Wednesday, December 7, 2016

#IWSG December, Christmas, and an Apology to Jeff

An awesome, encouraging blog hop founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh and supported by amazing writers from around the web-sphere.
Co-hosts this month: 
December's Question:
In terms of your writing career, where do you see yourself five years from now, and what’s your plan to get there?

Erk. Plan?

No, wait. I do have a plan. Or, I had a plan once.

I lost my plan somewhere in the hustle of the last three years.
I attempted to re-create it a few times, but it didn't stick.
This month's question burned deep, so I revisited my goals and my plan.
If you do not want to read it all, I suggest hitting the bits in bold.

IN 5 YEARS:
I hope to be a hybrid author with 1 or more traditionally published titles, 2 or more small press titles, and 30 self-pubbed titles.  
I hope to make part-time to full-time wages as a writer, and not just tips.
I hope to gain a few public speaking gigs at writing conferences and/or community classes.
Finally, I hope to have over 300 short works published: poetry, short stories, and articles.

THE PLAN/HOW-WILL-THIS-HAPPEN?:
Writing 2-3 hours a day. This is a must to make all that writing possible.
Marketing/Networking: 30-60 minutes a day. (Find some marketing wisdom somewhere.)
Joining a toastmaster group/public speaking group to practice public speaking.
Keep writing, keep revising, keep submitting, repeat as many times as needed.
By keeping my goals in front of me! (lesson learned)

WHAT I HAVE ACCOMPLISHED SO FAR: 
Since 2009, I have blundered my way through the blosphere, learning through a huge number of mistakes some small bits about blogging, tweeting, facebook(ing), and instagram. Along the way, I've made some friends, and I've had a few friends send me extra bits of wisdom via e-mail. Thank you, sweet friends!
Since 1992, I have had 102 short works accepted for publication and 101 of those published. (One is forthcoming in 2017.) I've gained momentum in the last two years. I've also gained determination - no matter the rate of rejection, I can still get published.
Since 2013, I have self-published: 3 novels, 3 writing prompt books (2 are journals), 3 writing curriculum books, 3 collections of short works, 1 study guide for a novel, 1 small devotional book, and 7 short or experimental fiction e-books. That's a total of 21 self-pubbed titles, although some are only at smashwords, and some are very short.
I have one novella published through a small press - this novella is associated with a youtube series with a tiny following.
I teach writing classes at a local homeschool co-operative, have taught one class on writing through my church, have taught some Sunday School classes over the last twenty years, and I have given the message at church a few dozen times. (This is all working on my public speaking skills, although that wasn't the primary motivation to speak on any of these ocassions.)

So, my additional question for those of you who are planning - have you written down what you've accomplished so far? 
It's a powerful thing to do - even if I realized that my results are not what I want them to be - lots of self-pubbed titles and very few sales. 

Merry Christmas! 
I'll still be around this month for a bit, but I know that many of you are snuggling up in blankets, reading books, and calling this year a wrap. To you and to all, I wish you a Merry Christmas, Much Holiday Cheer, and a Happy New Year!



An Apology to Jeff Chapman, who had an amazing guest post that everyone seemed to think was my writing last month . . .
I actually don't own an iPad.
Jeff writes on an iPad.
He guest posted.
If you looked up his blog, you may not have found him.
His website is here: Jeff Chapman Books
His twitter is here: Jeff on Twitter
His amazon page with oodles of awesome reads is here: Jeff Chapman at Amazon
Please stop by his website or his twitter or his amazon page and give him some writerly hugs!


Friday, November 25, 2016

Do You Have Goals? Mini-Thanksgiving Edition

HAPPY LATE THANKSGIVING!
Thank you, fellow writers, for all of your encouragement!
Thank you, Misha and Beth, for hosting this hop!


I'm keeping this short today. My last post was a wee bit long.

My main November goals were:
1.  - Thanksgiving - as an attitude and a holiday - Yes!

2. Exercise and Health - Hmm. Some. Lost my walking logbook, and had to guestimate.
Miles walked: at least 30

3.  NaNoWriMo - 32,870 words - I'm way behind schedule, and I had to write three essay responses to questions about homeschooling for my daughter's college applications today. Why did we homeschool? 638 word response. What methods of evaluation were used: 235 word response. What classes were taken outside of the home? 427 word response. I have three more due by the first. 

Update on NaNoWriMo - I squeezed through the finish line on Wednesday, just at 50, 102 words!

My December Goals Are:

1. Christmas Cheer!

2. Walk 50+ miles.

3. Yoga x 20 days of the month.

4. Write/Revise 25,000 words.


For Black Friday and Always:
Champion in the Darkness is free everywhere.
I have a bunch of short e-story books set free at Smashwords. 


How are your goals tracking this month?


Monday, November 21, 2016

Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Links, and a Look Ahead

HAPPY
THANKSGIVING!


Thanksgiving has changed for me.
Maybe it's because of dietary restrictions in the house - think food intolerances and digestive issues to an extreme factor (eggs, dairy, gluten, corn - just to name the most annoying ones),
but I started focusing on giving thanks for Thanksgiving.

My father-in-law sits at the head of the table and tells Sven and Oly jokes. 

Everyone is invited to the kitchen, before and after the feast, at my Aunt's house.
This year, we aren't getting together at my Aunt's house. It makes me sad. I'm missing my cousins - three of the younger ones are pictured here. And yes, we are all stuffing our faces on leftovers - just an hour after dinner. :)

This year is so different from previous years. Some loved ones are gone. Some have larger families that have invited them into new traditions. Every celebration is different, and yet, I still have thanksgiving in my heart.

Thank you, God, for giving me life!
Thank you, friends, for giving me cheer!
Thank you, family, for your love!
Thank you.
Thank you.
Thank you.

And, don't worry, I still eat turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, and pie on Thanksgiving. It's just a little more creative.

BLACK FRIDAY
I know that most people see this day as a day of insanity, rioting in stores, etc.
I know a wonderful group of people who see it as an opportunity to share..
On Friday, they have cookies to hand out to shoppers. 
They do this every year.
They don't shop.
They go to share love, kindness, and Christmas cheer.
If people want to talk, they might share their faith (but only if asked).
They inspire me.

Who inspires you on Black Friday?

If you don't have enough to do/read/consume this weekend, check out these links that I ran across recently:

LINKS

How to Write a Headline (for twitter, facebook, instagram, etc.)

Outline and Tracking Tool for Writers

Eight Elements of a Successful E-book Launch

50 Vague Phrases that Have No Business in Your Query

How Authors Can Build Their Audience on Instagram
Although - I have to say - it does matter how many times a day we post on instagram according to my two "in-house" teen experts. Once a day is best, twice is okay. Once a week is good, as long as it's on the same day every week.

The Social Media Frequency Guide
The numbers change on this type of article every time I read one, but it's good to stay updated on the latest data.

Black and White Publishing has a new way to publish books through youtube!
Check out this Flash Fiction story, "Breathe," by Milo James Fowler.





I really, really like this video: Know Your Why




And, this is a longer "Know your Why" type video about How Great Leaders Inspire Action







LOOKING AHEAD
Do You Have Goals? - This Friday
IWSG and Dressember - December 7th
Guest Post by Tara Tyler - December 14th
Last Post Before Christmas/The Reader Edition - December 19th
Do You Have Goals? And Early New Year - December 30th

What are you thankful for this year?

Do you know your why?



Wednesday, November 16, 2016

5 Reasons to Write About the Paranormal by Christine Rains

Please welcome the amazing Christine Rains to 
the 5 Reasons to Write Series





Thank so much for having me here today, Tyrean! More so, for inviting me to talk about two of my favorite things: writing and the paranormal.

Tyrean: Thanks for coming by, Christine!


The supernatural has fascinated me since I was a child. I was the kid who wished Halloween was every month, I picked up every scary book and film, and I was the always the first to investigate strange noises in the night. (I wouldn’t last long in a horror movie!) I had to share my love of the paranormal through my stories.


Here are five fantastic reason to write about the paranormal:


1) Escaping reality. Of course every story helps you escape from your every day life, but the paranormal can bring you into a whole new world. You can create a parallel dimension or craft a hidden society of wizards which exists within our mundane world. You aren’t limited by every day rules, but you must always keep in mind the rules of the world you do create.


2) In creating that world, you get to play with countless what-ifs. What if vampires were real and controlled all the major countries’ governments? What if powerful psychics banned together to control the world’s population through their cell phones? I always knew those things were going to land the human race in trouble! You can put forth a lot of food for thought with these what-ifs.


3) Supernatural characters are such fun to play with. Sure, they can shapeshift, have super speed, and can read your mind, but along with the strengths of being paranormal beings, they get the weaknesses. You can stick with the legends and have your vampires unable to go into the sunlight and your werewolves deathly allergic to silver. Or you can create new ways to torment your characters. And since your characters are supernaturally powerful, you can torture them in ways you couldn’t normal humans.


4) Most paranormal tales have elements of mystery and horror in them. It’s such an adrenaline rush to write the scary and suspenseful scenes. I love to get my heart pounding and bring goosebumps to my skin.


5) Wide-eyed wonder. Sometimes it’s difficult to put into words what you’re imagining in your head, especially when it isn’t real. Yet when you do find the right words, not only will you be happy, you will leave your readers in awe. The paranormal can be beautiful and horrifying, but it’s the otherness which attracts us. Every book which has made a lasting impression on me has hit me with this otherness, because I’m seeing something new and wonderful.


If you write paranormal stories, what’s your favorite thing about writing them?

And if you’re a reader, what’s your favorite thing about reading them?


Author Bio:
Christine Rains is a writer, blogger, and geek mom. She has four degrees which help nothing with motherhood but make her a great Jeopardy player. She’s a proud member of Untethered Realms and S.C.I.F.I. She has one novel and several novellas and short stories published. Her newest urban fantasy series, Totem, is her biggest project to date and weaves ancient Inuit myths with modern day society.


Newsletter: eepurl.com/3pxgr
Twitter: https://twitter.com/CRainsWriter
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorchristinerains

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Christine-Rains/e/B00AZYIAT4/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

A few notes from blog host, Tyrean:
1. "Rain Vigil" at A Story in 100 Words came out on Saturday. Plus, I have a vignette, "I am Patient," getting published in Vine Leaves Literary Journal tomorrow.

2. Children's author Stephanie Faris has a new book out in her Piper Morgan series!
Piper helps some four-legged friends find the perfect home in the third book of the brand-new Piper Morgan series.


3. Remember, if you want to escape reality with some wide-eyed wonder, read Christine!
Her latest book just came out!



No one messes with Saskia Dorn’s family and gets away with it.

The same murderous shifters who had hunted her sister have attempted to steal a magical totem pole. Since the pieces are scattered across Alaska, Saskia, a polar bear shifter, takes her search to the tundra for any signs of the lost totems.

Cloak of Snow - at Amazon

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Lynda Young's 5 Reasons to Write with Images



Please welcome Lynda R. Young to the 5 Reasons to Write Series




5 Reasons to Write with Images
by Lynda R. Young

1. For inspiration:  I once had an idea in my head about a place that functioned as a warehouse/shopping mall. It had to be different but I couldn’t see it. So I looked up ancient buildings in Google Images and found the perfect place with the perfect feel. It turned out to be a European Cathedral with vaulted ceilings, and a sense of awe seeping from the walls. The image helped me describe this strange place and brought the story alive.
An example: Click this Link

2. For posts: When a blogger or social media guru posts articles, the pieces are imminently more readable and engaging when images are included—whether they are graphs, photos, or drawings. In this visual culture, people are attracted to imagery and the pictures break up the text to make it easier to digest and understand.

3. For grounding: When a writer writes with word pictures—not just the description of the setting, but also what the characters are doing, feeling, smelling—the reader becomes grounded in the story and far more invested. The reader isn’t left in the dark to fill the gaps. They are, instead, carried away into a sensory experience, rich with imagery. They know exactly where they’ve been transported.

4. For engagement: To mix up the way you say things in your writing is to help keep the reader engaged. For example, the use of figurative language like analogies, similes and metaphors helps paint a picture in the reader’s mind that offers them a different perspective on a subject. Even using general description—a word here, a sentence there—can build a remarkable picture for the reader that will stay with them for a long time.

5. For sharing a passion: Passion is often displayed through the teller by the indepth way they speak or write about the object of their passion. The more detail, the more pictures painted in words, even actual pictures, the more others understand the depth of that passion.

So there you have it: my five reasons to write with images.
What would your reasons be?

Lynda R. Young
Lynda R Young writes devotionals, articles, and speculative short stories. In her spare time she is also an editor, game developer, artist, and dabbles in photography and all things creative. She lives in Australia with her sweetheart of a husband. You can find her here: BlogTwitterFacebookGoodreads

Her debut daily devotional, Cling to God, can be found here: Amazon PaperbackAmazon kindleNookB&NKoboiTunesGoodreads.


A few notes from blog host, Tyrean: 
#1 Lynda's devotional book is one of the best devotional books I've read in years. I haven't finished it yet because I'm savoring it. I highly recommend it!

#2 Crystal Collier's newest book came out last week and I missed the party. :( So, let's throw confetti and dance for her book and Lynda's at the same time.
BUY ON

Visit Crystal here: 
Unleashing the dream world, one book at a time 


#3 I had a unexpected novella come out. See story about that here. I am working at getting the latest pdf from my small press publisher for some reviews. If you are interested, please e-mail me here: tyreantigger (at) gmail (dot) com - it's a paranormal early MG novella.

#4 I had a drabble published and a poem published in the last five days. If you have time, read them here: "Guidance Counseling" at The Drabble and here: "Waves" at Leaves of Ink. And, currently Seven by Twenty is running a series of Twitter-sized stories: "Selkies," "Wind-walker," "Rain Blanket," "Swim Lessons," and "Sorrowing Rain" - all coming out this week. 

Now, please, dance with Lynda and Crystal!!! Celebrations commence!