Saturday, October 31, 2015

Visibility On The Web

I have talked a lot about promoting through social media in the past. It is the largest known and easily created form of marketing in our current digital world. There are so many forms of social media now though that it can be difficult to keep up on. Between Facebook, Twitter, Vine, Periscope, Linked In, Instagram just to name a few, plus there are blogs everywhere online it can be nearly impossible for people to follow and worse for anyone to create.

I have Twitter, Facebook and a blog. On Facebook I have my personal page, my author page and a dedicated page for my charity series. I do my best to keep relevant and updated posts on each of my pages while making sure I put up something interesting on blog my blog and twitter at least once per day. I fall short often but I am doing my best and I believe I am getting better. My biggest challenge most days is coming up with new ideas to post or information to share. I forget I have Twitter half the time, only posting when I am reminded by the app on my phone.

One thing that can help make it easier to follow as well as update would be to have everything centralized. The best way to bring all of these different types together would be a website. By creating a website an author can include biography and contact information, blurbs and purchase links for their work, and of course tabs that allow a reader to access all the different forms of social media that the author is a part of.

I am working on creating a website though sadly I am woefully ill equipped to do so on my own. I have begun speaking with a few different web designers that I know and I have gotten a lot of advice but still working on how to put everything together. From what information to include to the artistic presentation there are several aspects that need to be considered. Even more important for me is the ease of use for a somewhat technologically challenged person like myself. I need to be able to update and edit whatever is loaded onto the site. I also want to be able to put up special events and sales that I participate in with my writing and share blog posts that I create or take part in with other authors.

I have a lot to learn about creating websites but one of the things I do know is that having one can be vital for improving readers' ability to find you and your work so it is at the top of the priority list for marketing right now.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Character Profile - Amanda Perella

With Nanowrimo just around the corner I am preparing to once again take on a new genre. I will be doing my best to create a suspense thriller this year which, while a style I love to read, is not something I have ever attempted nor until now believed I had the ability to write. I love the sense of urgency created in suspense thrillers. The interaction between the characters as well as the slowly developing understory that bleeds into the main storyline has always been my favorite type of book.

Several months ago I was struck by an idea for a thriller while I was at work. The story was just a minor brainstorm that seemed scattered. I had a main character but sometimes she was a best selling author being haunted by an evil character, but then out of no where I had a struggling author looking to write something epic. It drove me crazy until I realized I was being talked to by two completely different characters simultaneously.

The first book was the best selling author dealing with the evil character driving her mad with horrible demands and ideas for a book. The second book was a younger woman that wanted to write an epic story but has been struggling for months. She had high expectations not only for herself but because she is the daughter of the main character from the first book. Amanda Perella was determined   to live up to the same reputation her mother had built.

The problem was that she never found a character that she connected with the way her mother had. She left the city because she felt perhaps the solitude of a country house would make it easier to find her voice and hopefully connect with the characters that seemed to always elude her. She packs up everything and finds a beautiful older house along a dirt country road. There is a little pond at the end of the road and she walks her dog down by the pond every night.

A few weeks after moving to her country house she has a very vivid dream with a woman in an elaborate old house. Amanda woke up at four in the morning and began writing feverishly. She gets through the beginning of an outline but as she writes the dream begins to fade. Frustrated, she takes her dog for a walk down to the pond. As she walks she gets a resurgence of inspiration. When she gets back however her ideas again start to fade. This repeats day after day until one walk she takes in the morning and sees a delivery truck pulling away from the house at the end of the road.

She had never noticed the house before because she had always only watched her dog or looked at the water but that day it was the only thing she could focus on. The closer she got the more she realized the house was in disrepair and the yard was overgrown. The house looked abandoned but she could see the boxes that had been delivered sitting on the porch. She knocked on the door but no one answered so she looked in the windows. She gets completely taken aback when the house is the same one from her dreams. Startled she stumbled back, tripping over the boxes. She stood up and caught a glimpse of the name on the packages, it is the same as her main character.

Who is the woman in Amanda's dreams? Why is she getting images of a house she never noticed invading her thoughts. What does the woman want and is Amanda going to be able to help her?

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Crafting the Perfect Pitch

You have your amazing manuscript written. You made a list of agents you want to target. You have edited, researched and rewritten multiple times. You even came up with the ideal hook, genre category, biography and closing sales line. You are ready to address all the envelopes, stuff them with the query letters and slap the stamp on right? Wrong.

Your research is still not over yet. Just as we writers get frustrated by the form letters that agencies send in reply to our queries, so too do agents. If you send a generalized letter that to several agents that covers the basics but is not specifically tailored for anyone in particular it is unlikely that your query will make it very far.

You need to research each and every agent, editor and publisher you will be contacting in order to make sure each of your letters is designed to sell you the person you are contacting. If you take a few minutes per person you can find exactly what each one is looking for, what they represent and are accepting submissions for and many times even clues on how exactly how to sell to them.

Essentially there is no such thing as a one size fits all perfect pitch. It can be time consuming to look into every person you want to submit to but it is worth it. Because of how long it takes there are a number of authors that will decide not to submit to as many agents and publishers as they had originally planned but it is important to keep pushing through.

As I prepare for submissions of several projects over the next few months I have a list of over 100 agents. Not all of my books will be sent to all of the agents but I have a long list in each file. I picked my top twenty five agents in each file and I will be doing the research on those first then once I have submitted to all of them I will begin the research process on the next ten in each group. I am planning to submit in waves until I finally get an acceptance.

The letter I am in search of can take months or even years to come but I am determined to find my agent and get the representation I have always dreamed of. It is on my list of goals for 2016 and I am very excited about getting to work!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Book Promotion - Finding Rachel

For the last book promotion of the month I wanted to focus on the fourth book from our month long book release. If you have joined me before you know that October is not only Breast Cancer Awareness Month but it is also Domestic Violence Awareness. Earlier this month my fellow authors and I released books all about fighting back and I have showcased Survivor, Behind Closed Doors and Fighting Chance. The last one I want to make sure people know about is Finding Rachel by Bree Vanderland.

I needed to find Rachel once more... Maybe it was my fault. I married too young and had my son too young. Not that I would trade Daniel for the world. Jason was everything at first, but he changed. He became violent, he hurt me and our son, something I'd never forgive him for, but I knew I needed to get away and become as strong as iron. I needed to find myself again.

Pushing The Limits

Since we are less than a week away from my favorite holiday of the year, halloween, I can think of little else. I look forward every year to giving out the candy to trim or treaters. I enjoy the scary movies that always come out this time of year and of course I love to dress up. While I was carving pumpkins today I was actually thinking about what I wanted to wear as a costume. Last year I wore a very risqué play boy bunny costume but I did it because I used to be so heavy and I hVe worked hard to be proud of my own body.

I had been planning to do a belly dancer costume this year but I ran out of time to gather all of the items I would need so I was telling a friend that I would probably just wear the bunny costume again. She urged me to be more creative and try something new. That got me thinking about other things I have that cold be used for different costumes. It also got me thinking about my writing. The advice is solid for either situation.

Last year I wrote a suspense fantasy with an erotic twist for nano but I was very timid on everything other than the drama. Thinking about my friend's advice though I am considering stepping up the suspense and the eroticism when I go back to do the edits and rewrites. Both are extremely outside my comfort zone but that is the point. How can we grow if we continue to stay with the same old same old? So I am determined to keep pushing the limits.

I am also getting ready for nano this year and I will be working on my first thriller. This is also a departure from the norm for me but I am going to do my best to not allow my own hesitations to restrict my writing this year. I am hoping to put out something that those who are familiar with my previous writing would enjoy but at the same time will take them on a journey they would never expect.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Social Issues

Normally on Saturdays it is a time for me to do a character profile or promote a book. However today I wanted to take a prompt from a 30 day writing challenge list and the first one is five things wrong with social media. There are pros and cons to any type of social media as well as face to face interacting. I would imagine that my list of five things will very dramatically from what others would consider to be wrong but for me the list is simple.

First is the promotions put on by the operating companies. I understand that they are here to make business but do I have to see an ad for posting my post every time I put something up on my author or charity series pages? Why is it needed? Give me the option and if I choose to believe that I must reach 800-1,400 new people that I may or may not know then I will enlist your help but once I know the option is there I do not need to be reminded for each post I do.

Second would be the limited amount of information I can see. If I do not like or share something from a friends page a certain number of times per week then I am unable to find them without actually hunting them down. Their updates are invisible. I do not get to share in their life moments. I am left in the dark. Same for people I hope can see what I am posting, if they go on vacation for a week or two and do not check in with a certain number of likes then I will vanish from their news feed until they make the dedicated effort to bring me back.

Third honestly may be showing my age slightly as well is aimed almost exclusively at twitter, though Instagram has it somewhat as well, hashtags and the ridiculous abbreviations we all are doing for communication now. I don't want to have to get creative in the spelling of words with symbols just to make it fit 140 characters. I do not want to abbreviate until no one can guess what I actually meant. I like reading sentences and full thoughts put up by someone that took the time to make their language comprehensible and choose their words intelligently.

Fourth may upset people, including some I know personally, but I cannot stand the constant onslaught of game requests. I do not play games on social media sites. I do not care if you believe the latest candy crush is the game that changed your life or you simply need more lives to beat level 94, I am not going to be joining you. I have asked people not to send me requests but I still get them so now I just block the games. It is frustrating when half of my notifications are just people that want a few more lives to beat bejeweled blitz.

Fifth and final issue I have with social media is the way it has replaced regular interactions between people. Yes I use it to keep in touch with friends and family across the country and around the world. I have made friends I am very close to and yet have never seen in person but that is not what I am talking about. I hate when I go to the beach and while I am out surfing or walking along the sand I see people everywhere that are uploading a million selfies or updating their status for the ninth time that hour instead of putting down the phone and tablet to enjoy the sunshine. If you are more focused on creating the perfect tweet than you are on the person sitting next to you that is a problem. We need to unplug more often and spend time looking each other in the eye having a real conversation.

Social media has given as thousands of advancements and enhancements but I fear one day it will truly replace human interaction.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Making Contacts

Whether you want to write for the sake of becoming a best selling author, you want to build a brand and work for yourself or just get a story down on paper so those pesky characters will finally leave you alone, gaining exposure once the book is published is a key part of the process. I have tried a number of things to get my name out there but had little success until my most recent venture.

I did the online cover reveal and release party thing but because I do not have thousands of followers the turn out was minimal. I tried sharing it in different groups but still only a nibble on the interest line. So, knowing I am better at live events, I planned a signing at one of my favorite local bakeries. It was supposed to be held on a Saturday afternoon but there was a conflict and I was moved to Friday. Because of peoples work schedules only a few friends were able to make it and the lack of advertising meant only the Friday afternoon foot traffic in the tiny shopping plaza would even know I was there.

Lesson one learned, location and time are extremely important for a live event. Technically lesson two as well, advertising is a must! That creates a small issue though when you work part time and cannot afford to take out ads on radio, tv and in the newspaper. I did contact the Las Vegas Review Journal who agreed to mention the signing as well as do a spotlight but the mention was buried in the middle and the spotlight appeared months after the event. Still determined though I decided to set up my own mini book tour. I went back to Michigan where family and friends would be around and could help spread the word. 

I signed at a local bookstore though once again timing, this time combined with torrential down pouring rain caused the lack of turn out. That night I had an area of a trendy restaurant in downtown Lansing set aside and we had food friends and wine flowing so it was quite successful. The last one was at a craft fair where I had a booth for the weekend. I did surprisingly well for not knowing what I was getting into but there were still some takeaways I could use to improve. I need to start as early as possible letting people know about the events and then remind them. The flyers my boyfriend created were invaluable to getting the word out and I have continued to use them. And I had believed that the fact only two authors were present at the craft fair had helped me because I was not in direct competition.

That theory changed this past weekend when I attended and set up my booth at the Vegas Valley Book Festival. I was not only directly competing with other authors but sitting in the same plaza as those in my same genre. Some of them had awards and multiple books available while I only had two for sale. I did have bookmarks that matched the books as well as charity wristbands but I feared my movie status would shine in such a competitive environment making me look like a fool. It didn't take long to figure out that I was there to sell but even more to network. I met illustrators, artists, award recipients and companies that give the awards. I spoke with magazines as well as a television crew out interviewing authors. I discussed conferences and was invited to another festival to showcase my work. The sales were nice but most important lesson to date learned, always look for the opportunity to network and make new connections!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Research For Storylines

Last Saturday I attended the Vegas Valley Book Festival. I set up my booth in the Young Adult section next to a woman that had written a paranormal book that had either won or been a finalist for three different awards. One of the biggest things she focused on when speaking about her book was the amount of research she had done into the world of the paranormal. She was ver proud of having written a book that blended fantasy with reality and focusing on fantasy aspects other than witches, vampires and zombies.

I listened to her discussing her book and kept coming back to the research part. When I wrote Never Give Up I called on my own knowledge to get the details right. As a former dancer and someone that has loved the city of Chicago for decades I knew both parts extremely well. I was able to simply visualize places I had been and share my own memories of rehearsals, performances, even the devastation of hearing about an injury that could take it all away. They were just parts of my past.

Rescue Me again required only minimal research and for that series it was more that I needed to find the charities that I would be contributing to. With all of the stories and poems being submitted there was no need to look further into them. It was just a matter of formatting and creating the cover art. I am happy to be creating the series though once the current four are released I will be taking a break from them.

Survivor was another book that I did very little in the way of research for. Because it is based on my personal story of fighting back against domestic violence  I struggled because of the emotions involved but I knew the story inside and out before a single word was ever written.  This got me thinking about working on a book that would require more in depth knowledge about a subject. I would like to have stories to my credit that can demonstrate that type of dedication and research ability as well as the creative imagination that comes along with writing fiction.

My nano novel from last year Welcome to Syn will have a small amount for the sake of verbiage but little else. I do have two different stories that are going to be set in the northern ghost town of Pioche Nevada and because the are historic there will be a number of items I need to learn about for those. I want the language to flow correctly but also the setting to be true to the times. One is a love story and I need to make sure because the characters are from different classes I have to make sure I represent that as accurately as possible as well. The last one I need to focus on is Annora. That one I believe will be difficult because it is about human trafficking which is a subject I don't even want to think about. The character is very vocal and her story is one I believe should be told so I will write it but it is a dark topic I am not looking forward to learning about.

Research makes our stories more realistic and following the patterns and information we gain can help bring our readers into the story. It is just a matter of making sure we do enough without going overboard and loading the book down with unnecessary facts.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Dealing With Rejection

I have discussed dealing with the rejection letters before. After you send out your query letter you face one of the most frustrating parts of the submission process, the waiting. I read an interview with Stephen King once that said he would submit a short story or novel and then fill his wait time by working on another project immediately.

The most difficult part for me when I first went through the submission process was the frustration of being rejected over and over. I would convince myself of the quality and desirability of my manuscript but then not only would I be told it wasn't going to be accepted, I was turned down in a mass produced form letter with no personalization whatsoever. Knowing that those I submitted to most likely had decided without even taking the time to read the story I had worked so hard to create.

When it comes to traditional publishing it is a necessary evil that must be dealt with no matter how difficult it can be. I got very discouraged at first when I was starting to receive a steady flow of the rejection letters but it helped me to know Gone With The Wind was rejected 38 times before it was published. William Faulkner was told his story was unpublishable and Gertrude Stein submitted poetry for 22 years before she was published.

The biggest piece of advice I think we can all agree on is that as painful as it can be to get rejected, it is worth it to remain determined and keep pushing through. For the letters that are more personal, see if there is anything you can learn from them. Did the agent or editor make any suggestions? Could you send a query letter or first chapter to a friend or trusted beta reader to make sure that you haven't missed anything? We have already talked about making sure you edit your work before submitting but by enlisting the help of different people you may get different pieces of advice or have things stand out to one person that someone else may not have noticed.

Stephen King's decision to keep his mind occupied by working constantly is something I have found inspirational. I have two currently finished novels that are going through editing and will have two more completed by the end of the year so once I have the current ones ready and begin submitting I can get the next two through editing and then I have outlines and research ready to go for another half dozen projects. We all get rejected it is just a matter of being persistent enough to push past for that elusive acceptance that makes it all worth it.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Book Promo - Fighting Chance

As we continue through October which is awareness month for a number of causes the one closest to my heart is Domestic Violence Awareness. I recently hosted a fundraising event as half of a two part launch event for four books. I have already showcased Survivor, the book I wrote for the event as well as my good friend Kate Marie Robbins' book Behind Closed Doors. This week I would like to focus on the anthology we released along with other contributing authors called Fighting Chance. There is a highlights version of Survivor as well as an excerpt from Behind Closed Doors in it along with a number of other short stories. I am proud to have been a part of launching and promoting all of these books.

On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. this equates to more than 10 million women and men per year. 

Domestic violence isn’t just about being physically abused. It’s also about the emotional and psychological side, too. Come on a journey with others who have experienced domestic violence and are willing to share their stories, to show everyone else out there that they have a chance. 

Fighting Chance is a book of stories and poetry for those who have dealt with domestic violence and are sharing how they stood up to it and have moved on with their life. It wasn’t easy for most of us. And some of us still may struggle with it, but we want to reach out to others who may be going through something similar and let them know you don’t have to put up with it. Find your voice and fight back

Monday, October 12, 2015

Character Profile - Charlie Greene

In my upcoming romance Chocolate Covered Cherries a lot of attention is paid to Jessica Maynard the main character and chocolatier that opens the dessert store but it wouldn't be a romance without someone to fall in love with her however. There are number of issues that stand in their way from miscommunications to her secrets in her past. Jessica is a very private person.

Charlie has lived in his small town his entire life. His father worked for the post office and he becomes a postman as well. He loses his parents in his early twenties and all he wants is to find someone to spend his life with that completes his family. He meets Jessica one day as he delivers some mail to her apartment. She is running out and he happens to glance at the letters and junk mail she is receiving. There is one from Paris and as she is leaving he notices all of the boxes by the door. He is smitten immediately but brokenhearted because he knows from the moving boxes and letters from overseas that she is leaving.

Later though he discovers that she actually just moved in. She is opening a dessert store and he starts stopping by and asking about it during his route. He sends people by as referrals but one day as he is making his regular deliveries he sees one of the women referred to Jessica by himself and another woman he notices that while she remains professional there is a definite edge to her demeanor.

He follows her afterward and tries it to comfort her but they find themselves now deeply immersed in her secrets as well as the constant miscommunications between them. She is extremely insecure and he cannot help but wonder if she will ever feel comfortable enough to trust in him and be a part of a couple again. She does eventually begin to trust in them at least somewhat but she still has one big secret and he can feel her hiding something.

Will she ever be able to admit to everything or will he take his heart and run before it can be broken beyond repair? Find out in Chocolate Covered Cherries.

Street Teams

Street teams are a growing trend in the social media world. When I first got into the publishing world last year and was learning about author pages, Twitter and the rest of what makes up the promotions side of writing. As I was meeting people in the writing groups and asking questions of my publishers I noticed a number of them people I worked with had their own street teams.

For anyone that doesn't know, a street team is the new version of the well known fan club. People band together as fans of either a specific book or the author in general. Then as the author posts updates, events and links to their work the street team will help to share everything allowing the author to gain a much further reach than they would be able to on their own. The members of the street team attend online events and basically become social media assistants for the author as they work to grow their name and exposure to their books.

I am a member of a few street teams for friends and authors that I truly respect. I receive their updates  and do my best to not only share what they post but also to engage in discussions with them from time to time in order to learn from those much better associated with the business and how to promote. It has been an eye opening experience to say the least.

I personally do not have a street team of my own at this point. I have instead focused in increasing not only the visibility of my current works but also the number of published books I can claim as my own. I have been a part of several anthologies that were either published by or in conjunction with people that have these street teams and so I follow them closely in order to make sure I am a part of all promotional activities. When appropriate I also mention my other work as an author so if someone likes a story I have in an anthology they know I have written other books as well.

I joined a version of a street team for people learning twitter. Instead of being a fan club though we are more of a support group. We favorite and retweet each other's tweets and share new ways to use Twitter so everyone is familiar. It is amazing how much you can learn by simply following a few groups and joining in on a conversation or two once in awhile.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Book Promotion - Rescue Me

Early last year I was reading through my copy of Rock & Roll Saved My Soul and working a few short stories for contributions of my own when I was struck by the thought that I could do something similar to help animals. My heart and soul have always belonged to pets, especially ones that need homes so I started researching groups I could contribute to. 

I was already working on a novel called Sharing Strength which is dedicated to raising awareness for people suffering from PTSD. I found a group in Chicago that takes rescue dogs and trains them to be service dogs for veterans with PTSD and TBI. My dear friend Kate the founder of Rock & Roll Saved My Soul used the series to develop a charity publisher and helped me collect and format the contributed stories putting them together and we released the book just under a year ago.

I wanted to share the synopsis with my readers here as well as the cover. Here is the synopsis:

Unwanted. Abused. Abandoned. Animals so often end up in terrible situations with no way to tell us what they have endured having only their eyes and moans to plead to be saved.

But there are thousands across the country forming the Rescue community that hear the calls and become their voice. They take in the weak and the wounded offering a chance to experience a life the animals could never imagine.

Rescue Me is a collection of stories and poems dedicated to the animals and their saviors. It will take you on a journey of love, hope and redemption.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Genre Research

I had an entire series about submitting to agents and publishers a few months ago but I wanted to take a more in-depth look at some of the parts that get overlooked especially by those just starting out on their publishing journey. There are so many aspects that need to be considered and when we first begin down the path there are many times we as writers can get overwhelmed by either the amount of preparation that needs to be done or worse we are blinded by the stars in our eyes that hide it all and convince us we have all the knowledge we need already.

When I began researching how to approach an agent or publisher one of the things that stood out was how many times it was emphasized that the writers is not only the creator of the work but also must put on the persona of master salesman. You have to be able to distill down your story to a quick attention grabber with a few tantalizing details to secure the interest of your audience. That part most of us know and as writers, while it can be difficult to take a fifty thousand plus word novel and pare it down to the bones while keeping it captivating, that is nothing compared to the next step.

Once you have them on the line you have to be able to keep them there by selling yourself and your abilities as a writer. You have to present your range as an author while also demonstrating your reach as a marketer. The one way I had not thought about but it madness once I read about it was knowing and understanding where your book would fit into current marketplace. It is important to be able to tell the agent or publisher exactly where your book could be sold and why it would stand out from the direct competition. This means of course knowing why and what your direct competition is.

When I first began writing there were different categories than there are now. In fact when I began social media and online retailers had yet to come out. My debut novel would have been listed as a young adult drama. While young adult and drama are still a categories that can be found in brick and mortar stores I have also come to realize there is now a category called realistic fiction. In response to the growing sensation of fantasy novels those like me that write books based in reality have a new description. That is never something I would have called my novel yet it is an accurate category so I would now include it when sending the manuscript off to agents.

Knowing who you are in the literary world is one of the most important aspects and being able to clearly convey the story and message of your book is vital to getting accepted by an agency or publisher. It is something I am still learning myself but I am glad I know now that it is am item that never should be skipped when preparing to submit.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Character Profile - Chelsea Perella

One of the characters vying for attention for Nanowrimo in just a few short weeks is the main character of my new thriller. I had been talking with a few friends about the fact that my current books, excluding Survivor, are much lighter and have happier endings. It was never intentional to create stories with positive endings I simply followed the directions I was given by my characters. Still, the conversation got me wondering, do I have what it takes to write something darker?

I meditated on the subject for awhile and as I considered trying to create either a drama with a darker ending or a thriller of some kind. I always have enjoyed reading more emotional or dramatic stories so I imagined I would be able to create one. I took on the first book in my Syn series last year which definitely has a more sinister side to it. I also have my novella Survivor which is one of the most emotional stories I have ever told. But this year if I do not write the second book in the Syn series than I will be connecting with Chelsea to write my first thriller.

Chelsea Perella is a best selling author living in New England. She has an ex husband and a daughter that she rarely has any contact with. Her ex could not handle her work or the time she dedicated to it so he left her when their daughter was very young. He did his best to convince the girl that her mother chose work over her even though Chelsea loved her daughter entirely. She tried for years to keep in touch but her ex would intercept their communications until both gave up.

Chelsea threw herself into her work and following a tour she does a series of interviews where she tells one of the reporters that she simply does what the voices in her head tell her to do. She gets home and goes through her files from the recent book tour before organizing information for a new book. She is well known for romance and drama stories but when she goes to bed the first night home her dreams are haunted by a man that refuses to go away. There is something intriguing about him so she decides to put him in as a mysterious hero for her book.

As she gets to know more about him though she discovers he is anything but a hero. He is dark. He is not only mysterious but he is out for blood. Chelsea knows she has to write him out of her story in order to rescue the other characters as well as the story as a whole. She tries to get rid of him because deep down he truly scares her. Yet whenever she tries to remove him she gets terrible migraines or sick in some way. Chelsea goes to doctors to attempt to understand what is happening to her. They find concerns and decide on a course of treatment.

As Chelsea undergoes the doctor's orders though she notices her character continues to haunt her dreams and she begins to wonder just how far he really can reach.

Sunday, October 4, 2015


Yesterday when I was working on my takeover time slots for the online portion of the book release event I am a part of I was discussing nanowrimo the annual writing challenge that I take part in. I was asked if I ever found it difficult to write because of distractions or if I have a way of blocking them out. It took a lot of thinking to properly address this question.

Like anyone in the creative arts whether it is writing, painting, sculpture, photography or any other form or creation it is easy to get distracted. Artists as a personality type tend to be easily distractible people but we all have our own ways of dealing with them. I can be easily distracted, it may not be A.D.D. but very similar. I find myself avoiding writing in so many ways, from people watching to social media and games on my phone. I have tried many times to sit at home in my office to write, occasionally being productive. More often than not when I am in my office I find the lack of distractions to be a distraction. 

In order to avoid the silence and solitude of my office I go to a nearby coffeeshop to write. Being surrounded by things that should draw my attention but at the same time have an everyday monotony to them can actually help me focus. But then I have to contend with the music chosen by the store and the conversation going on around me so I bring my wonderful headphones in order to plug into my music and check out of the rest of the world for awhile. Music can be a great accompaniment to writing though if it doesn't tie into the story it can again also pull attention.

When I took on nano the first time I was hoping and became gratefully aware that the pressure it put me under triggered my creativity. I felt that surge of accomplishment every time I updated my word count that I began to crave. I have found ways to get that same rush as I now work outside the realm of November and the nano world. For me I have found the perfect balance of helpful distractions and the ones that get in the way. I think it is just a matter trial and error to find what works best for each individual. I know that is not advice or the answer anyone would want to hear but since we are all so different it is important to remember that what works for me may in fact hurt your progress. If anyone finds something that helps them though I would love to share the tip in upcoming posts in order to give options to those still searching.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Book Promotion - Behind Closed Doors

This weekend is the online launch event for four books dedicated to raising money and awareness for victims and survivors of domestic violence. I do have a book involved in the event and I will be profiling it in the coming weeks but closer to the live half of the launch event. Today I wanted to showcase Behind Closed Doors by my strong, brave and inspiring friend and co-organizer Kate Marie Robbins. Here is the synopsis for her book.

Life in a small town is always the same. 

Everyone knows everyone else's business. This is the world that Ivy Martin grew up in. Her life was far from perfect. Bullied mercilessly in high school. All she wanted was to leave the town and all the cruel kids behind and start a new life. 

But when she goes to the annual graduation party things take a turn for the worse. One of her only male friends, Landon takes advantage of her, leaving her feeling dirty and used. 

College wasn't any different. The kids are just as cruel. Then she meets a man and hopes that her luck had finally changed, but Daven isn't who Ivy thought he was. And before she knows what is happening she's trapped in an abusive relationship with almost no way to escape. Isolated from her friends and family, she has nowhere to turn. 

This is one woman's story of the devastating heart break that domestic abuse can bring.

Please check it out and help support the cause of Domestic Abuse Awareness. Together we can stop this tragedy and make the world a better, safer place.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Dedicated Pages

In keeping with the theme form last week about social media marketing I thought I would focus on another aspect I learned about nearly two years ago now, dedicated pages for businesses and events. Of course I knew they existed but I had no idea what it took to create or maintain one. It wasn't until my publisher suggested that I go ahead and make an author page that I even became aware that it was something other then a trend for celebrities and businesses. It took nearly no time at all to create one but the upkeep has proven to be a far greater learning experience than expected.

Once I had established my author page and attempted to get into the habit of posting not only to my personal but now also my professional page I used it to promote things that were strictly related to my writing. It is where the links to my book could be found as well as updates on where live events were, online events, though they are few and far between for me to host as well as what projects I was currently working on.

It is also the page I use to promote my blog posts as I share them around the social media world. it was just a  few short months into the publishing endeavor when I chose to begin my journey with charity books. I then immediately made a page for the charitable series Rescue Me in order to solicit stories and keep contributors and benefiting organizations updated on progress. it is extremely slow going right at the moment and one of the pages I have fought with more often than not but I am moving forward slowly.

It can be tempting to make a page for each of your projects with character profiles, excerpts and quotes along with cover reveals and release events but it can become very overwhelming it should be done tastefully. for a website having tabs with links to each individual book is fine but for Facebook or Twitter it should be kept to a minimum. Make sure to update your followers but do not overload them and try to stay on topic. That was something I was having issues with until I developed this schedule so I can keep on top of what I do each day. Long story short it is important to find a balance when it comes to the dedicated updates and general information.

Defeating Writer's Block

Getting ready for Nanowrimo coming up in just under a month I got to thinking about the first time I decided to try and complete the intense writing challenge. It was something I had toyed with for several years claiming I would get around to it next time knowing full well I didn't really mean it. It wasn't that I didn't want to but I was afraid that I would fail because I wouldn't actually have a story to tell. I claimed writers block for nearly a decade insisting that I would get around to writing the story as soon and the block was gone but it was me putting up my own block.

It was significantly later, eight years to be exact, after I began the story that I finally decided to push past my so called block and finish the story once and for all. I maintained my concern that I wouldn't be able to come up with enough of a story but I was determined to get to the word goal. I am fretted for years over the storyline. My father had given me special software to help build it and I just knew somehow with all my tools I would be able to finish. Then I sat down at my computer desk, opened my files and stared at a blank screen for three days.

Finally to get out of my own head I went to the gym to swim for awhile and it was there as I glided through the cool water that a small voice started speaking in my head. It wasn't Kaylie, the main character but instead my own inner writer telling me that it was ok to make mistakes. It was fine to tell my internal editor to take a month off. I would be much more successful if I stopped worrying and just let the words flow naturally. That voice told me to put away all of my fancy tools, forget about my research and shut down the time lines and storyboards. I would never find my characters where I thought they should be. They would find me when I was ready.

That evening when I got home I put on some music I used to dance to when I did ballet. I danced around my room and let the emotion of the rhythm wash over me. There, hidden among the chords I found her. I sat down at my computer and I began to write. I didn't look at word counts or concern myself with typos or grammar. I wrote. It was pure and it abolished my belief in the "writer's block". I have been free of it ever since. And so it is my advice that if you are struggling all you need to do is step away. Give your story some space and focus on finding you again so that when they are ready your characters are able to reach the real you.