move forward with their writing each time their alcoholic brother screws up. These women lived in a time when a girl’s entire future rested on how well her father, brother, or husband did. If a woman of this period got stuck with a drunk or loser of any other sort, it could ruin her entire life. Oh, wait. That still happens today! Continue reading “To Walk Invisible: The Brontë Sisters on PBS”

Blogging

Write on the World has a whole new look!

If you come here often, you were probably in for a bit of a jolt when you stopped by today. I’m teaching a WordPress blogging class right now at my local community college, and I got a little jealous when I saw the fresh, clean templates my students were using as they built their blog sites yesterday. I’ve been thinking about it for a while, but I finally decided it was time to update my blog site. It’s still a work in progress, but you have to start somewhere!
cropped-bee-logo-only.jpg

Continue reading “Write on the World has a whole new look!”

Novel Writing, Uncategorized

How to organize your first draft #novelwriting

CaptureThe past few weeks, I’ve been working on my second “real” novel, and it hit me this morning that I’ve finally figured out how to organize my work in the first draft stage so I can keep track of what I’m doing. Because organization can be a key element of being an efficient writer, I thought I’d share my system in case some other writer might find it useful. I think the easiest way to explain my system is to paint a picture of it for you, so I took a screenshot of the first page of my actual document:

And now, I will explain what I have done: Continue reading “How to organize your first draft #novelwriting”

Valley of the Bees

Valley of the Bees is now available in print!

Valley of the Bees cover image
The Valley of the Bees Omnibus edition includes all three eBooks in the trilogy and is now available in print and a variety of digital formats!

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been busy. So busy, in fact, I never got around to doing an official announcement on here when Valley of the Bees released in print on March 1. Now, that’s busy!

Today I also launched a book giveaway on GoodReads, so I hope you’ll run over there and put your name in for a free signed copy of my book! A lot of people are already entering, so don’t miss out!

Where to get your copy

Continue reading “Valley of the Bees is now available in print!”

eBooks, Valley of the Bees

Fixing your #Smashwords ebook file: The nuclear option isn’t nearly as scary as it sounds!

Many of the most common issues indie publishers encounter when converting Word files to eBook files can be eliminated by properly setting up each Word document and sticking to specific formatting practices throughout the writing process. However, this can be difficult when you format your manuscript with the intent to publish it in print first, and then try to convert your print manuscript file to an eBook file. I learned this first-hand this past weekend when I took the beautiful Word file that I had formatted for the print version of Valley of the Bees and converted it into an eBook.

A Valley of the Bees promotional ad

Luckily, Kindle’s .mobi format is very flexible and doesn’t seem to be quite so picky. With a few simple adjustments, my manuscript became a Kindle eBook with almost no effort on my part. It even retained the cool honeybee icon that I had placed at the top of each chapter! Unfortunately, uploading my manuscript to Smashwords for distribution in other formats wasn’t so easy. I crossed my fingers, held my breath, and let it go. And then, two days later, I received the dreaded email informing me that my book had failed the ePub review. Continue reading “Fixing your #Smashwords ebook file: The nuclear option isn’t nearly as scary as it sounds!”