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…

Romance for the ages…

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Good Thursday morning… Romance, some believe in it, some don’t. It’s up to you. As a writer of romance, I believe in the possibility of romance for everyone. You just have to seek it out. Romance can be found in the simplest of gestures.

For some, romance is candles, wine, dancing … you know, the stuff you see when you look up romance, But to me, it’s in the slight touch of ones hand. It’s the look across the table that says I love you unconditionally. Sometimes romance can be found in a mere word, not just the three words in I love you.

When writing romance, authors have to spread romance through normal channels. In a historical romance, it could be the knight saving the damsel in distress. In a paranormal romance, it could be a ghost finding his or her lost love in the afterlife. In a contemporary romance, it could be as simple as buying a set of books for your love. It’s the simple things in life that bring the best romance. And to me, that’s the true romance, when it’s on a whim, not set up like a movie set.

Romance in it’s truest form can be intoxicating and passionate. Some never seek romance, they only seek love. How is that different? To this romance author, it’s worlds apart. You can love someone without romance. Love comes in many forms. You can love your partner and want to be there for every moment, but there may be no romance there. But when you combine love and romance, the possibilities are endless.

Yes, I’m what some call a true romantic. I strive to add romance in my marriage by the simplest things. Every night I make my hubby a sandwich for him to take to work the next day, and sometimes I add heart on the bag just to remind him of the romance we share. Sometimes we share just the touch of our fingertips as we pass in the hallway and just that mere wisp of a touch brings a warm fuzzy romantic feeling. You may think that’s all sappy, but to us, it’s the small things.

Tomorrow my hubby and I will celebrate 27 years of wedded bliss. I can tell you this, the romance hasn’t died and if I have anything to do with it, the romance never will.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

What it takes to write…

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Good Wednesday! It’s chilly here in Georgia. My fingers are stiff and it makes writing difficult, but I’m forging on.

I hear people all the time say, ‘I can write a novel. How hard can it be?’. Sometimes I just let it blow over my shoulders, then other times I look at them and tell them what it takes to write that novel. Usually by the time I’m done, they have changed their mind. So, let’s go through some things it takes to put those words on the paper.

Now, don’t get me wrong, anyone can put words on a paper, but… Words on a paper… What a concept…

To write a novel that actually makes sense, you have to get it in the right order. Make sure that you don’t bust the bubble too early and lose the reader. You have to focus on the ebb and flow of the story line. If you write in a up and down motion, meaning there is constant conflict, then resolution, then more conflict and more resolution, the reader will grow tired. It’s important to have a story within the conflict and resolution. The reader needs to be pulled into your story. It needs a purpose.

And an important part of writing is patience. The words don’t write themselves. You have to be patient as you put your story together. If you just haphazardly write, then you’ll get the wrong result. The story needs to be polished and ready before you send it out. Believe me, I’ve been impatient before and the results were less than mediocre. I’ll never do that again.

So, when someone says they could write a novel, explain to them the process. And I’ve only touched on the many intricacies of getting a story completed that will sell and bring you joy. There are so many facets of the writing process that it would take many posts to accomplish.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

Organizing your Published works…

It’s another cool morning here in Georgia, but I’m warm and cozy under my blanket with my laptop. Today we’re discussing how to organize your published works. You may be asking what I mean, well, let me enlighten you.

With over 50 published books, sometimes I get lost in where every book is already published. I can’t remember which book is on which platform. Organization is needed even if you only put your books on one platform. So, here is what I do…

Platform Organization

First, I sit down and make a spreadsheet. The header includes all of the platforms that my books are on. The first column lists all of my books. This way I can mark off the books that are already on certain platforms. And this also helps when republishing older works with new covers. Doing this, I don’t miss out on having my books everywhere.

The moment I started working with this spreadsheet, I realized that I was missing several platforms for some of my books. This is missed opportunity, so everyday I work on at least one platform, updating files and getting my books everywhere.

 PublishedAmazonKUB&NKoboAppleSmashAudibleGoogle
5 Oaks Ranch Series         
Ridge         
Oakley         
Chase         
Luke         
Maggie         
A Christmas to Remember         
5O Collection          

Book Organization

Now, you may be asking how this is different. Book organization is a spreadsheet similar to the above one, but this one is book formats. In this one, I just copy the previous spreadsheet and change the header. In the header I input Ebook, Print, Audio, Front Cover, Back Cover, Blurb, and Publish date.

This has helped me to keep up with what needs to be done for each book. It’s like a checks and balances, but for books.

 outlinecharacterfrontebookblurbexerptprintbackspine
5 Oaks Ranch Series         
Ridge         
Oakley         
Chase         
Luke         
Maggie         
A Christmas to Remember         
5O Collection          

I do hope this helps you in some way. It’s helped me a lot.

As always, 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…

Wishful Harbor

Well, another series is in the books so to say… Wishful Harbor will be complete on the 7th when Bay Street releases. It’s so sad to see the characters go, but this series has brought me so much joy. So, let’s go to wishful Harbor for a moment…

This is a series about the small New England town of Wishful Harbor. Each story can be read as a standalone or part of the series. They are filled with romance, mystery and small-town charm.

Book 1

Breakwater Lane

When Jordan Reed inherits her grandfather’s deli in small town Wishful Harbor, her life is turned upside down. Things start to look better when her childhood crush, Skylar, turns out to be her new contractor. When someone tries to intervene in Jordan and Skylar’s relationships the mysteries of Jordan’s family start to unravel. What she learns could change her life and her family’s reputation forever.

Book 2

Hideaway Lane

When a small fire in Julie’s bookstore brings the firemen, she’s shocked to find out one of them is her old high school crush, Paul Wells. Paul can’t believe his luck, so he asks her to the town festival. He’s now the owner of the Christmas tree farm on Hideaway Lane, the one Julie has been going to all her life. But, when the bank threatens to take the farm from him, Julie steps in to help. Romance blooms in this story of old crushes, Christmas spirit, and small-town charm.

Book 3

Inlet Circle

In the small town of Wishful Harbor, life is good, that is until things go wrong. When Lacey, the owner of One More Cup, the local coffee shop slides on the ice and right into the side of Chip’s truck, the sparks fly. Chip has come to town to take over ownership of the Inlet Cove Inn. Neither of them is ready for anything more than friendship, but when they’re stranded at the Inn with no power for twenty-four hours, they think that maybe love could heal old wounds. But, only time will tell in this sweet, small-town romance.

Book 4

Pier Cove

A SmallTown Romance filled with adventure and sweet romance…
Marly loves anything old, so what starts out as a hobby, turns into a business. Since she’s a treasure diver in her spare time, she’s thrilled when the opportunity arises to run a store in the historical seaside town of Wishful Harbor.
Liam is a third-generation owner of the Wishful Harbor marina. He is interested in knowing more about the new resident of Wishful Harbor. They hit it off as friends almost immediately.
When she hears the old tale of a shipwreck off the end of the lighthouse cape, she enlists Liam’s help to find the treasure, although he’s not a fan of taking her to the wreck. When her old boyfriend gets wind of it, he shows up wanting to take what she’s trying to find.
Together, Marley and Liam work to find the treasure, along with Liam’s granddad Liam. The friendship starts to make a turn into something more, but neither are sure as their pasts try to keep them from having a future.
This is a sweet romance, full of adventure and laughs. The small town of Wishful Harbor is a treasure to be found, and everyone there is family.

Book 5

Bay Street

Bailey Garrett moved to Wishful Harbor looking for a new start. A month before moving to Wishful Harbor, her mother died, and she found out her stepfather was a liar, a thief, and a con artist.

Sherriff Scott Wick hears who is opening the souvenir shop in town, he makes it his business to keep an eye on her hoping she isn’t anything like her stepfather.

Then as mysterious things start happening around Bailey, it doesn’t take Scott long to see that darkness follows Bailey around every corner. Will Scott be able to keep her safe or will her past consume both of them?

In the exciting conclusion of the Wishful Harbor series there will be mystery, adventure, and romance.

Hope you enjoyed this trip down memory lane.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

Saying goodbye is never easy!

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It’s hard to believe that I’m finishing the last book of the Wishful Harbor Series. I’ve enjoyed every moment of writing this series. The characters will always hold a special place in my heart. And the town of Wishful Harbor will draw me in and send me on a journey where the scent of sea air and the sound of sea gulls overhead fill the air.

Saying goodbye to anything isn’t easy. In life, there’s so many things we have to say goodbye to. But with a book series, even though the series has come to a close, the books will be there to read over and over. The memories will be there too.

Over the years of my writing career, I’ve said goodbye to many series. The Five Oaks Ranch Series is still one of my bestselling series and it continues to gain momentum. I’ve had so many people write to me about adding more books to that series. Maybe one day, but for now, it’s just a dream…

In January I’ll publish the last Mistletoe Ranch book. And I just published the last book from The Journal Series. With each new series, there has to be an end. New things need to start and life goes on. But the memories will forever be there along with the laughter, tears and thought that went into each word.

Starting in 2021 I’ll be starting a whole new series, one that will pull everything out of me. I’m so excited about it. I’ve not spoken much about it, but in the coming weeks, I’ll post some snippets and info on it. But for now, let’s just say, 2021 will be filled with mystery, intrigue, and romance.

For now, I’ll go back to my writing and the cup of coffee that’s growing cool. But I’ll ask one question, how do you handle saying goodbye?

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

Preorder today!