Catching Up, Yet Again

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know it’s been awhile and I’m hoping that doesn’t happen again, but life gets in the way. We authors get so caught up with things like work, relationships, WRITING. Yes, even that has kept me from updating this site.

To catch up on a few things:

– Hearts on Fire Editing is temporarily closed. I won’t be doing until I feel like I can fit it into my schedule and be able to get it back to the author in a timely manner. I’ve already had a few people ask me to continue going, but I can’t at the risk of it not being done soon enough.

– The Dead Speak is FINALLY finished and is available for preorder! Are you excited for this book? I know I am excited to see Ophelia take her first steps in the real world and see how far she goes.

– The Sinned Drown is under way already! Kind of, I mean, I’m only on chapter one, but the prologue is done too, so that’s a start, right?

– Authors Against Bullying is coming along, slowly, but still coming along. It does take time to put these things together and we’ve had to move the release date a few times, but it’s set for the 6th! I’ll have a collection of short stories coming out with Rock & Roll Saved My Soul shortly after AAB V2 and I have yet to choose a charity for them as it’s a difficult decision for me. I will announce it as soon as I know more about it though!

– I feel like there was something else that I was going to put here, but now I can’t remember. Hmm… Okay then.

ORDER YOUR ECOPY OF THE DEAD SPEAK NOW AND HAVE IT DELIVERED TO YOUR KINDLE ON THE 13TH!

Look what is already up for preorder? Get your ecopy now and have it delivered on release day!

US: http://amzn.to/1f7MwOG
UK: http://amzn.to/1Fe04wP
Canada: http://amzn.to/1Bcqhkc
Australia: http://bit.ly/1Sc9lyS

Add it to your Goodreads account NOW! – http://bit.ly/1L4exAD

And in case you missed it, here’s the cover for The Dead Speak!

T D Speak FRONT

T D Speak copy

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Looking for a Cover Designer

I had made a post previously about cover designers and I had listed some of my personal favorites, but there are more to that list. I’m not adding them in this post, but I was asked what do I look for when looking for a cover designer.

Now, when I think about my book covers, I immediately go to the three people that have been helping me with my covers since I started, but it’s more than that. Lately, I’ve been working on photoshop, learning how to make my own covers, but besides that – there are some traits that I look for when I think about cover designers.

Do they design in the genre my book is in: You don’t want someone who only does romance books to design something that is meant for a horror novel. I’m not saying that it would be bad, but they’re completely different genres and it would be hard to tell what you were getting yourself in to until it is too late.

Do they have samples: Samples are a good thing. It gives you the chance to see what they can do before you buy it. For example, I wouldn’t go on Fiverr and look for a cover designer there. When it comes to covers, it’s something that you want to be up close and personal with the designer, working together to create your image.

Price Range and Messages: You probably don’t want someone who takes about a month to get back to you, but on the other hand, you don’t want something overly expensive (but hey, if it’s something that you love, how can you put a price on that?). I know personally that I want something that is decently priced for the amount of work put into it.

Now there are many other things to consider and once I get more sleep, I am sure that I will write them down and put them into another blog post, but for now, consider the above. Consider whether they will work with you for you to both reach a common ground when it comes to your book cover!

Write Often or Pace Yourself?

This is a question that is asked constantly by many people and  the answer lies within yourself, I believe. There are times that the characters speak to me and I cannot get them to shut up and when this happens, I tend to write often, but other than that, I pace myself. I make myself a daily goal, though lately I have been taking time away from that to deal with some issues in my life, but I feel like I will be getting back to that daily goal soon. My personal daily goal has been set at 1,000 words per day, but that’s something for me – a personal accomplishment for myself.

This is a question that I cannot answer for you. I do think that it’s a good idea to set a personal goal and try to reach that goal each day, but I know there are some people who cannot do that no matter how hard they try. As far as this question, only you will know the answer for yourself.

Mind of Their Own

The one thing we all hate is when we’re writing and we think that we’re in control, but we’re not. The characters speak and they do their own thing – turning your story upside down and changing your plot.

My best advice when this happens is to let them – Listen to your characters and don’t fight them. Them changing your story might be for the better and when you’re not fighting with your characters, the words flow better. Changing your story to what your characters want could very well be just what your story needs. Remember, you created these characters – they’re your babies and like any baby, they do grow up and they decide that they want to make decisions for themselves.

BUT if you don’t want to listen to them,  not all hope is lost. You can still keep to your original plan and to do so, I would take a step back from your story for a day or two and start planning chapter by chapter for your book. Plan everything, the conversations, details, scenes, all to make sure that things stay the way you want. This is something that I don’t advise as your characters will push back (trust me, it’s happened to me) and it will make writing 10 times harder than it already is.

Sandy Ashley

My new promotional post for today is for author Sandy Ashley ! She’s an amazing author, so be sure to check out her page and give her words of encouragement as she writes her first novel! Also, she does bracelets over at Sandy’s Colorful Bracelets , so be sure to check that out too!

Getting Back to Writing

So, there have been quite a few things that have pulled me away from writing and blogging more often, but I’m here to tell you that I’m going to try my best to get back to making on blog post a day AND writing a little a day (or at least editing). It’s good for me to get back into that daily routine and it’s good for you guys to read my blog posts and get advice on things.

If you know that you’re not going to be able to write for a while, please at least think about what you want to write about the next time you’re on a computer. It will help you gather your thoughts before you sit down and may even help your fords flow better! I know that it helps me to think about it first. Because of this, I have been able to put 1,000 words onto my work in progress and it’s only 10:15 AM.

I love writing and I love blogging. I love giving new and old authors alike advice on things that they request and I’m thankful for them all. I’m thankful for each and every like they give me and I’m thankful that I can help anyone. That’s my only goal here – to help and inspire – and as long as I do that, I feel like my mission is accomplished. I will be more than happy to get back to it!

Please expect more posts on authors, books, and messages from some of my favorite authors and people who support me. All over promotions can be requested in the Promotion Request tab at the top menu!

Thank you!

Will I Ever Be Ready

In one of my groups, someone asked me a simple question that had me thinking back to when I published my first book. Samantha asked me,

Did you ever have a hard time feeling like your book was ready to publish? I’ve revised SOOOO many times. I don’t dare send it to the editor yet. I’m waiting on a couple of beta readers.

~ Samantha, Writing Rocks (Facebook Group)

Well, I gave her a reply that was true to myself and something that I feel the need to share with more people as I believe this question is asked a lot.

Yes. I always had a hard time hitting that publish button, putting my new book out there for the option of millions of people able to buy it and read it and judge and criticize not only the book, but me too. It’s a tough thing to do because that book is like a baby to you (yes, I felt that way too and I feel that way about all of my books). You poured your heart and soul into the book and there will be people who tear it apart.

My advice is to remember that you can’t please everyone. There will be people who absolutely hate your book and then there will be people who are jealous of your success and try to bring you down. With everything, remember that you’re not writing for them. You’re not editing for them. You’re not publishing for them. You’re doing everything for YOU!

You’re the reason things have gotten this far and I’m sure we all have people to thank for words of encouragement when we feel like we’re not doing things right, but that’s all a part of the process. I did go through this moment of doubt before I put my books up, thinking that they weren’t ready, but don’t let that hold you back! As an author who has been published for three years, I still feel like some of my books aren’t ready, but there are people who love them and think that they’re amazing.

The thing is, as authors, we learn as we go. We grow with each letter that we type, each idea that pops into our head and we have to write them down or the characters scream at us, building the story up in our minds until our fingers eventually glide over the keyboard as we tell their story (and if you think we have any control over our characters, think again)! As time passes and your book is out there, you can always go back and add to it and make it something that grows with you. Make it so that people see your progress.

Just remember that writing and publishing a book is all about YOU – not anyone else.

Formatting (Ebook Only)

Since I use the blog here more as an advice column for writers, I opened post subjects up and one that was strongly requested was how to format for ebook. To me, it’s one of the easiest things to do, but I guess as I’ve formatted all eight of my books for paperback and ebook, I’ve come to learn how to do it in my sleep.

First, I know you would love to keep all your fancy fonts and maybe you have the chapter headings and title and everything in some font that is cursive and pretty or something amazing that you think defines your book, but when it’s converted to an ebook, none of those fonts hold. They’re all in the plainest fonts you can think of.

– Times New Roman

When I’m formatting an ebook, the first thing I do is CTRL+A and put the entire book in Times New Roman and 12 pt font. This is only because everywhere will convert it anyway and it just makes it easier to read and to distinguish.

– Page Breaks

After the fonts are all the same, I go through and put page breaks at the section dividers. The title and author name should be on it’s on page (page break), the copyright page (page break), dedications (page break), table of contents (page break), and then your chapters start. EACH CHAPTER SHOULD START ON A NEW PAGE! Put a page break at the end of them! This is to guarantee that on the ereader, each chapter starts on a new page.

– Font Sizes

After the above is done, I go through and work on font sizes. I increase and maybe bold the title and author name. I put the copyright page at either 10 pt or 11 pt. I put the “Table of Contents” header at a bold and bigger font (size is ultimately a personal choice, but remember the number)! I then go through and put the chapter headings in the same size and possibly bold and that takes care of your font sizes.

– Spacing

Spacing is next and this is mainly something I do so it looks neat and polished. I put a little bit of space (empty lines) between the chapter headings and the first paragraph of that chapter. Again, this is just something that is a personal choice, especially if you’re OCD like me.

– Indents

I went through this, assuming that you already had indents. If you don’t, it’s the perfect time to insert them. Go back up to chapter one and start at the very first paragraph. Click and hold your left mouse button and highlight just the paragraph. of the first chapter, setting their indents at either 0.25 or 0.5 (again, persnal preference). And do this for each chapter.


 

At the end, you can add a list of your other books, an author photo, bio, an excerpt of another book (put that in the same format as above though), and anything else that you want. Because Amazon changes the page size to fit ereaders, your page size doesn’t matter.

Everything above for formatting is ONLY for Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, iTunes, Draft2Digital, and places like that. IT IS NOT FOR SMASHWORDS! That formatting is more complicated. I know how to format for Smashwords, but I don’t use that site personally.

For Paperback formatting, I would recommend Hearts on Fire Editing.

 

 

Authors Against Bullying

I know, I know! I’ve been so bad as I’ve been gone again – FOUR DAYS! But I caught something that made me sick and dizzy and eww!

Well, today, besides sleeping and noming on chicken stew, I pulled together with Kate Marie Robbins and Zara Elise Thelms and pulled together the next TWO Authors Against Bullying anthologies! One will be on bullying, but we are also expanding and partnering with another author to bring awareness to another cause – Human Trafficking.

Attached, I have both promo banners for the anthologies and I am proud of all we have achieved with AAB. Our first volume  went as far as #13 in its category! I’m so thankful for all the hard work and dedication people have put into the anthology and while Volume Two is now with our publisher, I hope to see more people participating and sharing the cause!

AAB

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Expanding Word Count

Now, many people ask this question, wondering how some people can write 90,000 words in a book and such and, well, here is my advice to you.

  1. Show – Don’t Tell: When you’re writing, make sure that you’re showing everything to your readers and not just telling them. Saying “Amelia was angry” isn’t exactly showing your readers what’s going on with your character. While your readers are getting what you mean, there is another way to say it. “Amelia’s face became red and her eyes narrowed at the woman who insulted her. With her fists clenched, she held back her retort.” That alone turns three words into twenty-three.
  2. Describe Details: When your character is in a room, describe the room. Describe the weather when appropriate to show how much time has passed. Maybe it was raining in one scene and in the next, maybe you want to say that the pavement is slick and wet and the sky was still riddled with clouds that are overhead. Maybe the room your character is in makes her feel claustrophobic. DESCRIBE IT! You can get away with describing anything, painting the pictures in your reader’s mind.
  3. Include Dialogue: I guess the best way to explain this would be to show an example, but in between dialogue, you could show what else your character is doing because we don’t just sit there while talking, we fidget around, make subtle movements, use your hands, show facial expressions.

“Come on!” Amelia shouted as she waved towards David. The sky overhead cried as there was a light mist falling from the light gray clouds overhead.

“I can’t keep up!” Behind her, Daniel was struggling to keep up with her, running out of breath and slowing down. “Slow down.”

When Amelia paused, she shook her head and turned around, nearly out of breath herself. She bent her knees and placed her hands on them, hoping to be able to fully breathe by the time her boyfriend caught up. Once he got there, he reached out his hand to her.

“Are you ready?” he questioned as he raised his eyebrows, the smile spread over his lips gently.

 


All of this can come into play when expanding your word count and I’m sure there are other ways, but these are the ones that I try to use frequently. Hopefully they help and I will continue to make new posts if I find other ways!

 

Breaking You Mold

When I first started writing, my first book that I released was a Fantasy book and at that moment, I thought that would be all I wrote. I love reading Young Adult books and I love the way that the Fantasy genre pulls me away from real life, making anything possible – literally anything. The thought of magic, elves, dragons, and so much more,gave me relief from the troubles that I had been facing. I read for an escape and I write for the same reason.

But as I grew as a writer, I felt like I would be letting people down if I didn’t take risks, experiment, and pull myself out of my comfort zone. Now, not everyone likes an author who writes more than one genre, but why should you limit yourself? I’m not good at writing things that are horror, but does that mean that I will give up trying?

NO!

Why would I want to limit myself? In my opinion, everyone should experiment and try to push past their comfort zone. On the other hand, why be limited to just one genre?

Personally, after I published my first book, the ones that soon followed were also all fantasy book, which was why I considered it the only thing that I would write. But that turned out not to be true. After a few anti-bullying short stories that I put out there, I worked more into my ideas and Tempting Fate was thought of – a hot and steamy romance that I wrote and will be publishing on March 27th under the name Brianna Vanderland (oh, yeah, I’m actually using my birth name)! But after that, my thoughts also progressed and I’ve been working on Goddess Becoming, a more mature Fantasy book that has things twisted all around with some science fiction thrown in (or is it science fiction with some fantasy tossed in… hmm…). Anyway, the thing is that I have LOVED stepping out of the zone that I originally set myself in. I have even begun planning a paranormal book that has to do with someone being haunted!

The thing is, I think stretching myself and testing the waters on all of these new books and genres have also helped me improve my writing. It has taken me to places I couldn’t even dream of and many people say that they all love everything that I have put out and then there are some who don’t like any of it (which is so not my problem, just saying). I guess the thing is that I’m still looking for the genre that I fit in and all of my writing is only for me. I don’t write for other people – I write for me. If other people just happen to like it then I am thankful and I am glad that I have those people in my life who support me with it.

I’m guessing that my main thing here is to write for yourself and if you want to try something new, go for it! Don’t confine yourself and make yourself think that you have to write in one genre or you have to fit in somewhere. It’s okay to stick out and to be whomever you want to be!

Jeanne Owens

Jeanne Owens is a Fantasy and YA author, though she has dabbled in other genres.  She has been writing since high school, but only started thinking about publishing in the last few years. She has one self-published book at the moment, the light fantasy novel Kismet and Tell. She has a collection of short stories that is a “prequel” to it that she is in the process of publishing. Along with that, she has a WIP fantasy novel she hopes to have done soon and has plans for some other books. She is also an animal lover, an avid reader, and a proud geek.

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Callie C. Colbert

Born and raised in Kansas, Callie C. Colbert developed an obsessive love for writing as a child. That obsession has continued throughout her life, leading her to write poetry, song lyrics, short stories, books, and a novel.

Callie is a published poet and has also sold the rights to some of her song lyrics. She has earned awards for other writing ventures, and has also written for Yahoo Voices. Her song lyrics and poetry are available for purchase.

During an interview, Callie was asked how and why she picked the ‘Christian-paranormal’ genre, as it appears to be an oxymoron. She responded, “I didn’t pick the genre. It picked me.”

She currently has three books available on Amazon: ‘Graze the Night’ (Psychological/paranormal thriller), ‘The Tibuens: Lexie’s Journey, Book I’ (Christian-paranormal), and ‘Threads of Reality: Lexie’s Journey, Book II’ (Christian-paranormal/horror).
All three books will be available in paperback at a later date.

When she isn’t working in home health or writing, Callie enjoys spending time with her family and friends. Some of her hobbies include reading, cooking, crafting, and going for long rides in the country. Her favorite movie genres are horror, the paranormal, and psychological thrillers. She also likes to watch anything in the Christian and spiritual realm.

Callie lives by the philosophy “God first, family and friends second, and writing third. Everything else will fall into place.” She adds, “writing is not only a gift, it’s a privilege. If I can touch even one person with my words, then I have done what I set out to do.”

 

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