I fancy myself a writer.

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Wanted: Your opinions, please!

Each day, I draw closer to completing my Valley of the Bees book project. My manuscript is in the final formatting phase, and the time has come to make an endless number of decisions that most readers will never think of. Today, I am agonizing over the formatting of my chapter headings, and I’m hoping some of you might have an informed opinion to share on this subject. Here is an example of what my chapter headings look like now:

chapter heading format sample

What do you think: should “Chapter 46” be bold?

So, here’s my dilemma: I think the chapter number and chapter name should be set apart in some way. I’m think of bolding the chapter number. What do you think?  Read the rest of this page »

So, I’ve totally bombed #NaNoWriMo—but that’s okay!

If you’re doing NaNoWriMo this year, I hope you’re doing better than I am. With Thanksgiving only a couple of days away, and me at like 2,000 words, tops, I think it’s time to throw in the towel and admit this just isn’t my year. I’ve still been getting writing stuff done though, so I have no regrets. Well, maybe just a couple. But, that’s life, right?

Anyway, I have my full manuscript of Valley of the Bees with a professional proofer at the moment, and I’ve been working on page layout for the print edition of all three eBooks in one big book, which is scheduled to release in March. I printed out the front pages and the first several chapters to get an idea of how things look, and I was pleasantly surprised at how much it looks like—well—an actual BOOK!

The Valley of the Bees Omnibus print edition is shaping up quite well!

The Valley of the Bees Omnibus print edition is shaping up quite well!

I have done a pretty stellar job with page layout, if I do say so myself. I can’t wait to order my first real proof. Then, it will be real. Really real! Read the rest of this page »

If you don’t ask, the answer is “no.”

Creative writing class-fine arts center (40269...

Creative writing class-fine arts center (402690951) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Two years ago, I took a full-time job working as a civil servant in an academic department at a state university. I’m a media manager, writing the occasional news story about my department, editing the department newsletter, liaising with textbook reps, and doing all sorts of tedious work (like putting together course evaluation packets) that have nothing to do with anything I went to college for. It’s not exactly my dream job, but it allows me the flexibility I need to be able to pursue my dream career, which is writing.

Prior to taking this job, I worked as an adjunct instructor at a state technical college. It’s a typical career path for many in my situation, but I soon learned that it was not conducive to writing. Sure, I only spent a couple of hours in the classroom each week and was able to work at home the rest of the time. But, I spent many of those long hours at home grading papers, reading basic essays written by students who really did not want to write them. There was a lot of drudge work involved for very little pay, and it left very little time for my own writing pursuits. Read the rest of this page »

Exploring my writing roots at 2 a.m. on a Saturday morning

A picture of my Grandma Webster

I dug all through my digital photo albums looking for a picture of Grandma Webster, and this is the only one I could find. I need to remedy that!

Have I ever told you about my writing roots? I feel like I haven’t, and that’s odd, because you would think that would be a natural topic of discussion on a writing blog, right? At any rate, storytelling seems to be embedded in my genes, as much as my early graying hair and the extra fat that I tend to carry around in my gut. Those are a few of the things I get from my mom’s side (along with some good things, too, don’t get me wrong.) But, the storytelling gene runs strong on my dad’s side of the family.

My dad’s paternal grandfather – my great grandfather – Ralph Webster, is a bit of a legend in our family. It is said that he could pick up any musical instrument and hear any song one time and play the song on that instrument. The accordion was his chosen instrument, but his voice was a major talent as well; one that he often put to good use spinning yarns for anyone who cared to listen.

Oral storytelling is a popular pastime in that branch of my family tree. My father is no exception. Many a family wedding photo has captured my dad gesticulating largely as he tells one of his stories that never fail to hold his audience in thrall. Not only does he tell fabulous stories of the hilarity that seems to ensue in his daily life, but he is also a connoisseur of family history. His brain is a magical treasure trove of stories that beg to be written down for posterity, but he’s not one to spend time sitting down to write. Read the rest of this page »

It’s time to gear up for #NaNoWriMo 2016!

It’s that time of year again, writing friends! Time to prep for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) in November! This year, I am doing it, and I am doing it right. Anyway, that’s the plan!

nanowrimo_2016_webbanner_participant

I don’t know about you, but I have a lot to do over this next month to prepare. My writing plans for October include: Read the rest of this page »

Book #Giveaway! Enter to win one of ten free copies of Valley of the Bees #1! #VotB

Yesterday, I wrote a blog post discussing how to set up a Rafflecopter to administer a book giveaway. Well, today the giveaway is live, and I discovered that I did not add a link to the section where entrants can comment on a blog post to enter the giveaway. (OOPS!) So, this blog post right here will be the official post to comment on to enter to win a copy of With Envy Stung: Valley of the Bees #1. Once you have posted your comment below, be sure to click through to the Rafflecopter to check off the box for commenting on the blog post.

You can also click on the Rafflecopter image below for more ways to enter.

Click here to enter!

Click here to enter!

As long as I’m updating you on what didn’t work when I set up my Rafflecopter, I might as well also tell you what I came up with as a work-around for the fact that you can’t embed the widget in the free version of WordPress. It was really simple, really. All I did was take a screenshot of the widget on my Facebook page and add the image to the blog post. Then, I hyperlinked the image to the mobile-friendly link that I got from the Facebook app, y voila! A somewhat functional Rafflecopter giveaway on my blog post. Read the rest of this page »

How to give your books away on #Rafflecopter

Current book

You can enter to win a free copy of “With Envy Stung: Valley of the Bees #1” for a limited time. | Current book (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My marketing plan for Book 1 of the Valley of the Bees eBook serial is moving right along. I got a small pop of pre-orders that assured me of a spike (however tiny) in sales on release day. The final manuscript for book 2 is almost ready to be uploaded, so I went ahead and set up my pre-order pages for that book so I could add links to buy at the end of Book 1. And now that Book 2 is available for pre-order, I’m ready to give away several free copies of With Envy Stung: Valley of the Bees #2 to keep the ball rolling!

Now, you might be asking why in the world I would want to start giving away free copies of a book that just released two weeks ago. Lucky for you, I like sharing what I’ve learned about book marketing, so I’m going to tell you why! It’s very simple, really. A book giveaway at this point will do two things for me (I hope): Read the rest of this page »

Today is the Day! #VotB #1 is LIVE! #Read now!

Cover Design by Jennifer DeWeese at jendy.threadless.com.

Cover Design by Jennifer DeWeese at jendy.threadless.com.

This is it, folks! My latest eBook has officially launched! With Envy Stung: Valley of the Bees #1 has released. If you pre-ordered your copy, make sure it downloads to your device. For those of you who haven’t yet purchased the book, you are in luck! I have decided to keep the 99 cent price open for a few more days.

I am so excited to hear what readers think about Valley of the Bees, so once you have read it, please do me a huge favor and post a review. You can review the book at the retailer website where you purchased it, on GoodReads, or even on your blog. The more reviews the better! Remember, every review you post for a book that you enjoyed makes it that much easier for other readers to discover and enjoy the book as well.

Do you still need to get your copy? Links to buy are posted below. So, grab your copy of With Envy Stung: Valley of the Bees #1 today!

With Envy Stung: Valley of the Bees #1 is currently available for purchase in eBook format from these and other fine retailers:

Read the rest of this page »

#YouKnowYouAreAWriterWhen you can flip your own switches. #VotB

Original manuscript of a revision of "Spi...

Even Poe had to revise his work! | Original manuscript of a revision of “Spirits of the Dead” in Poe’s handwriting. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At various crossroads on my writing journey, I have often happened upon “road signs” that let me know that I am heading in the right direction. These signs make me think, “Wow, I really AM a writer.” One example was when I completed my very first novel manuscript draft seven years ago. You know how it is. It feels like you will never finish. You often wonder if you are even capable of writing a complete novel. And then, one day, you find yourself typing, “THE END,” and you think, “Wow, I really AM a writer.”

At that moment, it feels like you have accomplished everything you need to do. You have reached the end of your writing journey. You wrote a novel! Woohoo! That’s a MAJOR accomplishment. And you are, rightfully, proud of that accomplishment.

But then, you realize that you need to edit that first draft. You realize that you still have a lot of work to do before you can call it, “done.” (Or, at least I hope you do!) You don’t rush out and self-publish that first draft because you take your writing seriously, and you want to offer your readers the best possible reading experience. Read the rest of this page »

Valley of the Bees Book Blog Tour: Stop #1

Author T. S. Dickerson

Author T. S. Dickerson

The With Envy Stung: Valley of the Bees #1 book blog tour has officially begun! My first stop is taking place today (right now!) over at author T. S. Dickerson’s blog, where she has posted a book review of my latest novel, which will release on September 1, 2016.

Go check out this book review now, and then check back here later to find out where the With Envy Stung: Valley of the Bees #1 book blog tour will be stopping next.

Do you want to be a part of this blog tour? Contact Me for details!

Buy The Book

For a limited time, With Envy Stung: Valley of the Bees #1 is available for only 99 cents. Pre-order your copy today before the book returns to its regular price of $3.99!

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