Book Release and YOU

By Jennifer Hallmark

Have you enjoyed our month of discussing all things book release? Here’s a quick overview in case you missed any of our posts:

To me, what’s most important about a book release is that you enjoy yourself. Yes, be serious and do the work but don’t get so busy and stressed, that you miss the fun. For it is filled with fun.  And kind words. And sales. And meeting and talking to people.

So enjoy yourself. And make sure to stop by in December as we share cool memes and writing quotes. No articles?

Not in December. But those informative posts on writing will be back in January. Until then, have a blessed holiday season…

Writing Insights with Rosey Lee

Thank you for having me! I’m Rosey Lee. My stories are usually about relationships between family members and friends–the ups, the down, and everything in between. Most of us are dealing with heavy things in real life, so I try to make my stories hopeful but real. My author’s tagline is “Uplifting stories with a little bit of hope, faith, and love.”

What do you love most about the writing process? I love that writing often helps me process things that I see happening in the world every day. I kind of think about life as a story. Maybe that came from reading parables when I was growing up. I frequently think about what my story would be if someone told it. It seems a narrative perspective is always with me, so I try to put it front and center when I write.

If you could give advice to your younger writing self, what would it be? I would say to listen the inner voice that said, “Hey, you’re pretty good at this writing thing.” I always knew that I wanted to write books, but there was a part of me that wondered if I was good enough to do it. So I wasn’t proactive about writing. If I’d believed that I was good enough at some pivotal moments, I’d have sought opportunities to develop myself as a writer when my schedule was more flexible.

What are common traps for aspiring writers? I think it’s easy to get stuck ruminating on the obstacles we’ve faced and what we haven’t done. We should give ourselves more grace. So often, aspiring writers are too hard on themselves for not taking their writing seriously in the past, and they get stuck there. They don’t write because they’re disappointed in themselves for not writing when they were younger, when they had more time, when they didn’t have such a demanding job, when they didn’t have kids, when they didn’t have so many responsibilities, or whatever. That type of thinking becomes a barrier and can prevent us from getting started or prevent our work from being more impactful.

What was the best money you ever spent as a writer? I’ve taken some amazing writing classes. My first online writing class taught me about flash fiction, which eventually led to my new flash fiction collection – Beautiful, Complicated Family. I’ve since participated in an online writing boot camp and several online writing workshops that helped me to learn about flash fiction and provided a supportive environment and feedback on the stories I created during the sessions.

Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with good or bad ones? Yes, I do. Of course, it’s important not to fixate on positive or negative reviews. But so far, I’ve found book reviews to be helpful overall. As a new writer, its motivating to see which themes resonated with readers and that I’m hitting my target of providing uplifting content. I want readers to enjoy my stories, but I also hope the stories impact them on a deeper level. If those things aren’t happening consistently, I need to make some tweaks. Of course, you can’t make everyone happy, and I also like to understand why someone doesn’t like something about my stories. But I always remind myself not to take it personally. As they say, “everything ain’t for everybody.”

What is your current WIP? I’m working on a novel about a family that’s forgotten what family is about. I suppose it’s still in keeping with the overarching theme of my flash fiction collection, because the family in my WIP is beautiful yet complicated. Then again, aren’t most families?


Click to tweet: I’m Rosey Lee. My stories are usually about relationships between family members and friends–the ups, the down, and everything in between. Most of us are dealing with heavy things in real life, so I try to make my stories hopeful but real. My author’s tagline is “Uplifting stories with a little bit of hope, faith, and love.”


About the Author:

Rosey Lee writes uplifting fiction stories about family and friendship. A native of the Westbank of New Orleans, Louisiana, Rosey is a fan of good food and a good time. As a child, she dreamed of a career in writing, fashion design, and acting. She uses the pen name Rosey Lee as she pursues her passion for writing. Her alter ego is a physician who has dedicated her career to individual and community-based approaches to health equity. She enjoys cooking, flower arranging, listening to live music, and occasional bursts of fanatical bargain shopping.

Rosey’s flash fiction has appeared in Necessary Fiction, Bending Genres, Barren Magazine, Turnpike Magazine, The Wellington Street Review, and elsewhere. Her work has also been nominated for the 2019 Best of the Net anthology. Connect with her at roseyleebooks.com and @roseyleebooks on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Book Blurb:
Beautiful, Complicated Family: Volume 1 and Beautiful, Complicated Family: Volume 2 explore the connections that can hold people together or tear them apart. The stories in this collection capture struggles that are common in today’s families—secrets, mother-daughter conflicts, coping with aging family members, and a more subtle question of what makes a family. The issues will seem familiar to you, but there are unexpected twists when you least expect them. The relatable characters and endings may pull at your heartstrings, so don’t be surprised if you laugh or cry along the way. Like most families, the relationships in this uplifting collection consist of intricate elements. Sometimes things get messy, but it’s always beautiful. Each volume contains five flash fiction stories (very short stories of 1000 words or less each). Read each story in about 5 minutes and get Volume 2 of the collection for free using a link within Volume 1.

Get Beautiful, Complicated Family: Volume 1 on:

 

November – Write that novel!

They keep you up at night or wake you early in the morning. They are the characters that are swirling and dancing in all writers. They want out of our brains and onto the paper or screen. It’s time to let them out! Send them on their story journey. Let your characters flow into the story you weave. It’s National Novel Writing Month, your designated month for unabashed writing.

November is the month, and the challenge is on by NaNoWrIMO.ORG to write 50,000 words in November. This equates to a strong and very rough draft of your novel. It’s your jump start to get your story out of your head.

How can this be done? In simplest terms, 1,667 words per day. Just sit down and let them flow. All the excuses are out the window according to a post by NY Book Editors. I need a plan. I need an outline. What about my plot chart? For those of you who are planners, this may be hard. I count myself among you. But when I wrote the first draft of my book during Nano-WriMO a few years ago, it was the most freeing feeling to just sit down everyday and write. My story lines and characters took me in many directions I could have never planned. I ended the month and the draft with 55,152 words and a giant YIPPEE!

To make this fun and a way to connect with others doing the same thing, check out the NANOWriMO website and log in. There are resources and community forums by region of the country, and around the world, that let you know you’re not alone in this challenge. Check around your local community for other writers taking the challenge. Some writer groups hold writing events to help encourage one another. These events include just time to write among other writers, word games to stimulate wordsmithing, and other fun writing exercises for getting those novels drafted.

Move the Halloween candy wrappers aside, and welcome November with a challenge that could be the first step in your next (or first) published book.

I’m in, are you?

7 Tips for accepting the challenge:

  1. If you hit writer’s block, stop and get a glass of water. Drink it. Sit down and write a scene with one of your other characters.
  2. Phone a trusted writing friend if you find yourself slowing down and talk about your story. A fifteen-minute conversation may spur some new ideas.
  3. Even if you are writing a scene and you know there are flaws, keep writing. Something good will come of it in the next draft.
  4. Carve the time anywhere – lunch, carpool, a few minutes before bed.
  5. Mid-month slow-down? Look how far you’ve come! Connect with other writers and keep going.
  6. Feel like you are getting behind in your word count? Keep going. On the off chance you don’t end up with 50,000 words, you will be so much further along.
  7. Remember, no editing, just writing.

Let’s connect:
Facebook and Twitter: @KHRWriter
Instagram: KHRichardson5

Wipe Your Face Girl, and Act Right.

By Tammy Trail

This past summer I went back to the state of my birth to visit family and friends. I attended a reunion with my mother and a group of her grade school friends. I recalled that they had grown up in a time where rules, like etiquette, still mattered. Unlike today, where you see people grocery shopping in their pajamas. A personal pet peeve of mine.

Is there any part of our society that still follows rules of etiquette, you may ask?  Why yes, there is. Allow me to point out that as writers we have standards we should follow, at least until you are established enough to break them.

First let’s determine what etiquette is: A code of polite conduct. Should you practice proper etiquette you are less likely to offend or annoy people – you may even charm them.

For writers, it is no different. I remember when I first attended a writer’s meeting for my local chapter group. A multi-published author was a member of our group. Being new to the whole scene I gushed to my two writer friends about this author. They both looked at me like I had a cat on my head. “You’re not going to go all weird on us, are you? They might frown on that.”  I assure them both that I did know how to act right! Yes, it’s a funny story, and I did wait to be introduced before telling said author that I enjoyed her books.

In the publishing world there are a few “rules” to follow while submitting your work to an editor, or for an agent’s consideration for representation:

  1. DO YOUR RESEARCH. Please take the time to look for an agent that wants to represent your genre. For example, you wouldn’t send a Young Adult Fantasy proposal to an agent who only wants to represent Historical Romance. If you do your homework, you can find an agent’s bio and what kind of manuscripts they are looking for, simply by googling their name.
  1. FOLLOW THE GUIDELINES. Once you have settled on the agent or editor you would like to work with, do look for their query guidelines to submit your proposal to them for consideration. You can find these on most websites under a submissions. There you may also find what they are looking for in the genre, and how they would like the email to be sent along with the email address. 

  1. SELF EDIT. Look over your proposal very carefully. Punctuation and grammar, as well as spelling errors  are telling. If your proposal is not up to standard, chances are a professional will assume your manuscript is written in the same manner. Don’t get a strikeout at first base, get a home run by taking just a few more minutes to read your proposal with more care. Then get to work on editing that manuscript too. 
  1. DON’T RESPOND TO REJECTION. There are often many reasons why an agent may send a rejection. Perhaps they have enough historical fiction manuscripts. Maybe your story is too closely written like another writer they represent. Or perhaps you need to become more seasoned in your writing. If you should get a bit of a response from your query that gives positive feedback, consider yourself on your way. Take those grains of wisdom and look at your manuscript with new eyes. We can always do better. 
  1. TAKE THE TIME TO LEARN THE CRAFT. Writing is hard and not for the faint of heart. I often remind myself to stay focused on writing the best story of my ability. Getting published is a wonderful goal. But to get there, we all need to stay in the trench and dig out the story before we can go to higher ground and have that book in our hands with an author credit. In all things, seek God’s wisdom and direction. In doing so, you can never fail.

Click-to-Tweet: Etiquette for Writers – In the publishing world there are a few rules to follow while submitting your work to an editor or for an agent’s consideration for representation. #publishing #etiquette

Writing Prompt: Compose a short email message, thanking an editor for your latest rejection.

5 Tips to Hone Your Craft

This month we’re sharing our ideas on how to become better writers. In this post, I’m sharing what’s helped me to hone my craft. Let’s get started.

Writing

Practice makes perfect. Just like musicians learn a piece of music by practicing every day, a writer learns by writing. The more you write the more writing becomes second nature. If you’re not writing every day, you’re missing out on opportunities to hone your craft.

Joining a Critique Group

I can’t say enough about this tip. Nothing can teach you more than critiquing another’s work. When I’m reading a manuscript—or a book—I listen to the cadence of words in a sentence. I notice what works and what doesn’t. If you’re not in a critique group, make it a priority to join one today!

Blogging

Whether you post every day or once a week, blogging connects you with an amazing group of people who will teach you even more about the craft. You will learn the art of networking as you follow and meet new people. Blogging also adds accountability to your writing schedule. And who knows, you just might meet that fantastic critique partner!

Conferences/Online Classes/Websites

The last weekend in September, I attended the ACFW At-Home conference. The classes included downloadable lessons, PDFs, and PowerPoint® presentation along with a Facebook Group where the attendees could meet and ask questions. It was fun and informative.

Another way to hone your craft is online classes. I’ve taken several classes on writing and self-care this year and enjoyed each one. I like the convenience and the affordability of online classes. Some were free while others required a small fee.

Finally, websites are a great way to hone your craft. Find one you like—like this blog—and follow. A search for writing on your favorite social media app will list several sites to follow. I’m sure you will find one you like. Here’s a link to get you started.

Books

Need advice on editing your story? How about publishing? You can find a how-to book on most subjects in your local library or your favorite bookstore app. While you’re there, don’t forget the fiction section. The more you read, the more you learn!

And there you have it. 5 tips to hone your craft. So, don’t waste anymore time. Your story is waiting!

Click to Tweet: If you’re not #writing every day, you’re missing out on opportunities to hone your craft. by @GailJohnson87 via @InspiredPrompt

Writing Prompt: Plan to search the web and social media for blogs on writing. Make a list of sites and books that would help you hone your craft. Then put that plan into action.