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…

 

 

Don’t rush it… Patience needed!

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What a dreary Monday! Monday’s are a struggle, but when you wake up to rain and bone chilling cold, well, it puts you in the wrong mood. So, let’s talk patience. LOL! Yep, that word that we’ve forgotten existed…

Patience by definition is the ability to take things in stride, not rush into something, without getting upset. In other words, even though you want to do something so badly that you hit the start button before you have everything ready. And that’s where you get into trouble.

Here’s what the Bible says: Romans 12:12 “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”

And I know how hard it is to be patient, especially when you have a new release coming. Here’s an example: You’ve finished your current work in progress, but you need to edit, then send to your editor for more edits, then add those new edits, market for the new release, make sure the cover is ready, etc… You get the point. But the problem with all of this is that it takes time to do all of this, and all of this is important. If you jump into the pot before the grease is hot, well, you’ll just end up soggy.

It’s like putting a puzzle together. You can’t rush to the last piece without putting all of the other pieces together first. It’s impossible, so you have to patiently put the other pieces together. The same with publishing a book. One step at a time…

So, here’s my advice and believe me, I’ve been there and done that. Make sure to check all the boxes before you hit submit. You wouldn’t publish to Amazon before you had a cover, would you? Then don’t publish before you’ve got the steps completed in order to put out the best book you possibly can.

Patience is something we have to work on. Me included. If you feel like you’ve just got to do something, then start on the next project and market like crazy for the one you’re about to release. But make it right the first time and the patience will pay off.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

Monday Thoughts & Coffee By the Fire…

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Good Monday morning! I hope that you’re staying warm wherever you are this morning. It’s cold in Georgia and looks to be a dreary day with cold, icy rain. Burrrrr…. I’m sitting by the fireplace, wrapped in my fuzzy blanket, sipping coffee and writing.

So, here’s my Monday thought as I drink my coffee and get my eyes open. What length of book do you like to read or write? Do you love a long, 50K or more book, or a quick read of less than 25K?

Here are my thoughts on the length of a book that I read or write for that matter. I’ve heard from fans that say they love the longer ones, then others love the shorter ones that I write. It’s hard to know what will be the best length based on fans wants.

Now, if I’m picking up a book to read, it’s entirely up to my mood. If I’m kicking back and have the luxury of a whole afternoon to sit by the fire and read, then I’ll choose a longer book, but if it’s just a quick moment of sitting in a bubble bath, then sometimes I prefer a shorter book. Especially if I’m stressed or had a particularly hard day, then I need that quick, mindless read, meaning I need to see the story from start to finish in one sitting and have that heartwarming feeling of a Happily Ever After.

For my writing, it’s a toss up. Some of my series or books are setup to be quick reads. I make them short for a reason. A couple of my series have been wrote in short form just for those fans that write to me all the time wanting what they call, lunch time reads. But I do have long novels in my list. My new series that will start rolling out in March will be long books, each one.

So, long or short read… long or short writing… We all love to read and write, so keep it up and let’s get lost in another world or time at least for a moment or maybe for a whole day. Who am I kidding? We readers tend to read into the night sometimes… There’s nothing wrong with pulling an all nighter!

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…

The last Wednesday Wisdom of 2020…

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Wow, the last Wednesday of 2020. That’s crazy. It’s hard to believe this year is almost over. So, what’s my tidbit of wisdom that I’d like to give to you before the year ends.

This one is for writer’s, but you can use it in anything you do. And it’s really simple…

JUST BE TRUE TO YOURSELF!

When writing, always write what makes you happy. If you are trying to please someone else, then your heart won’t be in it. It’s the same in life. If you’re just going about life trying to make someone else happy and never thinking of yourself, then you’re missing out of life.

So, be true to yourself. Write what makes you happy and you’ll see a big difference in your writing. Have fun, enjoy life, and love with all of your heart.

That’s my Wednesday Wisdom…

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

Tax talk… It’s almost that time!

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I know, the dreaded TAX word. As an Accountant, this is the time to gear up for the new season that is coming in only two weeks. 2020 was a crazy tax season with extended deadlines, call meetings and lots of questions. Let’s hope 2021 goes smoother.

But, as a author, there are many things to think about. If you’ve earned royalties, then you’ll need to file that. I do have some light at the end of that tunnel though, expenses…

Here are some of the expenses that an author can claim:

  • Writing Programs
  • Educational courses to help with writing
  • Office supplies – pens, paper, ink, notebooks, etc.
  • Subscriptions to writing sites or programs
  • Fees for book signings (Hopefully you were able to get some in before things changed)
  • Advertising
  • Computers (Remember to delegate the percentage you use it for writing.)

That’s just a small list. But, hopefully you did great this year and need to claim some expenses.

So, good writing and May God Bless You…

5 things every author needs to know…

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Good morning! Writing… Writers block… Publishing… The life of a writer. It’s a roller coaster and not for the faint of heart. Here are the top 5 things every author needs to know about starting to write and publish…

  1. It’s not as easy as it looks. Let me be very clear about this, writing isn’t easy. There’s more to it than simply writing words. You’ve got to make sure to plot, plan, and organize those words to where the reader can get lost in the world you’ve created. If you don’t do it with an ebb and flow, then the reader will lose interest and move on. So, don’t think it’s just putting words on paper. There’s so much more to the process.
  2. Writer’s block is real! Every author has experienced writer’s block at one time or the other. It’s a helpless feeling and only perseverance gets you through it. You can get past it, just have confidence. Keep writing and working on other projects.
  3. Editor’s are essential. Alright, let’s all say this and put on repeat! Editors are essential. Even the most savvy writer can’t find all of the mistakes or bad wording in a manuscript. To be honest, editors miss some too. But let’s be honest, when we’re reading our own work, it’s hard to be completely harsh. An editor can help to reword things so that the story flows better. And some changes, even though they can hurt, are necessary.
  4. Read everyday… It may sound crazy, but reading actually helps you as a writer. But read in the genre that you write in. I’ve been reading books that the author wrote with such clear, precise wording that I was inspired. And I’ve read books that lost me from the first page. When I read things like this, it helps me to look at my work differently. Try it.
  5. Know your audience. If you write sweet romance, then don’t go too heavy on the love scenes. Advertising a book as one genre, but the book actually leaning more in another direction can make readers not trust you. So, know who you’re pushing this book to. The same with mysteries turning into nothing more than a romance with nothing to solve. I’ve read books like this and it is disheartening. Also, make sure if the book is erotic, let the reader know.

I could keep going, but you need to get back to writing and so do I. But I hope this helped you a little.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

Just Let It Go…

Can you believe it’s a week until Thanksgiving? This year is flying by and in my opinion, that could be a good thing. It’s been a crazy year!

Just Let It Go…

It’s the same with writing. If you have a story line that keeps bugging you, then let it go. As in, let it go where it needs to. Most writers will tell you that if a story starts in your brain, it will drive you crazy until you do something with it.

Now, it’s not to say that some of the ideas that come through your head are publish worthy. If I had a dollar for every story idea I had that flopped before the first chapter was done, well, let’s just say, I’d be in a good position. Sometimes though, it’s hard to Just Let It Go…

Don’t waste your time on stories that don’t go far. You need to focus on those stories that can go the distance. As I said in an earlier post, make sure that your story can make it through plotting and scene set up. Then, you’ll have a story to publish.

If not, then Just Let It Go…

In life sometimes we have to Just Let It Go…

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

P.S. Wine, Wedding, And The Cowboy is coming out December 4th, so preorder now! https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08DF9JC3V/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i25

Release Date: December 4, 2020

Wednesday Warm Thoughts…

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It’s mighty cold here in Georgia on this Tuesday morning. As I write this post, the fire is crackling and popping in the fireplace, keeping me toasty warm. Do you enjoy a good fire on a cold morning?

For me, sitting by a warm fire inspires me to write more. Why is that? I love to come down the hall on cold mornings and hear the crackling fire. As soon as I have a cup of coffee in my hands, I stand in front of the fire, letting it warm me to my soul. It’s a wonderful feeling.

Not to mention I’m finishing up the last of my Christmas romance, which comes through easier with a cozy fire. Now just to get up my Christmas tree and decorations. But that will have to wait until after the upcoming busy weekend.

Enjoy every moment… Listen to the crackle of a fire… Give yourself a moment every day to just be…

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

North Georgia Adventure…

Good Thursday morning. Monday, we took a day trip to the North Georgia mountains. It was a much needed trip to getaway and reboot. I love the mountains. It’s one of my favorite places.

The leaves were still pretty, even though they most had already turned. The picture above was from the side of the road. We’d been driving on winding roads and found this lookout. When we got out of the car, the temperature had dropped over 10 degrees from the previous stop at the orchard. There was no sound other than the wind drifting through the leaves. It was breathtaking.

This little waterfall was at our next stop. Just the sound of the water trickling over the rocks had such a calming effect. I could have camped out beside this waterfall for days. There is nothing quite as reflective as a day spent in nature. The beauty of God’s creation can take you by surprise and leave you with so much hope and belief that everything is alright.

This valley was beautiful. We were headed out of the high mountains and started through this green pastureland in the valley. There were old barns and fences that made the writer in me want to know more. Who had lived there? What had life been living here in the valley of the mountains? Did they have horses, cows, chickens, and other animals? Did the beauty of the mountains make them smile every morning when they walked out to see the beauty around them? Just a few thoughts I had as we drove through this little valley.

As you can see, we had a wonderful day trip. It only took us two and a half hours to get to this beautiful place where land meets sky. And it was worth the drive. To get there, we had to go through downtown Atlanta. It always amazes me how much the city has changed since I was a young girl traveling with my parents to the mountains every fall. I still get that little girl feeling as we pass by the tall buildings.

So, hope you enjoyed the small look into our wonderful trip. I shared all of the photos that were taken over on my Facebook page. It only takes a moment away from normal life to get a treat. Take every chance you get to get away for a while. It was just a day trip, but it did so much to refresh my mind and get me back on track. Don’t let life pass you by. Find joy in the little things.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…