Writer Wednesday: Public Speaking for Authors #ReadingAloud #WriterWednesday #WednesdayWisdomForWriters #PublicSpeaking #WW @Bellatrix_Press

Author April L Wood

writerwednesdaypublicspeaking

I can remember a joke on Seinfeld where Jerry said that most people would rather be the person in the casket than the person giving the eulogy at a funeral. I don’t know that I’d I’d rather be in the casket, but public speaking terrifies me.

Image result for public speaking gifs

In college, public speaking was a required course for my English minor and I hated every second of it. My final exam was to speak to the class for 45 minutes, so I chose the controversial subject of the death penalty. This actually worked out well for me because people were speaking out and it took the attention off of me. 🙂 For another speaking exam, I devised a how-to class where I taught everyone how to make a dessert (peanut-butter apple smiles). I’m a nervous, fidgety person and keeping my hands busy during the dessert demonstration helped. Plus, whenever someone needed help, I…

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What Happens When You Don’t Make Your Goals? You Keep Going, Of Course #WriterWednesday #amwriting #goals

About a week ago I started prepping my blog posts for 2017, including my yearly writing goals… And that got me to thinking about my 2016 goals, and one goal in particular that I am not going to achieve. I’d planned to release five novels this year, but that just won’t be happening.

I started off strong, and released Changing Scenes on January 5. The Virgin Queen released on April 5, and Copper Veins FINALLY came out on July 27. And then…crickets.

The other two titles I’d intended to release this year were Changing Fate, the third installment in my contemporary romance series, Changes, and Rise of the Deva’shi, the third Chronicle of Parthalan. After I was done being mad at myself for not making these goals, I took a step back and tried to figure out what happened.

In the case of Changing Fate, there were a few things going on. In all honesty Changing Scenes came out way too quickly (Changing Teams released October 29, 2015, and Changing Scenes hit the shelves on January 5, 2016), and I never got the chance to properly promote it.  Add that to the fact that I have two other currently-releasing series, am querying a fourth, am in grad school full time, and have the Wonder Twins, husband, and pets to wrangle, and, well, I think you know why Changing Fate isn’t coming out until next year. Oy.

The situation is a bit different for Rise of the Deva’shi. Even though this is the third Chronicle of Parthalan, it was originally released back in 2009. (Long story. Someday, when y’all have insomnia, I’ll tell you all about it.) So it was supposed to re-release this year, being that Bellatrix Press picked up the entire series. Everything was lined up, and then… well, I did a thing.

I was supposed to hand over the manuscript to the editor by August 1. In the meantime I’d been reworking and tweaking away, and I kept getting stuck on this one section. It didn’t really fit with the overall tone of the book, and our hero, Aeolmar, was behaving out of character. There were some good scenes in that passage, and some awesome bits of dialogue, but in the end it had to go.

So, the day before the manuscript was due, I cut 24,000 words.

Yes, twenty four THOUSAND.

As you can imagine, this turn of events meant that the manuscript was delivered somewhat later than promised, hence the delayed release date. But you know what? I’m glad I chopped out that part of the story. Now my editor is concentrating on the actual meat of the novel, not trying to make a few bits of dialogue and weird scenes fit into the overall narrative. This means that when Rise of the Deva’shi is released, it will be a stronger story. Since I took my time with Changing Fate, it will be a stronger story, too.

Your take-away from all of this is DON’T RUSH YOUR WRITING. I don’t recommend making huge plot changes the day before your deadline, either, but if you need more time don’t be afraid to ask for it. The story takes as long as it takes. And you do want to put out the best story possible, right?

ProvostHeirToTheSun

A mad king. An escaped slave. One warrior to save the realm…

Heir to the Sun is currently on sale for 99 cents here: http://amzn.to/2cSkNSx

My next appearance will be at Bing Comic Con in Springfield, MA on October 22: http://www.bingcomiccon.org/

StrangeAuthorsSign up for my mailing list here and get a free ebook anthology, Strange Authors!

 

Writer Wednesday – Things To Consider Before Submitting Your Manuscript #amwriting #amediting #WedmesdayWisdomForWriters

Hey there writers! Today I’d like to discuss things that you need to have ready when submitting your manuscript, but many writers overlook. It’s easy enough to do, since we typically spend so much time polishing our work to perfection, but every item I’ve listed below is absolutely essential, if not for the initial query then for the final product.

Of note, these guidelines are for fiction projects. Nonfiction book proposals are a whole different blog post!

  1. A tag line, also called a hook or a log line – your book will need something catchy that draws the reader in.
  2. Front cover – while no one’s expecting you to send in cover mock ups–in fact, many publishers actively discourage it–you need to have a clear idea of how you’d like the cover to look. Otherwise, if the publisher asks you for suggestions and you reply that you’re cool with whatever they come up with, you might be stuck with an image that doesn’t properly represent your book.
  3. Back cover – the text on the back cover–usually referred to as the back cover matter or blurb–is your one page opportunity to convince a reader to pick up your book. It needs to be concise, interesting, and leave enough clues that the reader needs to read the book to find out what happens. It’s your first opportunity to make that all-important emotional connection with your reader.

There are many more items we could discuss, but these three items–tag line, front cover and back cover–are the meat of your final product. Now let’s see some of these concepts in action, using one of my books, Heir to the Sun, as an example. Below is the cover, tag line in bold, and the back cover matter:

A mad king. An escaped slave. One warrior to save the realm…

b3177-magnetWhen Asherah, stripped of both her memory and her dignity, learns that King Sahlgren is responsible for her torment it nearly breaks her. Instead, she leads her fellow slaves to freedom. More prisons are scattered across Parthalan, and Asherah vows to burn them all.

Caol’nir, a warrior descended from the gods, is sworn to serve and defend the king. Then a priestess is murdered, and Caol’nir learns that Sahlgren is to blame. Determined to stop the king, sacred oath or no, Caol’nir joins Asherah’s rebellion.

What Caol’nir doesn’t know is that Sahlgren has promised the demon lord a woman of rare and singular beauty, a woman whose abilities are rumored to rival the sun god’s themselves…a woman Caol’nir knows all too well.

Now as to how the awesomeness we see above us came to be, I started with the tag line. I wanted something simmering with tension that would draw the reader in. As for the back cover matter, I wanted to give the reader the barest taste of the plot, and the core issues our heroes are trying to solve. And as for the amazing cover by Veronica Jones, I knew that I wanted an action scene, and I knew which characters I wanted to feature.  I provided Veronica with the character descriptions, and gave her a few scenes to pick from, and voila!

There you have it, the three things I plot out long before my manuscript is complete. What work-ahead items are on your list – marketing, platform building, ordering swag? Tell us in the comments!

Heir to the Sun is currently on sale for 99 cents here: http://amzn.to/2cSkNSx

My next appearance will be at Bing Comic Con in Springfield, MA on October 22: http://www.bingcomiccon.org/

StrangeAuthorsSign up for my mailing list here and get a free ebook anthology, Strange Authors!

 

 

Writer Wednesday: Villians in Fiction #AmWriting #AmRevising #AmEditing #WriterMotivation #WriterWednesday

Author April L Wood

My first venture in writing a full length novel (80,000 words) was several years ago. It’s titled PATHOLOGICAL LOVER, a romantic suspense about a womanizing pathologist who has an interest in the newbie laboratory assistant, who’s half his age. Oh yeah, he’s also married, and filthy rich — unlike the young, naive laboratory assistant, who lives in a rougher part of town in her studio apartment.

Image result Mackenzie (Mack) Cross, Laboratory Assistant

When she discovers he is married, it threatens everything that is near and dear to him. He fears she will tell the hospital administrator. He fears she will tell his wife and that he will lose her and his young daughters. He fears his peers will find out and that it will affect his social standing. Desperate to shut her up, he commits to a series of deplorable acts that will ensure her silence.

The POV is told through…

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Writer Wednesday – Take Care Of Yourself #WednesdayWisdomForWriters #amwriting #wellness

Recently, I was discussing con crud with a writer friend. What’s con crud, you ask? I assure you, it’s just as gross as it sounds.

This ailment got its vivid name because it tends to pop up among conference and convention goers a few days after the event in question has ended. Typical symptoms include congestion, cough, and a general feeling of malaise. I know, makes you want to sign up for even more conferences, amiright?

For years I thought that con crud was the inevitable result of being packed into a hotel or other public facility, breathing in the same recycled air as hundreds if not thousands of others, subsisting on stale coffee and cookies, and sleeping less than usual. Many anecdotal cures promise to cure the crud, ranging from taking high doses of vitamin C to eating raw garlic. They never worked, at least not for me.

But what if con crud wasn’t inevitable? What if by making a few small changes to my pre-con routine, I could avoid con crud altogether?

This called for science, and its buddy, research. In true mad scientist fashion, I used myself as a test subject.

I put my plan in motion shortly before I attended Necon this past July. During the week leading up to the event, I slept a full eight hours every night, and took at least one nap per day. I doubled my water intake, eliminated alcohol, and made sure to consume vegetables and protein at every meal. Basically, for a week I behaved like a normal healthy person, not my usual overstressed, pretzel-munching, coffee-guzzling self. And guess what?

I didn’t get con crud!

By resting, keeping myself hydrated, and eating as well as I could manage, I got my body into the best condition it could possibly be in BEFORE the con. While at the con I still drank the stale coffee, and I didn’t sleep nearly enough, but I didn’t get con crud. In fact, after four days at Necon I didn’t even have my usual post-con fatigue. In short, I felt great.

So, what does this have to do with writing? Quite a bit, actually. First of all, your creative impulses are a higher level function than talking or moving around or breathing, so when you’re not feeling 100% your body naturally diverts resources and energy to where it’s needed most.  If you imagine your creative process as the top 10% of your energy, you can (probably) visualize what I mean. And have you ever tried writing when you’re sick or tired? It’s not easy.

Therefore, the better shape we keep ourselves in, the better our creative output will be. I’m not saying you should live like a monk, and ingest nothing  but spinach and water and sunlight. Just take the time to take care of yourself, and know your limits. If you have a big event, a deadline looming on the horizon, or are taking part in a writing challenge (ya’ll didn’t think I’d forget to mention NaNoWriMo, did you?) be cognizant of your habits. You’ll never make your word count if you’re too tired to type.

Do you have any tip on avoiding con crud? Tell us in the comments!

I’ll be at Whipowill Stables for their open house on September 18, selling books and playing with horses. Learn more about the event here.

StrangeAuthorsSign up for my mailing list here and get a free ebook anthology, Strange Authors!

Heir To The Sun

THE ACCELERATED READER

Image result for heir to the sunAuthor: Jennifer Allis Provost
Publisher: Bellatrix Press
Published: June 2015
Pages: 301
Format:E-Book
Rating: 4 Stars

Summary 

A mad king. An escaped slave. One warrior to save the realm…

When Asherah, stripped of both her memory and her dignity, learns that King Sahlgren is responsible for her torment it nearly breaks her. Instead, she leads her fellow slaves to freedom. More prisons are scattered across Parthalan, and Asherah vows to burn them all.

Caol’nir, a warrior descended from the gods, is sworn to serve and defend the king. Then a priestess is murdered, and Caol’nir learns that Sahlgren is to blame. Determined to stop the king, sacred oath or no, Caol’nir joins Asherah’s rebellion.

What Caol’nir doesn’t know is that Sahlgren has promised the demon lord a woman of rare and singular beauty, a woman whose abilities are rumored to rival the sun god’s themselves…a woman Caol’nir knows all…

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Cover Reveal: DAWN OF THE VIE by Laura Diamond @DiamondLB @XpressoReads #sciencefiction #SF #YA

Dawn of the Vie
Laura Diamond
(Immortal Aliens, #1)
Published by: Curiosity Quills Press
Publication date: October 3rd 2016
Genres: Dystopian, Science Fiction, Young Adult

Since their Arrival less than 30 years ago, immortal Vie rule the planet like the super-predators they are. Enslaved humans are their servants…their entertainment…and their food. Anemies—humans with various types of anemia—are simply exterminated. Their nutritionally deficient blood is useless to the Vie.

Or so it’s thought…

_________

Alex, an Elite Vie, is a bit of a Renaissance Alien. Part scientist, part Raid Specialist, part drug addict, he knows Anemie blood is valuable. Rather than blindly carrying out his boss’s kill order, he convinces some colleagues to spare a few Anemies, not only for study, but also to reserve a secret stock.

The more Anemie blood Alex drinks, the more he slips into delusion, and the more his double life threatens to crumble. But quitting Anemie blood is not an option. Every Anemie has their own personal flavor. Each gives a unique high.

When Alex takes a hit of Justin’s blood, his hallucinations bleed into reality…

_________

Anemie Justin knows his little sister, Sammie, and he are living past their expiration dates. It becomes a guarantee when they’re bitten by a Vie named Alex during a raid. (The bite is fatal, thanks to a toxin carried in Vie saliva.) Alex adds insult to injury by promising Justin a second chance—an antidote in exchange for agreeing to be a lab rat.

And a mule…of his own blood.

When Justin says no, Alex takes off with Sammie.

All Justin has to do is find them, beat Alex, and cure himself and Sammie. All he has is a stake and serious lack of self-preservation.

No problem.

_________

Alex wants Justin’s blood.

Justin wants his sister back.

GAME ON.

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Author Bio:

Laura Diamond is a board certified psychiatrist currently specializing in emergency psychiatry. She is also an author of all things young adult—both contemporary and paranormal. An avid fan of sci-fi, fantasy, and anything magical, she thrives on quirk, her lucid dreams, and coffee. When she’s not working or writing, she can be found sniffing books and drinking a latte at the bookstore or at home pondering renovations on her 225 year old fixer upper, all while obeying her feline overlords, of course.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

 

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