Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Tuesday Tip: Websites about agents (part two)

Welcome to part two of websites pertaining to agents. As there are a number of useful sites, there will be one more post on this topic in two weeks.

  • Rachelle Gardner (http://www.rachellegardner.com/): Rachelle is an agent, editor, and publishing coach. She has a well-organized archive of posts covering a wide variety of topics (from blogging to publishing).

  • Bent on Books (http://jennybent.blogspot.com/): Jenny Bent shares resources on marketing and working with an agent. She has an Agents' Wishlist tab for a monthly update on what her colleagues are currently looking for.
  • Janet Reid, Literary Agent (http://jetreidliterary.blogspot.com/): Janet is a longtime literary agent. She offers advice on pitching, querying, and revising. She has a checklist and FAQ section which are useful for anyone pitching a book.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Writing Prompt Wednesday

If you're feeling stuck in your WIP (work in progress) or just want to shake things up a bit, here's something different to try today:

As the plane rolled down the runway...

Happy writing!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Monday Motivation

"Every first draft is perfect because all a first draft has to do is exist."
— Jane Smiley

Have a wonderful week!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

"Of Mess and Moxie" by Jen Hatmaker

My review...

Jen Hatmaker continues to be a cheerleader for her readers. This book is like sitting down and having a conversation with a good friend. As is standard with Hatmaker’s books, this is an honest, yet hilarious, book which contains stories that will be relatable to the average woman. It is a wonderful collection of essays which remind the reader to live in the moment. Numerous recipes are included throughout, as well as practical advice. Hatmaker shares personal stories and infuses Bible verses throughout. My favorite parts were the “How to” chapters, which are absolutely hilarious. The author points out on a number of occasions that the reader no longer has to be who they once were, which is a good reminder. This book is perfect for females of any age, no matter how “together” they are. It’s okay to be who God designed them to be. The reader may want to keep a pen and notebook, or a highlighter, nearby!

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy as part of the BookLook blogger program. I was not required to leave a positive review.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Takeover Thursday with Kariss Lynch

I want to extend a warm welcome to Kariss Lynch. She's discussing how to have a balanced writing life. She's also giving away a print copy of her book Shaken (U.S. ONLY) You can enter by using the Rafflecopter link at the end of the post. (Giveaway ends August 17, 2017. If you are the randomly chosen winner, I'll contact you and pass on your information.) Now, here's Kariss...

Writing Life Equals Balanced Life 

You’ve heard the age-old story: Creative individual decides to write a book. They sit down with paper and pen or keyboard and painstakingly write that heart story. Sometimes it takes months. Sometimes it takes years. When talking with their friends, you often hear them say, “Something just came up. It isn’t quite right yet. I just haven’t had the time.”

It’s pretty clear that time is precious. In fact, outside of my loved ones, my time is my most treasured possession. Since signing my first contract in January 2013, I have learned an important writing tip, probably the most important tip:

There is NEVER time, unless you choose to make it.

In fact, I’ve noticed one common trait among the published: They make time to finish. After signing that contract, time to market becomes important. And time to edit. And time to promote. And time to interact with readers. Lot’s of time. So it’s important to figure out how to manage it.

Over the last few years, I’ve learned a few tricks to maximize my time in every area of this writing journey.

Create margin.
Determine your best time of day to write or create and maximize those short windows. I am a night owl and can write and create relevant marketing content easier when my checklist for the day is accomplished. It clears my mind to be creative.

Set a timer.
Write every day. Set the timer on your phone for an hour, then put your phone on silent and put it on the other side of the room. Clear your mind and write. I found when I did this, I could easily write over two thousand words an hour, and I like the challenge of racing the clock.

Strategize for online interaction.
The internet is a wonderful tool, but managing our online interaction can eat our time if not managed correctly. Block out thirty minutes every few days to catch up on emails. Take a few minutes to respond to every person who comments on social media (within reason of course). Know your brand, what you are passionate about, and have character and author interviews on hand for guest blog posts. Schedule our social posts through the week. Don’t overthink. Just do.

Read, read, read
This one is important. Reading is as much a learning tool for me as it is a brain break. I love diving into a story. Make time to see what else is out there. Read books in your genre and in others. Read craft books. Just read.

Managing time is as much mental as it is physical. At the end of the day, be satisfied with what you accomplished and leave the rest for tomorrow. 

Bio and where to find Kariss online...

Kariss Lynch writes contemporary romance about characters with big dreams, adventurous hearts, and enduring hope. She is the author of the Heart of a Warrior series and loves to encourage her readers to have courage. In her free time, she hangs out with her family and friends, explores the great outdoors, and tries not to plot five stories at once. Connect with her at karisslynch.com, or on Facebook, Instagram, or Goodreads.

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Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Tuesday Tip: Websites about agents (part one)

This week, I want to highlight some websites which may be useful resources for those of you who are searching for an agent. There are a lot of good websites, so this is just three of them. I'll list more in upcoming posts.

  • Between the Lines (http://www.booksandsuch.com/blog/): The agents at Books & Such Literary Management blog about a variety of topics (from platforms and branding to working with an editor and finding your writing routine). Their posts offer inspiration and encouragement.

  • Bookends Literary Agency Blog (http://bookendsliterary.com/category/blog/): This site is full of tips on perfecting submissions and figuring out how agents communicate. It's useful for writers at the submission stage. 

  • Red Sofa Literary (https://redsofaliterary.com/): Agent Dawn Frederick shares clients' success stories as well as her best advice. There are numerous guest posts from authors and agents.

Friday, August 4, 2017

"Plain Retribution" by Dana R. Lynn

Q & A with Dana...

Q: What would you be doing if you were not an author?
A: I work as a teacher for the Deaf and hard of hearing.

Q:  How did you get started writing? 
A:  I have always enjoyed writing. I wrote stories and poems even as kid. I didn't try to write for publication, however, until 2013. Harlequin had a contest called "So You Think You Can Write." I finished that contest with my first full manuscript. I was hooked.

Q:  What do you see as the hardest part of being a writer? 
A:  Balance is the biggest challenge. I have a family, a full-time job, and am active in my church. Making sure I meet all my commitments requires some prioritizing.

Q:  What advice do you have for new authors?
A:  Don't give up. Even with rejections and revisions, there are often comments. Keep working and improving your story. And when you finish one, start on another.

Q:  What is your favorite writing-related book?
A:  I have two that I love. Super Story Structure by James Scott Bell and The Story Equation by Susan May Warren.

Q:  What can you tell me about your next project? 

A:  I am hoping to continue to add a few more books to my Amish Country Justice series. Also, I have hopes of writing some contemporary romance. Inspirational, of course.

Thanks so much for stopping by, Dana. I'm sure my readers enjoyed getting a chance to know you a bit better.

My review...

While she was on rumspringa, Rebecca Miller was kidnapped, along with her friends, ten years ago. Now living in the Englisch world, Rebecca finds herself a target once again. Officer Miles Olsen is the only one of the force who is able to communicate with her, as Rebecca is deaf. When the threats increase and those close to Rebecca turn up missing, Miles questions his ability to keep her safe. Is this related to the incident years ago, or is someone else out to get her?

This is the second installment in the “Amish Country Justice” series. I was happy to see Rebecca as the heroine, as I enjoyed her in Plain Target. The fact that she is deaf adds to the danger angle in this story. The action starts on the front page. There is great chemistry between Rebecca and Miles, and the mystery keeps you guessing throughout. Spiritual elements are woven in and are not preachy or overwhelming. I look forward to reading the final book in this trilogy.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy, but I wasn’t required to leave a positive review.

About Dana...

Author bio...

Dana R. Lynn grew up in Illinois. She met her husband at a wedding and told her parents she had met her future husband. Nineteen months later, they were married. Today, they live in rural Pennsylvania with their three children and enough pets to open a petting zoo. In addition to writing, she works as an educational interpreter for the deaf and hard of hearing and is active in several ministries at her church. Dana loves hearing from readers and enjoys interacting with them on social media.

Where you can find me online...

Website:      http://www.danarlynn.com/
Email:         WriterDanaLynn@gmail.com
Facebook:   https://www.facebook.com/WriterDanaLynn
Twitter:       @DanaRLynn

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Monday, July 31, 2017

Monday Motivation

"Good writing is clear thinking made visible."
— Bill Wheeler

Have a wonderful week!

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Takeover Thursday with Marguerite Martin Gray ... and a GIVEAWAY of TWO BOOKS!

I want to extend a warm welcome to Marguerite Martin Gray.  Marguerite is giving away a copy of  the first two books in her series (Hold Me Close and  Surrender). You can enter by using the Rafflecopter link at the end of the post. (Giveaway ends August 3, 2017. If you are the randomly chosen winner, I'll contact you and pass on your information.) Now, here's Marguerite...

Thank you for the opportunity to share a bit about myself with you today. As the summer is zipping by, I am busy writing and editing while spending time researching and reading. Since my recent move from Texas to Louisiana, I’ve been a little detached from my “stuff.” Slowly, I am determining a writing schedule in my new home.

Revolutionary Faith Book One and Two, Hold Me Close and Surround Me, published in 2015 and 2016, take place in 1772-1774 Charles Town, South Carolina. The pre-revolution drama affects the lives of ordinary citizens, immigrants, and prominent historical figures. Decisions are made that will change the world. Louis Lestarjette, a French immigrant and merchant, encounters a society on the brink of revolution. Who can he trust in his endeavors to prosper? Will he be able to stay neutral in a battle for independence? Elizabeth Elliott, daughter of a prominent British citizen, is faced with making difficult decisions about her loyalties. When the mysterious Frenchman enters her life, her role in the political battle is challenged. Can she trust her heart in volatile situations?

Bring Me Near: Revolutionary Faith Book Three will be released in Fall 2017. Follow familiar characters through the decisive events of 1775. Will Charles Town and her citizens support and accept the possibility of separation from Britain? How will Louis and Elizabeth protect their family and community?

As a child, I devoured books. When I lived in England for two years during upper elementary, I started writing short stories. I continued writing journals on my travels and everyday life until the present. Finally, I became serious about writing six years ago, and since then I’ve written six novels. I returned to university and completed my MA in English.

My father inspired me to research my family history, so I went to Charleston and retraced some of the steps of Louis and Elizabeth, my main characters.  My parents surrounded me with history, travel, and educational opportunities.  

I travel whenever I can: the United States, Europe, and Central and South America. I find ideas for my stories through people I meet or interesting stories I hear about the local history. The Revolutionary Faith series is the result of family history research and my visits to Charleston. In my writing, I always use real historical characters in minor roles. They interact with my fictional characters. I place them in historical situations and try to figure out what they would say and do in their everyday lives.   

What am I working on now? I have finished writing and editing Labor of Love, Book One in my Gardens in Time series. This novel is a stand-alone set in 1560 Florence, Italy. Book Two, Promise of Purity, is written, waiting for me to edit. It is set in 1660 Hampton Court, England. This summer I am writing Revolutionary Faith Book Four, Draw Me to Your Side. I’m busy and love it. In the fall, I will add teaching to my agenda, which I have done for over 25 years.
Thank you for your time. I hope your summer is productive and inspiring.
Enjoy the journey.

About Marguerite...

Marguerite Martin Gray is the author of Hold Me Close: Revolutionary Book One and Surround Me: Revolutionary Faith Book Two. She enjoys studying history and writing fiction. An avid traveler and reader, she teaches French and has degrees in French, Spanish, and journalism from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, and a MA in English from Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas. Marguerite is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Abilene Writers Guild, Daughters of the American Revolution, South Carolina Historical Society, and the Preservation Society of Charleston.  Recently, she moved from Abilene, Texas to North Louisiana with her husband.

Where to find her online...

Instagram:   marguerite.gray

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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Tuesday Tip: Online Writing Communities

This week, I want to highlight some online writing communities which may be useful resources. There are many of them, so I'm only listing three this week.

  • Figment (http://figment.com/): This site was founded by two former staff members of the New Yorker. This is a place where writers can share their stories or poems, as well as collaborate with others and receive critiques. There is also a chat section available where you can ask questions of industry professionals.

  • StoryADay (http://storyaday.org/): This is a site to promote creativity, and there are challenges to write a short story every day for a month. Accountability groups and the option to subscribe to a podcast are also available.

  • WritersNet (http://www.writers.net/): This is a place where you can find directories of writers, editors, publishers, and agents organized by industry.