Books, cats and fine wine are the best things in life.


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

@MichelleArgyle on Becoming A Published Author & What You Need to Know #AmWriting #NALit

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Becoming a Published Author
I remember back in the 90’s when I first had the dream of becoming a published author, when email didn’t really exist in publishing. You still sent in your queries to agents on printed paper with an SASE (self addressed stamped envelope), and you waited for the answers at the mailbox. It was also the golden age of believing published authors all lived in posh New York apartments or big, woodsy houses by placid mountain lakes, clacking away on their electric typewriters, surrounded by piles of fan mail and cash. Things were never like that for most authors, and I have a feeling they never really were.
Here’s a few more things I wish I’d known back when I was dreaming up that big dream of published authorhood.
  1. Most authors do more than just write to earn money. Really, they do. I think even if I made enough money off my writing to make a living, I’d still want to do other things to earn some cash. Why? Experience. One day I’m going to get a job as a waitress just because I want to know what that kind of job is like.
  1. Most published authors I know spend more time marketing, researching, brainstorming, planning, and attending writerly events than actually sitting their butt down in a chair to write. The actual writing part of writing takes less time than you might think. But all of those other things usually have to happen so that the actual writing can take place. It seems upside down, but I see it all the time.
  1. Becoming a published author doesn’t have to be hard. Nearly anyone can publish his or her own work and claim that published author status. But producing actual quality work? Consistently? That’s hard.
  1. The first book is just the beginning. I’ve seen many authors make the mistake of thinking that once they’ve got their foot in the door with one published book that the rest of their career is made. Guess again. It’s all uphill, baby.
  1. The busier you are, the more you’re going to get done. It’s true. I swear it’s the busiest authors I know who produce the most work. I don’t know how or why, but it seems that authors can piddle away a lot of time if they’ve got it, but if you’ve got deadlines and a tight schedule, there’s definitely more of a push to get things done and just get those words written.

  1. Writing it not a solitary event. I think anyone who claims to write in a vacuum is crazy, but maybe that’s just me. My writing is constantly shifted and shaped by other people coming and going in my life, by other people whom I choose to share my work, by fans who tell me what they love and dislike, by life in general. Living and interacting produces the best writing.

  1. Not every book is going to be “better” than the last. Authors, at least the good ones in my opinion, keep experimenting. Sometimes that means a new book that comes out might not match the taste or expectations of the author’s fans. It makes me sad when people “lose faith” in an author because of this, but to me it shows that the author is branching out, learning, and growing, and hopefully fans will try to expand their own horizons because of it.

  1. Being published does not mean you’re in a competition. I think it’s easy for published authors to fall into this trap. Who is making more sales? Getting the bigger deals? More marketing? This is a road that leads nowhere but misery. As a friend of mine always says – keep your eyes on your own paper.

  1. You will never, ever please 100% of readers. Ever. It’s impossible. It’s so important to remember that a reader’s experience is literally 90% of what they are bringing to the table. An author has no control over that. All the author can do is write the story from his or her own heart and find the courage to put it out there. Then step away.
10.     Publishing success will never make you permanently happy. What makes you happy is when you finish the book and find pride in the journey. Any publishing success an author finds is temporary. Pride and joy in the actual writing process? That lasts.

“Beautiful prose, interesting characters, and sizzling romance make this book simply unforgettable. I adored it.” – Kasie West, author of The Distance Between Us
“Avery may have a bad memory, but I will never forget this book.” – Natalie Whipple, author of House of Ivy & Sorrow
“Achingly sweet and beautiful, If I Forget You stole my romantic reader heart.” – Cassie Mae, bestselling author of Switched
Avery Hollister is a little more than absentminded. She has trouble remembering faces, names, and dates without her piles of lists and Post-it notes. When she heads off to college it takes her a week to realize the guy she’s crushing on is, in fact, three different guys. With a faulty memory and three men who have no idea she’s mixed them up, Avery doesn’t know how to fix the mess she’s made. But she knows she has to try, even if it means losing a love not even she could forget.
**If I Forget You is considered clean New Adult/Young Adult fiction appropriate for adults and young adults. It contains adult themes and issues.**
Buy Now @ Amazon & Smashwords
Genre – Contemporary New Adult Romance
Rating – PG-13
More details about the author
Connect with Michelle D. Argyle on Facebook & Twitter

Friday, July 25, 2014

10 Tips for Becoming a Better Writer by D. Aliesh #SciFi #AmWriting #AmReading

7:30 AM Posted by Mickalia Peck , , No comments

10 Tips for Becoming a Better Writer
  1. Write Daily- Even when you don’t think you have much to say, just free-style write and see what comes out.
  2. Always have something original ( whether a quote or phrase you came up with) written on your mirror for inspiration.
  3. Keep a notepad by your bed- This is the oldest lesson in the book, but it holds true. Some dreams should be captured in their purest form.
  4. Download Microsoft or other writing programs on your phone- I can’t tell you how often something will hit me at the grocery store or when I’m out with family.
  5. Make good use of recording devices- There will be ideas I don’t have the wording for, so I’ll record it really quick and tweak it later. I use this with songs I write also.
  6. Don’t be afraid to put your work on display- I was terrified of people reading my poems; thinking they would know who they were for and judge me. Or, I thought they were too private. Emotions don’t always have to have the same face to be true, so whoever reading it may not know who you are talking about, but if it’s good, you’ll be glad you let them read it.
  7. Read your own stuff- I go back and read my work from years ago or a couple of weeks and I surprise myself. If you don’t feel that peace and connection with it, save it for another tweaking session.
  8. Use writing as therapy- I have a mouth on me, but I always wish I would have said something else; another zinger. Writing is your mouthpiece that helps you keep your composure in society. Use it daily!!!
  9. Don’t compare your writing to other people- You aren’t trying to be the next (insert dream writer here). No, you want to be the only (insert your full name with authority here). Always.
  10. Write about things that are important to you- If you aren’t feeling it, chances are, your readers won’t either.


The modern day heroes assembled in this journey get to go to places most people will never see. With the gifts of the spirit and some other talents added to the bunch, they restore faith, hope in order into the world, while shaking it up in themselves. If you are a sci-fi extraordinaire looking for a good read, or if you need an escape from worldly limitations…join the cast of Party of Gifts.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - Sci-Fi
Rating – PG
More details about the author
Connect with D. Aliesh through Facebook

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Pendelton Wallace Shares His Thoughts on a Good Book Cover #AmWriting #WriteTip #Thriller

8:30 AM Posted by Mickalia Peck , , No comments
Why Book Covers are So Important
    All my life, I have heard that you can’t judge a book by its cover. Yet, that is what we do. I’m as guilty as anyone else.
    I go into the bookstore, or the on-line web site, and look at the covers. If the cover grabs my attention, then I read the back jacket or the description. That may lead me to look inside the book and maybe even buy the book.
    Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t base my buying decision on the cover, but the cover is what first attracts my eye and gets me to look at the book.
    I don’t think I am A-typical in this respect. Your cover needs to tell the story in such a way that the reader will want to look further. I am currently reading a book about a young man in Narobi, Kenya. The cover has a picture of a beautiful woman with an automatic pistol on the floor. The story that I’m reading has nothing to do with the cover picture.
    If I had bought the book because I thought it was a good thriller/mystery, I would be terribly disappointed.
    My point is that the cover must represent what the story is about. In The Inside Passage, I used a picture of a cruise ship on the Inside Passage with cross-hairs over it. What does that tell you about the story?
    The story is about a group of al-Qaeda terrorist that are plotting to blow up a cruise ship on the Inside Passage of Canada. I’m hoping that the cover of the book conveys that message and grabs a shopper’s interest.
    The Inside Passage is the first in a series of novels about computer security analyst Ted Higuera’s adventures. I want the covers to tie the books together so that when a reader sees the cover they will instantly know that this is another Ted Higuera thriller.
    To this end, all of his stories will have cross hairs on the cover. The second book in the series, Hacker for Hire, is about corporate greed and industrial espionage at a major computer manufacturer in Seattle. So, for the cover, I took a picture of the Seattle skyline and imposed the cross hairs on it. I really like this cover.
    The third book in the series, The Mexican Connection, is about the Mexican drug wars. For this cover I will probably use a picture of the Zocalo in Mexico City with the cross hairs on it.
    In this way, all of the books have a common “look and feel” to their covers and readers will be able to recognize that they are part of a series.
    Back to what to put on your cover. What is your genre? There seems to be a common theme in covers in each genre. For instance, romance novels. You can tell immediately by looking at the cover that it is a genre novel. Is that Fabio, holding a beautiful woman with one hand while fighting off the pirates with the other?
    Don’t copy others, but look for good ideas. I’m not above stealing good ideas from anybody. Do you have a favorite author in your genre? What do they do about a cover? Take their ideas, tweak them and make them your own.
    And, for goodness sake, make your covers readable. I have seen some covers with such convoluted type fonts that I can’t read the title of the book. Or the title is twisted around the art work and is difficult to decipher. I’m sure it’s all very arty, but I don’t like it. I want to be able to read the title and author name in the thumbnail on
    I had a boss one time that used to say “it’s all about marketing.” We were selling custom computer services to mid-size companies and she was all about the sizzle. She convinced the customer that we could do the job by presenting a bold, professional image.
    You need to do the same thing with your covers. SIZZLE. Be different. Do something that jumps off the shelf. Don’t hide in the stack of books; figure out you own way to grab a customer’s attention.
    Remember, we all judge a book by its cover.

    If Clive Cussler had written Ugly Betty, it would be Hacker for Hire. 

    Hacker for Hire, a suspense novel about corporate greed and industrial espionage, is the second book in a series about Latino computer security analyst Ted Higuera and his best friend, para-legal Chris Hardwick. 

    The goofy, off-beat Ted Higuera, son of Mexican immigrants, grew up in East LA. An unlikely football scholarship brought him to Seattle. 

    Chris, Ted’s college roommate, grew up with a silver spoon in his mouth. His father is the head of one of Seattle’s most prestigious law firms. 

    Ted’s first job out of college leads him into the world of organized crime where he faces a brutal beating. After being rescued by beautiful private investigator Catrina Flaherty, Ted decides to go to work for her. 

    Catrina is hired by a large computer corporation to find a leak in their corporate boardroom when the previous consultant is found floating in Elliot Bay. 

    Ted discovers that Chris’s firm has been retained by their prime suspect. Now he and Chris are working opposite sides of the same case. 

    Ted and Catrina are led deep into Seattle’s Hi-Tech world as they stalk the killer. But the killer is also hunting them. Can Ted find the killer before the killer finds him? 
    Buy Now @ Amazon
    Genre – Mystery, Thriller
    Rating – R
    More details about the author
    Connect with Pendelton Wallace on Facebook

    Wednesday, July 23, 2014

    Following Rules by Sandy James @sandyjamesbooks #Contemporary #Romance

    I have a couple of nicknames at school. Sometimes I’m called the Dress Code Nazi, sometimes the Hall Nazi. In truth, I tend to be both. Why? Because I think rules are important, and I tend to see each and every time a student breaks one.
    I hear every single f-bomb. I see every in appropriate skirt. You’ve got a shirt with a double entendre, I’m the one who’s going to catch it. Our students are not allowed to wear hats or have their hoods up. Whenever I walk down the hall, the boys act like Pavlov’s dogs, jerking off their hats or slamming down their hoods the same way those puppies would drool. They know I’ll catch them.
    Why do we have rules? To prevent chaos. At least that’s what I tell the students. Funny thing is that where writing is concerned, I never—I repeat never—follow the rules.
    Oh, don’t get me wrong. I am very strict about rules concerning grammar, punctuation, and spelling. Ask any of my critique partners or the entrants I’ve judged in contests, they’ll let you know exactly how strict I am. I’m also very deliberate in my word choices, not wanting to leave the interpretation open to semantics. Where I tend to think the rules have the potential to ruin the book is when there are too many rules about the story itself.
    Let me give you an example. Rules of the Game (ironic title, right?) was a book a lot of people told me I would never sell. Why? Because the heroine, Maddie, is a romance writer. The publishing rules supposedly say that no editor wants to buy a book where the protagonist is an author.
    Really? Why the heck not? So I broke that rule. I asked an editor I know from Twitter whether a story about an author was dead before it was even born. She told me absolutely not, and she asked to see it. Then she bought it. I’m very proud to say that Rules of the Game won the HOLT Medallion for best novel with strong romantic elements.
    Another example is the supposed rules that no readers want to buy books with older heroines. Says who? So I broke that rule, too. Several times, as a matter of fact. Women over thirty still fall in love and still need romance in their lives. I’m not about to let some silly “rule” deprive them of books with older heroines, nor am I going deny myself the fun of writing them. Turning Thirty-Twelve has Jackie, whose forty-second birthday celebration opens the story. Grace in Saving Grace is thirty-nine. To heck with that “rule”!
    Despite what my school nicknames imply, I’m actually a rule breaker in the first degree. All I ask is that you never tell my students.
    For the fans of Jennifer Probst, Ruth Cardello and Jill Shalvis, comes a series about love, friendship, and lunch!
    When life gets tough and love is hard to find, four friends take their troubles to lunch. High school teacher Juliana Kelley tells the Ladies Who Lunch that her life needs an overhaul . . . and gets a whole lot more than she wished for.
    Juliana has spent thirteen years in the same teaching job. She’s ready to dive into a new career with both feet . . . when a run-in with the hottest man she’s ever seen knocks her head over heels. But with her failed marriage to a fellow teacher fresh on her mind, Jules can’t afford to lose herself in a relationship-no matter how perfect it may seem.
    Connor Wilson has hit rock bottom when he loses his career as a top-notch Realtor because of a large gambling debt. Now, in a small town he finds a fresh start-and a gorgeous redhead who sparks new life into him. Together they start a successful real estate company, but when pleasure sneaks into the business, they’ll have to decide what they can let go . . . and what they can’t live without.
    Word count: 75,000-85,000
    Buy Now @ Amazon
    Genre - Contemporary Romance
    Rating – PG-13
    More details about the author
    Connect with Sandy James through Facebook & Twitter

    Tuesday, July 22, 2014

    10 Things You Didn’t Know About @MarcADiGiacomo #Thriller #AmReading #Authors

    10:30 AM Posted by Quality Reads UK , , 1 comment
    10 Things You Didn’t Know About Marc A. DiGiacomo

    1)      I am a real New York Police Detective (retired) who worked for a small town.
    2)      In A Small Town was my first published work but it isn’t my first story.
    3)      I am a huge fan of the band Pearl Jam, In A Small Town, is a shortened title of one of their songs.
    4)      I have saved someone’s life.
    5)      I have a dog named Lola, she’s really sweet, sometimes.
    6)      My favorite time of year is the fall.
    7)      My favorite NFL team is the Miami Dolphins.
    8)      Unlike Matt Longo, I can never remember any of my dreams.
    9)      I married my high school sweetheart.
    10)   I can eat an entire watermelon, as long as it’s perfectly sweet.


    The shotgun blast catches Detective Matthew Longo by surprise. His world unravels into a nightmare that seemingly won't end. Murder, rapes, pedophiles, the small town of Hutchville, N.Y. is changing. It is up to him to make a difference.

    While partner Donny Mello is in Italy attending a funeral for a family member who is connected, to say the least, a beautiful F.B.I. agent waits to question him about his family business. Can Matt keep from answering the Agent’s questions? More importantly, can he hide a potentially career-ending secret from his community, his brother, and most especially Agent Cynthia Shyler?

    Buy Now @ Amazon
    Genre - Thriller
    Rating – R
    More details about the author
    Connect with Marc A. DiGiacomo on Facebook & Twitter

    Wednesday, July 16, 2014

    #AmReading @ClarissaClemens on the Effects of Reading Her #Erotic #Poetry into Your Bedroom

    5 Things that May Occur When You Bring My Erotic Poetry into Your Bedroom – (You Have Been Forewarned)
    Your Inhibitions Disappear along with your Clothing
    It has been known to happen! Probably one of the single biggest inhibitors of a satisfying love life is that one or both partners are unable to open up and feel uninhibited about their sexuality. A glass of wine, the glow of candlelight flickering on naked skin, scattered rose-petals on the bed, and silky sheets can set a wonderful tactile scene to help get things going. Adding erotic poetry to the setting allows the mind to come and play. Once the brain is engaged, it’s all systems go – bye-bye inhibitions! With inhibitions out of the way, the imagination can take over and pleasures shared both physically and mentally.
    Add Some Playful to Your Passion
    It is a known fact that laughing is an important component in any relationship. It eases tensions, builds rapport, and creates a playful mood. When we were children playing in our make believe worlds, the fun that we had helped us to build bonds between friends creating best friends forever (our beloved BFF’s).  To be playful with our partners, with whom we are in love, should be an important ingredient in our relationship and give us the opportunity to explore intimacy together. With my sexy poems, a giggle or laugh in response to the lines will create a light and playful mood.
    Some More Stimulation Please
    Okay, I am not going to beat around the bush here – my poetry WILL invite stimulation to the party. I have had so many people (both men and women) remark to me that my words bring the “Hello” to “Hello Kitty” or “it’s impossible NOT to be aroused”.  The lines of my erotic poetry paint vivid scenes of sensuality for lovers to embrace. Once the words float into your mind, the body follows with it’s own interpretive dance of stimulation.
    Try New Things in the Bedroom –
    Going From ‘Vanilla’ to ‘Non-Vanilla’ Activities
    Opening up my erotic poetry books and reading the seductive lines to your lover, allows you to hide conveniently behind my words and yet gives you an opportunity to try some kinky ideas on for size. If the idea behind the poem gets things going, then fantastic; if one or the other of you feels shy about it, move on to the next poem. Many of my poems take place in the “non-vanilla” arena. Things like spankings, toys, light bondage, Domination/submissiveness all playfully make their way into my poetry. Maybe you already enjoy this type of play – either way my poems may allow new sexy activities to enter your bed.
    An Adventure to Take Together – Unlocking Your Fantasies
    Let’s face it, in order to have a fulfilling sexual relationship with your partner, there needs to be communication, mutual trust, and respect. Hand in hand you are reading poems that will take you on a sensual adventure. It will allow you to playfully and impartially evaluate what is being played out through the words. It will be like embarking on a new adventure together. It may open doors to trying something you had not previously considered. Fantasies fuel passion. I personally feel that if more people would live out their fantasies with their partner in life, there would be less cheating because the partner seeking sex outside the union is probably needing to fulfill fantasies that he or she is not comfortable sharing at home.
    Thanks so much for reading this post! I’m thrilled and honored to be participating in this Book Blog Tour for my book, The Poetic Art of Seduction – The Erotic Poetry Collection.
    Seductively yours,
    Clarissa O. Clemens

    A collection of all 3 volumes of Clarissa O. Clemens’ erotic poetry book series, The Poetic Art of Seduction, under 1 cover! 

    An erotic gift of lyrical rhyme to keep on every bedroom nightstand for play. Kinky yet classy erotic poetry painting sexy pictures and scenes with seductive words to read to each other and get the mood soaked in seduction. 

    What critics have said about Clarissa’s poetry: 

    “…A delicious dance with words…” 
    “Impossible not to be aroused…” 
    “…mouth-watering feast of erotic rhyme…” 
    “…her words ebb and flow with a superb sensuousness.” 
    “5 Stars is just not enough for this exquisite work of erotic art” 

    78 Passionate poems of seduction are waiting for you to be devoured with lust and desire. 

    41Beautifully sensuous photographs have been included to heighten your visual experience with Ms. Clemens poetry. 

    A must-have for every couple looking for new ways to add the spark back into their flame.
    Buy Now @ Amazon
    Genre - Erotic Poetry
    Rating – R
    More details about the author
    Connect with Clarissa Clemens through Facebook & Twitter

    Tuesday, July 15, 2014

    Erick Galindo's Thoughts on Writing as a Form of Personal Therapy @ErickGEEE #Literary #Fiction

    7:00 AM Posted by Mickalia Peck , , No comments
    Why Writing is a Form of Personal Therapy
    There are nights when I can’t sleep.
    Netflix is on. Netflix is off. DayQuil. Sleeping pills. Big, unhealthy meals. Light, healthy ones. Gym.  Masturbation. Nothing works. And then I find it. The thought or series of thoughts that are holding me hostage. I unravel them, break them down and put them into the universe.
    Lights out.
    That’s the therapeutic power of writing (and reading) at it’s best for me.
    The English writer Graham Greene put it well:  “Writing is a form of therapy; sometimes I wonder how all those who do not write, compose or paint can manage to escape the madness, melancholia, the panic and fear which is inherent in a human situation.”
    I’m not sure it’s always that serious but sometimes thoughts can be like poison in our heads or like a weight on the shoulders. At least that’s how I feel. And writing, for me, is the best way to get that poison out and to let go of that weight. Don’t get me wrong, if you are in serious need of psychological or emotional relief, seek professional help. But writing does have a way of helping to solve a problem or express a pent up emotion. It’s like exercise in that it helps you relieve the stress. And like breaking plates on the kitchen floor or telling someone to fuck off in that it helps you release.
    And writing has long term effects for your personal growth because you can come back to it. I don’t how many times I’ve been feeling uncomfortably numb or down in the dumps and managed to gain perspective by reading some old piece of writing of mine. It always helps to see something from a distance. It also helps to read other people’s writing. Being human can be a lonely thing. It’s good to know that you are not alone. That’s why publishing your writing is also an important part of the process.
    Not everything we write is worth being spat into the universe but it can be. It’s hard to tell where inspiration comes from and who you will be able to help or even entertain with your words. But if there’s a chance, you should. For every instance that you feel uniquely pained, there are untold numbers of people out there who can’t sleep and are all out of episodes of Chuck or Orange is the New Black to keep them company. And your little piece of self-examination might be the only thing that gets them a little peace.

    A winner of the Hollywood Book Festival, So Go On and Live poignantly and bitingly captures the angst and restlessness of modern American youth. Pedro “Pete” Salcedo, a young but worn down journalist, is on a figurative and metaphorical journey through the absurdity of life, America and beautiful women. 

    After accepting a prestigious job in Washington, D.C. and subsequently losing the love of his life, Pedro loses himself, first to his work, then to the road and eventually to the apathy, alcohol and cynicism that permeates through youth culture. Pedro struggles, like many of his generation, to get his life in order and hang on to love, sanity and pathos in this modern world, where women, relationships and sexuality are constantly evolving. 

    So Go On and Live is a wild and emotional expedition into the existential and farcical perspective of a drunken, Mexican-Irish, would-be poet offering a new breed of optimism that comes with a nihilistic twist.
    Buy Now @ Amazon
    Genre - Literary Fiction
    Rating – PG-13
    More details about the author
    Connect with Erick Galindo through Twitter

    Thursday, July 10, 2014

    10 Things You Didn't Know About Sophia: Within by @JordyLizama #BookClub #YA #Fantasy

    9:30 AM Posted by Mickalia Peck , , , No comments

    10 Things You Didn’t Know About Sophia:Within
    1 I started writing the book when I was 15 years old
    2 Sophia was originally named Lauren, the actual name is inspired by my daughter who is named the same.
    3 The character I most enjoyed writing about was Dennis, somewhere along the way he became all of my brothers, I just love him.
    4 Sophia began more like a fantasy novel, she was supposed to be a fairy.
    5 The preface is the first part I wrote of the book. It’s the only part that has remained the same through all the years and editing.
    6 After I finished the preface and first chapter I thought I sucked, so I deleted it. Thankfully it took me 4 years to empty my trash can and find it there.
    7 Sophia:Within was originally named The Enchantress.
    8 After I rescued the book from my computer bin it took me less than a month to complete it all.
    9 The first person that read the preface of the book was my sister Michelle, she loved it and wanted to read more of it.
    10 Sophia:Within was supposed to be just one book, but the story kept going, so I decided to divide it into two.
    Only time will tell if Sophia, Alec and the world are ready to accept the mission that has been passed down for many generations. This is more than a story of reincarnation. This is a story that never ended following the reign of the Greek gods. What has been hidden for thousands of years is about to surface in a small New England town. 

    The impact on this rural village is ageless, but only the chosen time travelers know what is happening, the reason it is happening and how to control the outcome. The Men of Ages have walked the Earth unnoticed since the time of Greek mythology and have kept their ancient war alive by transporting the lead warrior in a most unusual time machine. 

    There is only one way to stop the cataclysmic demise of the human race and Sophia is the answer. But, Sophia is a teenage girl faced with many human and nonhuman desires that create a tortuous path from antiquity to the present day. Love conquers all; or, so it seems.
    Buy Now @ Amazon
    Genre – Fantasy, YA 
    Rating – PG
    More details about the author
    Connect with Jordana Lizama on Twitter

    Wednesday, July 9, 2014

    @Vanna_Smythe on the 7-Point Story Structure #WriteTip #YA #Dystopian

    9:30 AM Posted by Mickalia Peck , , , No comments
    How to Write by the Seat of Your Pants: Outline or No?
    I am a seat-of-the-pants writer by nature and inclination. However, after having written four books, I have found that devising a working outline of a book prior to starting writing helps me stay on track.  I do not plan out each scene or chapter, but I have found the basic story structure formula to be a very good guide for keeping a book on track.
    The formula I currently use is the 7-Point Story Structure, which lets you map out the important, pivotal points in your story, namely the hook, first plot point, midpoint, second plot point and resolution, as well as the two pinches where the villains rear their ugly heads.  The author Dan Wells did a great presentation of this formula, and you can watch that on You Tube, so I won’t go into detail here.
    These days, I basically plan my characters, setting, main conflicts and the resolution before I start writing. Knowing how a book will end helps me plan the beginning, and weave in the necessary transformation that needs to occur in the main characters.  It also helps me to stay on track with the plot, since knowing the ending helps me target everything I write towards it. That is not to say that my plans don’t sometimes change, but such is the reality and magic of being a seat of the pants writer.
    With my latest Progeny of Time YA dystopian series I actually have the first three books all planned out in terms of their endings, which lets me write them so much faster.  I published the first book in the series, The Grower’s Gift in mid-May, and I plan to have the second book ready and available by the end of July.

    The future is bleak in the year 2102. The planet is in chaos and the weather patterns have completely shifted, turning most of the world into an uninhabited wasteland.
    The rich and powerful of North America have pulled back into the six remaining megacities, erasing all trace of a central government and leaving millions displaced by the environmental crisis to fend for themselves in the dying world.
    Sixteen-year-old Maya has a gift, a power she thinks can heal the earth and make it habitable again. A gift that she must learn to harness. The school for the gifted in Neo York is the only place where she can learn to control her power and reach her potential.
    Yet the school is not what it seems. Ran by the ruthless head of the city of Neo York, the school’s only objective is to extract the powers of the gifted and then discard them. Only Ty, heir to the city, can keep Maya from being destroyed there. But Ty has a secret, and his loyalty to his family has never wavered.
    Will his growing love for Maya be strong enough to save them both?
    Buy Now @ Amazon
    Genre - YA Dystopian
    Rating – PG-13
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    James Rada Jr. on Avoiding the Rejection Blues @JimRada #Historical #Fiction #AmReading

    How to Avoid the Rejection Blues

    When I started out as a writer, rejection letters were commonplace and usually they were simply form letters. I got a sense of dread seeing them arrive in the mail. I didn’t want to read them, but I had to see if it was a rejection or acceptance.

    I knew my writing was starting to get better when the editors started adding little notes to the rejection letters like “Almost” or “Keep trying”. Then the rejection letters started becoming specific to my submission.

    Finally, I started getting those treasured acceptance letters. Nowadays, I get more acceptances than rejections and I even get editors asking me to take on assignment.

    That doesn’t mean that I still don’t get rejection letters. They don’t bother me, though. I’ve developed ways of dealing with them over the years that work well at keeping me focused on the positive.

    Keep things in the mail
    When I started writing, I would send out a short story and then wait for three months before I heard back a rejection. I spent those months wondering and worrying about what the editor was going to say.

    After I had a few stories written, I got into the habit of not worrying about the stories that were in the mail but finding markets for the new stories that I was writing.

    As soon as a story would come back in the mail, I would simply send it back out to the next market. By not having to focus on the rejection and let it get to me, I started focusing on the future and finding new markets. With dozen of queries in the mail at any one time, I don’t have time to focus on a single rejection.

    Have a list of markets
    After I send a story out to the magazine I most wanted to see it published in, I would create a list of additional markets. When I would get a rejection letter, I would simply prepare the story for the next market on my list.

    By keeping a list of my top five or ten markets, I didn’t have to look at an unsold story sitting on my desk.

    I always have a new market to send my stories to so I don’t worry about a rejection.

    Enjoy positive comments
    When you do start getting personalized comments on your rejection letters or even personalized rejections, pay attention to the comments. Some of them can help you improve your writing. If the comments are positive, enjoy them. Let them inspire you to write more and write better.

    If an editor is interested enough to write you something personal, it means that he or she is interested in your writing. It is a market worth trying again.

    Keep writing to remind you why you do it
    Don’t let an editor’s opinion make you doubt your writing ability. Write because you love it and want to do it. Keep at it. This is probably the best way to keep from feeling down because of rejection. 

    Write because you love it. Write because you want to do better.


    The Civil War split the United States and now it has split the Fitzgerald Family. Although George Fitzgerald has returned from the war, his sister Elizabeth Fitzgerald has chosen to remain in Washington to volunteer as a nurse. The ex-Confederate spy, David Windover, has given up on his dream of being with Alice Fitzgerald and is trying to move on with his life in Cumberland, Md. Alice and her sons continue to haul coal along the 184.5-mile-long C&O Canal. It is dangerous work, though, during war time because the canal runs along the Potomac River and between the North and South. 

    Having had to endured death and loss already, Alice wonders whether remaining on the canal is worth the cost. She wants her family reunited and safe, but she can’t reconcile her feelings between David and her dead husband. Her adopted son, Tony, has his own questions that he is trying to answer. He wants to know who he is and if his birth mother ever loved him. As he tries to find out more about his birth mother and father, he stumbles onto a plan by Confederate sympathizers to sabotage the canal and burn dozens of canal boats. He enlists David’s help to try and disrupt the plot before it endangers his new family, but first they will have find out who is behind the plot.

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    Genre – Historical Fiction
    Rating – PG-13
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