Writing

All Authors Blog Blitz

Today I am taking part in the All Authors Blog Blitz put on by Y. Correa and the All Authors Magazine. (a very well put-togther magazineyou should have a look)

I am featuring Debbie Boswell on my blog today. She is the author of House of Mirrors

Meet Debbie…

Debbie Boswell has a B.S. in accounting and an Enrolled Agent license (E.A.).  She is also the owner/manager of Crafts by Grace, a cottage industry in which she makes candles, soap and designs T-shirts.  Debbie co-wrote and co-produced her first screenplay, OPEN/CLOSE, through the Brooklyn Young Filmmakers Center.  House of Mirrors is her second novel.  Debbie resides in Brooklyn, NY where she was born and raised.

Here is a little bit about her journey in coming up with her novel, followed by the book trailer…

The first step is always the hardest. 

I was at Grand Central, watching the lunchtime crowd and worrying about a schedule I had to prepare that afternoon.  I’d never done that particular one before and in the anal attentive world of public accounting, perfection wasn’t an option.  I got my head chewed off by a tax manager once for not having the staples aligned evenly on a tax return.  To this day, I can’t staple my income tax return without developing a nervous tic.

As I observed workers hurrying back and forth with their Styrofoam cups or grabbing that quick bite before dashing back to the office, it hit me:  I hate my job.  Co-workers sighing loudly and scratching themselves before the day begins, permanent scowls branded on their faces, the schmoozing, the backstabbing.  This lifestyle wasn’t for me.  I needed to make a change.

I always wanted to work for myself.  I assumed it would’ve been accounting-related, but deep down, my soul was crying out for me to write.  I was writing stories ever since I was a little girl.  I used to get this spark every time our class went to the library or whenever I had to write a story, had art class or rehearsed for the school play.  While commuting to work or during lunch, I was reading books and magazines on how to write a manuscript.  I fantasized about seeing my novels in bookstores, even better, having them made into film!  Oddly, that spark returned during these activities.  I knew then what I wanted and if I wanted to feel that zest for my job again or for life, I was going to have to be true to myself.  I wasn’t an executive.  I was a writer.

However, the pressure to conform overrode my desires.  Fear of going against social mores kept me trapped.  So, I remained where I was, losing pieces of myself overtime, enduring nervousness and emotional abuse in the cutthroat environment of corporate America where I also faced the possibility of fading into oblivion.

Yet something inside of me kept saying, You don’t have to accept this lifestyle.

But fear is powerful.  It prevented me from taking the necessary step to make a changeuntil I got a little push, more like a shove—from a totally unexpected and unrelated incident.  I was figuratively, pushed into a pool without any water.  Devastated, hurt and angry, I took stock of my life and finally found the courage I needed to start living for me.

Gradually, I walked away from the corporate life.  Was it scary?  A little.  Adjustment always is.  Even starting this website is intimidating.  Plus, there’s risk of criticism and rejection.  Then again, I was experiencing that in academia, then in the work world.  Why not go through it while doing what I love:  writing?

Traces of my misadventures in accounting are in my debut novel, Miriam’s Journey.  The turning point I reached after that shove provided some material for my current novel, House of Mirrors, which ironically, which would’ve been my first novel, but after writing the first hundred or so pages, I decided that I wasn’t ready to write this particular story yet, so I put it aside.

The pain that led me to take that first step into writing produced two novels, my own business, Crafts by Grace and a screenplay but that’s another story….

You can also find out more about Debbie here: CraftsByGrace

Cover Reveal for “If Death Should Love Me” by C. Desert Rose

I am pleased to spread the word for fellow author, C. Desert Rose, in her cover reveal of If Death Should Love Me

I have read some short stories by Ms Rose and look forward to more of her works.

CovIDSHere is the blurb:

A dull roar, that’s all I could hear. Souls, that’s all I could see… So many people. Some good. Some bad. Some breathing. Some barely breathing. All souls. It was funny what you could see when you stood in the middle of the Emergency Room. Who survived. Who didn’t. All of them, every one, a soul. A soul for the taking.
So begins your introduction to the floating, clustered world of souls that will have such influence on Sophia, the young Puerto Rican-American girl who has just lost her closest ally, her grandmother, “Abuela”. It is just after the funeral, at the cemetery, where Sophia meets the tall, almost angelic man who will play the most unexpected role in her life.
A love story. A fantasy. An adventure. If Death Should Love Me tells a tale of “fate” far beyond the normal meaning of that little four letter word. How else would you explain why Sophia wonders what would happen If Death Should Love Me?

To learn more about C. Desert Rose please visit her website:  http://cdesertrose.com

Night Dreams – The Series Trailer

It’s nowhere near Halloween, but when you write horror, the time  never seems to move or shift out of that month or realm. The calender becomes a place only for projects and deadlines – and, well, a few birthdays along the way. Thus is the life of us all in the writing biz.

That out of the way … I wanted to share the trailer for the series I am currently writing: Night Dreams. The series (serialized fiction) follows a Dream Psychologist, Dr. Joseph Rickettes, who has no choice but to live out the nightmares of his patients in hopes of curing them of their demons. He is bound by the demons in their dreams, while he struggles to make sense of the nightmares that plague his own life.

Each episode is in the 20,000 word range and carries the story from his childhood, when he discovered his gift, to Joseph meeting his wife, Andrea, and beyond.

Enjoy!

Episode One – The Beginning focuses on how it all started for Joseph and how he came to possess his power, or curse, to delve into and live out, the nightmares of others.

Episode Two – Andrea’s Demon answers questions about Andrea’s nightmares and the demon that haunts her. Joseph’s gift is severely tested by the demon out to crossover into the real world and take his wife’s soul. Joseph battles his own demons as his wife, marriage, and life are all put in jeopardy.

Episode Three – Rising Darkness takes Andrea’s story further and into a darker, more evil place, and into a battle with something Joseph never could have imagined.

The complete series will have at least six episodes. Thanks for reading and watching!

~ALJ~

Why Should An Author Self-Publish?

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That is a question that can have many answers, and I’m willing to bet that if you took a poll with authors, you would get varied opinions, ideas, and reasons why. And to me, that is the beauty of the question – each author, with their own creative minds and with their own creative ideas will have their own reasons why.

But before we get to that, the first question we have to ask ourselves is why do we write in the first place? If you ask me that question my answer will always be, because I Iove to write. Our love for writing propels us to use our creativeness, refine it, and release it to the world. We spend hours, days, months, and sometimes even years getting that story out of our head and ready for readers to enjoy. To do that, you have to get published – either electronically or in print. This leads back to the title of this post.

The answer lies within the prospects of you getting published by a one of the ‘Big 6’ publishing houses. (It may be the Big 5 by now, based on mergers and buy-outs.) If you are one of the few to get that big deal, then most of the things that involve the process of self-publishing will not concern you. The publisher will take care of all the behind-the-scene details. If you are not one of those few then the answer is . . . YES! But this post isn’t about traditional vs self-publishing.

Now that we got all of that out of the way, let’s focus on what most of us will face – then ins-and-outs of self-publishing.

ALL DONE
Now that we are done with our novel, novella, or short-story, we need to refine it, edit it, and make it ready for the masses. The process of editing and having a second, third, and even a fourth draft is something for another post, but the editing process must be addressed seriously before moving on to the next step. Now once we have that done and we have our cover art done, we can start to see the light at the end of the tunnel. There are other things that are involved in the self-publishing process, and again, that is something for another article.

I want to go back to something I wrote earlier – We write because we love to do it. For me, that is the biggest truth in all of this. Believe me, I will take all the profits that my work produces, icing on the cake, if you will. But the feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction of setting a goal and completing it is the number one reason. Writing something that is yours gives you total control, and that control is one of the great advantages of going indie.

CONTROL
The times have changed and the best part of self-publishing is having control of everything about your work from start to finish. Most of the authors I know, and have corresponded with, prefer having a grasp on their projects and their future. While having control comes with its own financial costs, in the end, a self-published author will always receive more of a profit because of substantially lower commission rates. And yes, while we do write because we love to do it, once we put our product out into the public and it is up for sale, then there has to be some business-minded thinking involved.

Having complete control that comes with self-publishing, is the biggest difference in being traditionally-published. You get to decide which way you want your story to go. You get to decide what cover art works best for you. Only the author of the story they tell, or book they write, can know what concept they want their book cover to reveal. In my own case, I have done cover art prior to writing and I have done them after the story was finished. Both have their advantages and both can guide you in your writing based on what your cover reveals. Another part of that control Is for you to decide on doing your cover art yourself or hiring a cover designer to get it just the way you want it. Sometimes it’s good to get someone else’s perspective and ideas. But again, you have the control!

Since there are so many distributors to make your book available, deciding on where, when, and setting the pricing points, is entirely up to you. Publishing ebooks does not cost a thing, if you take the time and learn how to do it yourself. If not, with all the resources available, you can get your work formatted at a relatively low cost.

If you decide to sale your book in print, once the file is in the proper format, usually PDF, you can have your book up for sale at no cost. This is possible because of POD, or print-on-demand. Basically, your book is a file sitting on a company’s server and when someone places an order to buy your book, it prints it, cover and all, and it is sent out to the reader. The companies involved in this, (Createspace, Lulu, Lightning Source) take their cost for printing, paper, etc, then you get the residual. The best part of publishing your books these two ways is CONTROL. You choose the sale price, thus determining your profit percentage. Being able to have your book in paperback and it not cost a thing is almost too hard to believe, but it is very real and being done daily.

ACCOMPLISHMENT
Doing it yourself, from start to finish, gives you an overwhelming sense of accomplishment – more so than being traditionally-published, in my opinion. I say that because it is a long road from the time you type or write your first word of your masterpiece to the fine-polished and finished product. At that point, only YOU truly know how much hard work you have put into it. The blood, sweat, and tears are only experienced by you. And no matter the sales or the reviews, good or bad, you will have done something many people have said they would do . . . finish writing a book! The sense of accomplishment in that can never be taken away from you. You gave birth to your idea and saw it to the end.

TAKING RESPONSIBILITY
Remember when you were a kid and you did something that would get you in trouble? Back then most of us would not take responsibility for our bad actions, and it was only until our parents ‘persuaded’ us into telling the truth. But taking responsibility for something as exciting as writing a book is easy because it should fill you with a sense of pride . The difference here is that the words you have ‘penned’ are solely yours – your ideas, thoughts, and hard work. You are responsible for the finished product, and if you did it the self-published route, then it’s all your baby to claim and be proud of.

THE JOURNEY
Speaking for myself and my travels down this self-publishing road, I am very happy with what I have accomplished. Make no mistake, writing is hard work, and if you add in the rest of what goes along with self-publishing, the work is even harder, but in the end, knowing you did it right and did it yourself will propel you to your next big project. The self-confidence that self-publishing brings is priceless. We can’t forget we have to do all of the little things to put out a good product and make it just as professional as a ‘Big 6’ production.

So get out there and gather as much information as possible and use that to make your dream come true . . . and Self-Publish!

ALJ

Creating A Story

The Building Blocks

Creativity, be it for a writer, musician, artist, or anyone who takes something from scratch and completes a work that will be seen or heard by the masses, is something special for the one giving birth to their idea. This creates two separate points of view – the producer’s and then the reader’s, listener’s and viewer’s. King, Beethoven and Van Gogh all started from scratch, somewhere.
This being an author’s blog, it’s only appropriate that we talk about how we create our stories. I get a lot of inspiration visually, from things I see out in the world – most by chance or from stumbling across something unusual. I have found that looking at pictures, or still images, as a photographer would call them, can find its own place in my imagination.
Many of the places in my stories are real places that I have visited or grew up around and each have their own story waiting to be written. Of course, our minds are the most creative thing we have, so if we don’t use visuals or places to build our stories, we always can start from scratch and still make our masterpiece.

Filling in the Blanks

Now that we have our ideas ready to go, it’s time to put them down on paper (an old saying that’s hard to break) and complete that story. We have the building-blocks and foundation, but now we must fill in the in-betweens. This is where our creativity and imagination must run wild in that first draft. We must be relentless in our process of storytelling and pound away at that keyboard. We must not stymie our mind’s creative process with editing while in the heat of the battle – just let it flow and fill in the blanks. I don’t mean this in a reckless fashion, but we all know that great feeling when all the neurons are firing and the writing comes almost effortlessly. The blanks are filled and original inspiration starts to become a complete story.

The Rest of the Story

And yes, of course, the editing will come, and many of the words we have pounded out will be rearranged, reworded, or even disappear altogether. But this short entry is about how we create our stories and start to build them into the next Bestseller! This is only the start of the complete process that takes hard work, determination, and sometimes sheer will, but every story must start somewhere with some idea, no matter where it was conceived and born.

You have to absolutely love it to write it, and then finish the entire process. Sometimes getting started is the hardest part, but I promise you that once you get there, you will have half of the battle won.

Where do you find your inspiration for creating your masterpiece?

Happy creative writing,

~ALJ~

(image via empowernetwork.com)

All Authors Blog Blitz: Penelope Silvers

130203-165744I am pleased to have author Penelope Silvers on my blog and as part of the All Authors Blog Blitz. I’ll let Penelope tell you more…

My journey to being an author began many moons ago when my kids were little. When our daughter was about 2 1/2 years of age, we discovered that she was partially deaf. When she was school age and after much discussion, we decided to home-school her. I would work with her at home on speech therapy so that she would not be labeled as a “dummy” and filed away into a program inside the public school system–or worse–send her away to attend a special school for the deaf and the blind.

 I worked with her daily, teaching her to read, write and speak. When her brother was born, he just naturally absorbed the lessons I was teaching to his sister. Once they were both old enough, we began a multifaceted language arts program called “Total Language Plus”, which combined all the language arts into one curriculum through the reading of classical literature (reading, writing, spelling, grammar, punctuation, etc.) . I was actually getting an education I realized, for the first time in my life, by teaching my children.

 It was also during this time that I began journaling. I have struggled with depression my entire life, and sometimes things in my life felt so dark and bleak that I didn’t know how to cope. Sometimes, I felt as if I just didn’t want to go on. Journaling, along with prayer, helped me to at least get these feelings out of my head and sorted out in such a way that I could make it through each day.

 Since I was a young girl, I have always been a voracious reader. I used to hide away in my room with the latest “Nancy Drew” book, and found myself swept away by the fun and mysterious stories of Nancy and her pals Bess, George, and Ned. When I began teaching my kids, we had weekly library runs and brought home stacks and stacks of various genres of books to read. We loved finding new mysteries, biographies, historical fiction, non-fiction–whatever grabbed our attention at the time. I always had my nose inside of a book right alongside my kids. I knew that if dinner was on the table, and my daughter was nowhere to be found, she would be hiding out in her room, immersed in the pages of a book.

 I did not consider seriously writing for publication until about seven years ago, when a traumatic life situation sent me back to serious journaling. I wrote and wrote and wrote to again sort out my feelings and combat the depression. I would go back over the journals later, and think, “Hmm…this is pretty good stuff.” I could definitely write a book from this.

 I received an Amazon Kindle for Christmas about three years ago, and became intrigued with digital ebooks. I was also dismayed by the sheer number of garbage books that I was downloading–non-fiction and fiction. The material was weak and there were so many glaring errors in the formatting. I knew I could do better.

 I began the process of investigating courses that taught writers how to write and publish digital books, and the last two years has been spent learning the process of writing for Kindle; the formatting, uploading, and promotion. It has been quite a journey. Not easy, but well worth the time. I decided I would write non-fiction to begin, since that seems to be the fastest type of book to get written. I have several written sitting on my hard drive, but five books are finished and currently up for sale on the Amazon marketplace.

 The book, “Put the Pause in Your Menopause” was written purely as a lead-in to a series of books entitled “Body Revolution Solution.” I had no idea how popular the book would be, and this book has turned out to be my biggest seller.  I set out to write about my journey using the “Body Revolution” weight loss system of Jillian Michaels, and that’s how those books were born. As my husband and I were living this weight loss journey, it dawned on me that the changes I was making to my diet and exercise were benefiting my menopause symptoms. I am a part of several women’s groups, and it breaks my heart reading about the stories of women who are crying out for help and relief. They think that they have to take hormone replace supplements in order to feel good. They are going to their doctors and begging for HRT’s and the fact is, that they are unproven, and can actually provoke more symptoms and cause more problems than they help.  I wrote the menopause book to talk with women about this natural phase of life and how their bodies will respond to natural methods, using diet and exercise for feeling good and looking great.

I am currently working on a recipe book to go along with “Put the Pause in Your Menopause”, a romance novel, and some flash fiction. I hope to have all of these published by the end of July. The journey has been very rewarding, and the work of an author never ends!

Penelope also has a radio show named  Blog Talk Radio. Click here to listen to an interview with her:  Blog Talk Radio

Also connect with her at:

Facebook

Twitter

PhilosBooks

Thanks to Penelope for sharing her journey and story!

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All Authors Blog Blitz Featuring Author Katharina Gerlach

Today I am pleased to feature author Katharina Gerlach through the All Authors Blog Blitz put on at Goodreads by author Y. Correa. Enjoy!

Katharina Gerlach is a writer of Young Adult books and an independent publisher. Living in Germany despite her preference for all things Scottish, she writes fantasy and historical novels in English and German. All of her stories have a slight European flavor.

In my opinion, writing Horror, like writing humor, is much harder than writing any other genre. Things that paralyze me might not be scary for someone else, so naturally I shy from the genre. Unfortunately, once in a while, a story or nightmare pops up that fits the genre. Sometimes I can set it aside, but sometimes the story insists on getting written.
This happened with the story “Wedding Nights” in my two-story anthology

I woke from a nightmare that scared me so much, I had to get it out by writing a story loosely based on the dream. When I finished revising it, I set it aside to never look at it again (I still cannot read the story to this day).

One day, a small German publisher asked me to submit a story to a horror anthology. On a whim, I send this one and it was accepted. That’s the reason why I have a short horror anthology among all my Young Adult and Middle Grade fantasy stories and historical novels.
Whenever another nightmare will force me to write more horror stories, I will add them to the existing anthology. For me, it’s the best way to “get rid” of them, and for some readers it might just be the scare they had been looking for.

I want to thank Katharina for sharing her experience and story with us. As a fan and writer of horror, I can easily relate to this!

Please visit Katharina:

Her Website

Follow on Twitter

Like on Facebook

Author Profile on Goodreads

Book Trailer “Floor Four” – Win a Copy

For a chance to win a signed print copy of Floor Four- A Novella of Horror, comment and name your favorite horror novel or story below. You can increase your chances by signing up for my Free Newsletter “The Project”

Get exclusive content and news on new releases and giveaways – only to Project members.

3 Winners will be chosen June 4th!