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”

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Travel, Uncategorized

If you’re ever driving through Blytheville, AR and need a hotel…

Avoid the Days Inn like the plague. Literally. There is a good chance you’ll catch the plague (or at least bring cockroaches home with you when you leave) if you stay here:

The Days Inn logo used from 2007 to the present
The Days Inn logo used from 2007 to the present (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Days Inn Blytheville
102 South Porter Drive
Blytheville, AR 72315
(800) 329-1073

Check out my Yelp review to find out why I will be skipping over Blytheville, Arkansas completely based on this single bad experience: Continue reading “If you’re ever driving through Blytheville, AR and need a hotel…”

Book Reviews, Novel Writing, Uncategorized, Valley of the Bees

Now available for pre-order: With Envy Stung | Valley of the Bees #1

It’s official! I just set up my novel, With Envy Stung: Valley of the Bees #1 for pre-order on Smashwords! I completed the first draft of the third and final book of this trilogy, and I finally feel confident that Book One will be ready for publication by its September 1st release date!

With Envy Stung cover with white border
With Envy Stung: Valley of the Bees #1 is now available for download on iTunes and Kobo. It will soon be available on your Nook as well! See the links within this blog post for more info.

This is such a huge milestone for me. I have been working on this trilogy for about three years now. With Envy Stung has been critiqued and revised until I can’t imagine what else I might possibly do to make it shine any brighter. That is, until I sit down to read through it again and find a few more lines that I could write *just a little bit better.*

Update: I now have direct links where you can pre-order your copy of With Envy Stung: Valley of the Bees #1 from the retailer of your choice:

As with any work in progress, I will probably always be able to find something else that I could tweak a bit more. But, as with any other work in progress, the time always comes when it’s time for the author to let it go as it is. I feel confident that With Envy Stung has reached that stage in the writing process. The time has finally come to complete my final line edits and format the book for publishing! Continue reading “Now available for pre-order: With Envy Stung | Valley of the Bees #1”

Book Reviews, Uncategorized

8 best books of 2015

It’s that time of year again! Time to make our “top however many of whatever of the year” lists and post them on our blogs. As a writer, I am of course obligated to post my top books of 2015. I read a lot of books this year, but only eight of them really stood out for me.

top 8 books of 2015 Continue reading “8 best books of 2015”

Creative Nonfiction, Memoir, Uncategorized

School is back in session: Creative Nonfiction

It’s that time of year again, folks. Time to go back to school. I don’t know about you, but I would be perfectly happy not to send my kids back to school. I’m going to have plenty of homework of my own! I just downloaded my syllabus for the creative nonfiction course I’ll be taking this fall, and it looks like I am going to be doing a LOT of writing. That’s a good thing though, right?

I have started reading the “recommended text,” In Fact, which the professor mentioned we might like to look at. I already have a list of ideas for topics that I have been meaning to write about. I am excited to have deadlines in place to force me to put the pen to the paper and get the words out of my head already! I’ll be sharing my work (and probably griping a bit here and there too, if I know me!) throughout the semester. It will be a lot of work, but I am excited to get started! Continue reading “School is back in session: Creative Nonfiction”

Domestic Violence, Uncategorized

When your summer paper-writing requires a trigger warning

This summer, I am taking an online course titled “Family Violence: Cross-Cultural Perspectives” as part of my coursework for a graduate certificate in Women and Gender Studies. So far, my homework has consisted of a great deal of reading and responding to questions about the readings. Thus, I haven’t really written anything that could easily be shared here. I have to start working on my final paper though, so that is about to change!

This course is a criminal justice course rather than my usual writing and/or literature courses, so I am trying to wrap my head around APA style again. I haven’t used APA since I finished business school in 2008! Luckily my professor has provided us with a couple of sample papers to help get us started. After reviewing these papers, I think I have a clear picture of where I want to go with my paper. Continue reading “When your summer paper-writing requires a trigger warning”

Book Reviews, eBooks, Poetry, Poetry by Mandy Webster, Uncategorized

Mother’s Day Special: Free download of “Loosely Collected”

This weekend only, download the Kindle version of Loosely Collected: A Book of Poems FOR FREE for your favorite mother (including yourself!) This offer is good May 7 – 11, 2015.

Get your free download May 7 - 11, 2015!
Get your free download May 7 – 11, 2015!

Continue reading “Mother’s Day Special: Free download of “Loosely Collected””

Blogging, Book Reviews, Uncategorized

How to fall in love with a reader: Part Three

Cover of “The Name of the Wind” by Patrick Rothfuss
Since my first post, I have now added “The Name of the Wind” to my original list of favorite books. Not sure how I forgot this one!

And finally, the third and final part of my how to fall in love with a reader Q&A series: Continue reading “How to fall in love with a reader: Part Three”

Blogging, Reading, Uncategorized

How to fall in love with a reader: Part One

a picture of me with my niece
Did you fall in love with this reader yet? This is a picture of me with one of my nieces at my sister’s recent bridal shower. My niece is a reader too, but she’s too young for you. I’m the short one.

The other day, I read this blog post that mentioned a New York Times essay discussing a “36-question interview devised to make strangers fall in love.” The author of the blog post revised the questionnaire with the intent of making specific people – readers – well, if not fall in love, at least “have an interesting conversation about books.” In this post, the first in a three-part series, I will answer that blogger’s questions. Continue reading “How to fall in love with a reader: Part One”

Book Reviews, Education, Uncategorized

An analysis of Coming of Age in Mississippi and Herculine Barbin

It is interesting to compare two very different texts.
It is interesting to compare two very different texts.

The following is my second course autobiography that I wrote for the course I am taking this semester. I would appreciate your feedback. I am having some difficulty incorporating the required “elements of pedagogy” without making it sound forced.

The Power of a Movement

Coming of Age in Mississippi and Herculine Barbin (Being the Recently Discovered Memoirs of a Nineteenth Century French Hermaphrodite) tell the stories of two individuals whose lives are greatly impacted by the bodies in which they were born. While Anne Moody’s life is influenced by the color of her skin, Herculine Barbin’s is shaped by the presence of “abnormal” genitalia that make it impossible to determine her “true sex” at birth. One of the elements I would ask students to analyze if I were teaching these two texts is the differences the two authors faced as one of them suffers her trials alone while the other’s story takes place within the context of a greater movement. Continue reading “An analysis of Coming of Age in Mississippi and Herculine Barbin”