Following Through with a Plan

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Good morning! Yes, I’m back. It’s been a crazy couple of months. Between writing and tax season, I’ve been so busy. But I’m getting back on track and ready to get this blog back up and running. So, here’s to the rest of the year!

How many times have you made a plan and then didn’t go through with it? Maybe you set a book release and you couldn’t finish the book in time. It’s always good to make sure you write down your plan and try to keep to it. This keeps you from procrastinating. But what happens when everything is against you such as time, life, and all the things in between? Here’s a couple of tips for making things happen when you need them to…

I’ve been trying to finish my latest WIP and somehow I let my busy schedule take over. This is the first time in a long time that I didn’t meet my deadline. And yes, I procrastinated to the point that the book went to the back burner. As a writer, that hurts. 

Let’s talk planning. When you have a book idea, excitement bubbles up and you’re pumped. But there’s more to it than just the idea. You’ve got to focus on the idea and make sure that it can be fleshed out into a book. This step needs a plan. 

Look at it like framing a house. Without the frame, you wouldn’t have the house. A book plan is the same thing. Here are the steps to getting that book into the hands of your readers…

  1. The Idea – Yes, this is the exciting stage where you get the spark. You know what I’m talking about. It’s the moment you’re sitting there and all of a sudden you have the best idea for a new book or series. But not every book idea comes to life. I’ve got so many ideas written down that didn’t meet the muster. 
  2. The Outline – Ok, I know some of you are more of a seat of the pants writer, but let me tell you, an outline can be the make or break for some ideas. When I have an idea, I sit down and figure out how it can go. Even if it’s just a simple, beat by beat outline, it helps you to know if you can make it work. 
  3. Flesh it out – Now that you have the idea and the simple outline, you can go back and give it some flesh. Fill it out and see if you have enough to make it a book. This is the point of no return or return to the pile of idea. Here is where you make sure that the idea can go the full gauntlet or get chopped off before it’s even finished.
  4. Scheduling – Here’s where you need to be honest with yourself. If you think your idea can go 25,000 words, don’t schedule a release in 25 days. Maybe you can get it written in 15 days, but there’s so much more that goes into it than writing it. Make sure that you schedule every step of the writing process. I had to learn this the hard way. Here’s a couple of items to think about when scheduling: A. Cover design B. First Draft C. Revisions D. Read Through E. Editing F. Prerelease Marketing G. Final Draft, and this is just a few steps.
  5. Writing – Now, here is the fun part. You finally get to put words on the page. The first draft isn’t perfect, so don’t expect it to be. Get the bones on paper, then go back and fill it in. 
  6. First Draft Read Through – This stage is fun. The bones of your book are there. You’ve finished the first part of the process which to me, can be the hardest part. This is the stage where you’ll know it the idea will actually make it. If the outline didn’t catch it, the first draft will.
  7. Edit, Edit, Edit – Now, read it out loud as you edit. This is important before it goes to your editor. My editor has asked me before if I even read it before I sent it to her. LOL! 
  8. Cover Design – This process for me comes first, but a lot of writers don’t design theirs until this stage. Sometimes the cover comes to me with the idea. Make sure the cover represents your work. Don’t do something to deceive your readers. And simple still works… 
  9. Marketing – Plan your marketing early in the process. Set a budget and schedule some prerelease ads. You don’t have to spend a bundle to get results. Just make sure to stagger your ads. Don’t overwhelm yourself. 
  10. Release Day – Make this a party. Setup a blog post. Send out Tweets, Facebook posts, Pinterest, TikTok blurbs, and any other social media you use. Make it fun and relaxed. 

I know this was a little crazy, but putting a book out to readers needs a plan. And my way may not work for everyone, but it does for me. Hope it helps in some way.

 

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

 

 

Write what you love… Not what’s expected!

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Good morning! I’ve been swamped with taxes and office work, so I’ve been a little absent lately. But don’t worry, there is still writing going on in the background. Safe is almost complete and I’m so excited to bring it to you soon. Now, on to the post.

There are so many trends out there right now that it makes my head spin. So many authors fall into the trend hole and can’t seem to climb back out. Yes, it’s alright to write following those trends, but not if it puts your writing style in a cramp. Sometimes current trends are not what you excel at and that’s alright. Be yourself, not what others expect.

Every writer has their own voice. And we have a passion for different things. Me, I love writing clean romance that inspires others. And now I’ve added mystery and suspense to that love. But for so long I wouldn’t add that element for fear that it wouldn’t be accepted in my genre. I was mistaken and now that I’m almost done with the first novel in that genre, I know that I made the right choice. It’s unexpected, but wonderful. I’ve never felt more excitement over writing as I do at this moment. I feel that this is a huge step for my career.

Now, you need to sit back and figure it out. What do you love to write about? If it’s a couple falling in love over a lost puppy, then write about it. What’s important is writing about what you’re passionate about. Just focus on that.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

Toss a stone… Watch the ripple…

As I sit here, sipping my coffee and getting my mind ready for the day, I’ve been thinking about my current WIP. It’s been such a refreshing new project that I’ve enjoyed working on.

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Now, I could have stayed with my usual genre and kept the water smooth and ripple free. But, that wouldn’t be fun. I’ve been writing romance for several years. My genre ranged from sweet romance, to paranormal. So, how is my current WIP different?

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My current WIP is a Christian Suspense Romance. What is that you may be asking? Well, it’s a clean romance that has Christian elements, along with suspenseful and thrilling parts, but as always that some romance sprinkled in. And with it being Christian, you know that it won’t be too over the top gory or crude.

So, I went from keeping the waters calm and smooth, to tossing a pebble and wrecking the calm waters. And it’s the best move I’ve made in a long time. I can’t wait to get it out to my readers because I think they’ll fall in love with the characters and be glued to the story. It won’t be anything you expect either.

Ripple the water… Make a change… Get a refreshing new look at romance…

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

Wednesday Afternoon Tea…

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You read that right. I said tea… Sometimes I do drink hot tea. Usually I grab an herbal blend, green tea, or spicy cinnamon. This afternoon I have a stuffy nose, so I’m grabbing some therapeutic green tea. Hopefully it will open me up and I’ll get my head back in the game.

Have a great afternoon!

Midweek Writing & Descriptions…

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This week is flying by. So much to do with so little time.

Lately I’ve been focusing more and more on being descriptive. I want my readers to take the journey with me, not just read it. It means more if they see the vision that I do when I’m writing. As I wrote earlier, show, don’t tell. It’s important to keep the readers interest and if they’re just reading words, it won’t. They’ll lose their train of thought. But, if you open up the world to them, then you’ll have fans for life.

For instance, in my current WIP, when Hadley is walking up the sidewalk, I get into the weather, the scenery around her and the neighbor that always stops her, keeping her from the tasks at hand. Also her little cottage on the sleepy street in the small town. I go into detail so that the reader has a sense of where she lives and during certain parts of the story, how close she is to possible danger.

So see, you have to be descriptive. Let your reader into your head. It can only make it better for them.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

Indie Publishing… Growing

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3 Ways Indies Can Improve Self-Publishing

As a writer I see a lot of writers come and go in the spot light. It’s amazing how many books are appearing on Amazon and other platforms daily. When I started publishing my work in 2012, you could stay on the front page of new releases for at least 24 hours. Now you’re lucky if you stay there for 24 minutes. 

I’ve found out a couple of things about some of this craziness and that’s the indie authors that haven’t done their homework. Here are 3 of the many ways indies can improve self-publishing and the stigma that goes with it. But also, things have changed on that front too. Now more people are self publishing that ever before.

1: Editing. How many times do you edit your book? I know how exciting it can be to get to the words ‘The End’ and want it out there right then, but that’s a mistake. Make sure you read your work several times and one of those needs to be out loud. I recently went in and revised one of my first published books due to the fact that I put it out there way too fast. Editing is a very important part of the publishing process and as a self-publisher that’s up to you the writer. Also, there are many great editors out there that don’t cost you an arm and leg to hire them. It’s well worth the money and your work will benefit from an extra eye.

2: Cover Design: This is critical. When I look back at my first covers that I designed, I seriously laugh. They were so boring and uninspiring, but being an accountant I didn’t train on creative design software. That’s when I put me assistant to work as my cover designer. She took one look at my work and said ‘not happening’. She went to work and designed the awesome covers that now grace my books. This is the first thing that a potential reader sees. If it doesn’t inspire them, they will go on to the next book. And on top of that, make sure it’s relevant with the book and make it vibrant.

3: The Book Blurb: As a self-publisher this is solely your responsibility. This is one of the hardest things to do for me. Don’t get too out there. Make sure it’s very expressive and use lots of expressive words, but don’t give a lot away. If you give away the ‘who done it’ then there’s no sense reading the book. Make several different ones and have some other people read it. See what they think. Also, in the blurb, give the person a sense of thrill for picking up your book.

This was just a few of the ways that help a self published author. And remember, these are important parts of your book. Of course, the inside is important, but to get someone to actually see the inside, you need to get them to buy it first.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

Groundhogs…Coffee…Writing

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It’s Groundhog Day! Let’s hope it doesn’t go like the movie. Anyway, Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow, so six more weeks of winter. Whether you believe the groundhog or not, it’s fun to see what he does and if his predictions come true. But, whatever happens, we can’t do anything to change it, so life goes on.

Here in Georgia we’re finally seeing the sunshine this morning. As I sip my second cup of coffee, I’m reviewing two more chapters of Safe, my current work in process. With temperatures in the upper 20’s, this coffee helps warm me up. These hardwood floors are mighty cold this morning. But, one step outside and I’m reminded how warm it really is inside. The icy air hits your face like a ton of bricks. So, wrap up and stay warm today.

As for writing, this is the month for romance. The question of the day is this, can you squeeze in romance in a crime thriller? The answer is yes. Even a horror can have some romance element without taking away from the story line. For me, adding an element of romance just makes for a better story. Of course, that could be that I’m a romance writer and I try to put romance in everything I do.

With that being said, my new WIP is coming along quite well. It’s full of suspense, dabbled with excitement and a couple of spine tingling moments. I’m starting to really enjoy this new added genre in my romance books. The thrill of mystery keeps my fingers typing and my mind working. I was so enthralled in the story last night that the dog barked and I almost jumped out of my skin. But that’s what makes it fun, to get lost in the story.

In other news, I’ll have a featured article in the Southern Writer’s Magazine a couple of days before Valentines Day, so keep watching for it. It’s such an honor to be able to talk writing on such a wonderful platform. As writers, we need to be able to spread our wings.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

Writers stay healthy!

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I have the rainy Monday morning blahs… But sipping some strong coffee, so hoping this feeling passes. So, let’s dive into writers and their health. It’s a double edged sword…

If you’re like me, you work a day job and write in your free time, which leaves precious little time to exercise. Even full time writers don’t take the time to exercise. So, what do we do? The fact is, it’s important to get moving as much as possible. Yes, we love to chase the words, but are we doing it at the cost of our health.

Let’s look at some things you can do to help stay healthy and keep up with your word count:

  • Get in those steps! Try to get in at least 10,000 steps a day. Yes, I know it’s hard, but even on a rainy day you can walk inside. I’ve set a timer on my phone to make me get up and move. Today is my first day of keeping track of it better. I’ve been slacking since I had a book deadline, not to mention it’s tax season. So, get up and march in place for a few minutes, or walk to the mailbox a couple of times a day. Whatever it takes to get those steps up? Give Yoga a try. It’s a great mind clearing way to get healthier and stay in shape.
  • If you have to snack while writing, then grab something healthy. A couple of examples are: 1. Freeze some grapes and eat when writing. 2. Cut up an apple and get a little peanut butter to dip it in. 3. Eat low salt nuts such as almonds or cashews. 4. Yogurt with granola. 5. Cut up veggies such as carrots or even bell pepper and dip in ranch.
  • If you grab coffee, like me, then opt for no creamer, or less creamer. Maybe even grab some decaf at times. Also, remember those fancy coffees from the coffee shop add a lot of calories to your day. Opt for a simple cup of joe.
  • Tea is great, unless you’re southern like me and love it sweet. Change it up to green tea or herbal with antioxidants to help you out.
  • Last, but not least, stay hydrated. Drink lots of water. I keep a bottle of water with me all of the time. Get in your allotted amount of water a day. If you can’t handle plain water, then grab some of those no calorie flavorings. I love those. But staying hydrated is important.

Remember, the only way to get that bestseller seen is to be healthy enough to finish it. If you’re not here, then it won’t see the light of day. And as your fellow writer, I want to see you succeed and stay healthy. This goes for me. Let’s start this today!

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

New Year… New You…

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Happy New Year! It’s 2021, can you believe it? Alright, it’s time to get this year started and as with any new year, it’s a chance to make a change. Maybe it’s financial, career, life, or any other change you need to make. It’s time for second chances and new experiences. So, here’s a list of things to change:

  • Faith – We all need to work on that one, especially after this last year. Last night as I knelt at the altar, I prayed for more faith. We’ve got to let go of the bad and work on bringing in the good. Build on your faith and find hope!
  • Finances – As an accountant, this is something most people need to do. Make a resolution to save more money, get rid of debt, or clean out your budget. I have a Budget book to help and it’s a great time to get started on the new financially stable you. https://www.amazon.com/Budgeting-Simple-Plan-Better-Year/dp/1793955611
  • Career – Alright, this one can be hard to do, but if you make the choice to make this change, then jump in. Maybe you want to expand on your current career. Then jump in feet first. There are so many chances out there to change your career.
  • Life – If you’re stuck in a rut, then climb out. You have the power to do this, even if you don’t think so, you do. Make a list of what in your life needs to change and start working on it. Some things are harder than others to change, but it’s your life and you only get one!
  • Write a Book – Wow, that one hits close to home. I’ve been writing since I was 13, but only published my first book in 2012 which was 31 years after I wrote my first manuscript. So, if you have a book inside of you, get it out there and take the leap. You won’t regret it.

And don’t forget the coffee!

Now, get to work. You have a new you to make. Smile… Laugh… Love…

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

The last day of 2020…

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Happy New Year’s Eve everyone! This year has been so different from what we wished for only a year ago today. Life had changed for almost everyone and the way we do things is different. But life goes on and we have to make the best of every situation.

My writing has been going along fairly well, which is surprising to me. So many writers have said that this year has made them less productive. I’ve focused on the positive, giving someone else something to get lost in. Our goal as a writer is to entertain and make our fans feel as though they’ve been taken to another world, time, or place. That’s been my focus.

As I prepare to start 2021, there will be many changes coming. The new series, In Harm’s Way, will be one of those changes. It is something totally different from my normal sweet romance. The whole idea of the series is to help people find their faith even in a difficult time. And each one of the books explores a different type of disaster. It’s labeled a Christian Suspense Romance Series. I plan to take the reader on a journey of fear, love, faith, and excitement.

So, what are you doing to change things up for 2021?

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…