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!”

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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””

Digital Marketing, Essays, Memoir

My Final Paper | Teaching Life Writing as a Life Skill: Normalizing the Deviant Self via Personal Narrative

I finally finished the class I was taking this semester and turned in my 22-page final paper on Thursday. Yay! While I shared several of my earlier papers here on my blog throughout the semester, this paper is just way too long for that. So, I decided to see this as an opportunity to explore a new (to me) publishing platform that I had previously only used for reading: Scribd.

It turns out, Scribd is super easy to use. You can embed your documents right into your blog as I have done above so your readers don’t even have to leave your website! You can also charge people to read your documents on the Scribd website. I’m not going to do that with this paper, though. You may feel free to read it here in tiny text, or click through to the Scribd website or app to read it for free at your leisure! Continue reading “My Final Paper | Teaching Life Writing as a Life Skill: Normalizing the Deviant Self via Personal Narrative”

Editing, Novel Writing

Notes to myself

notes on my fantasy novel manuscript
There are more notes on this page than story!

I’ve been reading through the first draft of my fantasy novel manuscript these past several nights, and my notes to myself are taking on a life of their own. On some pages, like this one, my notes outweigh the original text.

The nice thing about letting a manuscript sit in a drawer for a while is that when you come back to it, you can look at it from the perspective of a reader. I see what’s missing now in the way a writer who is too close to her work can’t see.

I have about a hundred more pages to review, and then I’m hitting the notebook hard. It’s time to go stock up on pens! Continue reading “Notes to myself”

NaNoWriMo, Novel Writing

2014 NaNoWriMo Trashy Romance Challenge: It’s time to write a sex scene!

Did you hit 25,000 words by the end of the day yesterday? If so, great work! It’s time to reward yourself by writing something fun.

Writing assignment

Write a sex scene. Continue reading “2014 NaNoWriMo Trashy Romance Challenge: It’s time to write a sex scene!”

Book Reviews

As if Hugh Howey needs more publicity

Hugh Howey's Wool, in the wilds of a brick and...
“Dust” provides a fascinating conclusion to Hugh Howey’s Wool trilogy. | Hugh Howey’s Wool, in the wilds of a brick and mortar store (Photo credit: martin_kalfatovic)

I finally got my hands on a copy of Hugh Howey’s Dust at my local library last week. I didn’t have time to start reading it until Saturday. But once I opened that book and started reading, it didn’t matter what I had time for. Once I started reading, I couldn’t stop. At the end of the day, I kept trying to put it down so I could go to sleep. I didn’t manage to close the book for the night until after I had read the last page. It was that good.

One of my favorite things about Hugh Howey is the way in which he shot to fame. He basically self-published a short story, then went on about his business and forgot about it. Then one day, he realized that short story was a bestseller. He rushed to write a few more stories to capitalize on that interest. Those first stories later became the Wool omnibus that is now being published around the world. Continue reading “As if Hugh Howey needs more publicity”

Novel Writing, Reading

How to ensure your novel is what’s read next

Goodreads Avatar
Determining what to read next can be far more complicated than simply grabbing a book off the shelf. | Goodreads Avatar (Photo credit: minifig)

I have a complicated system for deciding what book I want to read next. First, I constantly keep my eyes peeled for books I might want to read. For example, this morning I read a blog post interview with self-publishing author Aimee Kuzinski. She caught my attention when she mentioned that the hardest part of writing her latest novel, Eye of the Storm, was realizing during the editing phase that she had a major plot hole that needed to be fixed. The fact that she took the time to go ahead and plug that hole rather than rushing her book to publication made me want to read her book.

I should probably mention that the premise of Kuzinski’s novel sounded promising as well. Seriously, what is wrong with me that the writer’s effort to produce a quality product is more likely to catch my attention than her story telling? Maybe I need to work on that. But I digress. Continue reading “How to ensure your novel is what’s read next”

Editing, Publishing

What do you mean, you’re looking for an editor?

handwritten manuscript
It’s going to take a lot of effort to turn this handwritten manuscript into a published novel.

Do you need to hire an editor to clean up your manuscript before self-publishing or querying agents? You may be tempted to skip this step to save a few bucks on publishing costs. However, forgoing the editorial process may cost you dedicated readers in the end. Poorly edited books garner terrible reviews, which then decrease the likelihood that anyone will want to purchase your books in the future.

When determining whether you need an editor, it is essential to understand exactly what an editor does. While attending a recent self-publishing seminar, I overheard a fellow writer discussing his need to hire someone to edit his manuscript. At first, I was tempted to offer my services. However, after listening to him talk for a while, I began to get the idea that what he was looking for was a proofreader, not an editor. The more he talked, the less I wanted to work for him. Continue reading “What do you mean, you’re looking for an editor?”