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Drop It Like It’s Hot

When I began writing, I worked hard to avoid linking my work to anything real. I wasn’t sure about the rules. I made references to things like the obsession of Golum and the ring, without saying Lord of the Rings, or even naming Golum. I named towns with names similar to real town names, but steered clear of naming the towns. I even called Paris Hilton, Paris Hinton in one book. I didn’t want to be in trouble. Really. I thought I could get in trouble. *shakes head* Now, while I wouldn’t advise you name characters after people I know, just  so you can kill them off – like my super evil ex bestie Linda Miller! *JERK!* <– Totally joking. I made that name up. If that’s your name, I’m certain you are lovely and also a good sport. LOL.

I now know it’s okay to name things in pop culture, locations too. You can name stores and restaurants and whatever you want. Readers like to identify with places and things, be in on the jokes. And it’s also fun to make all those things up. Writers’ choice.

But don’t count out the benefits of linking your manuscript to a real place.

When your book is published, you’ll have to promote. If you can travel to the town in your book for signings and appearances, you might tap into a focused market. People like to read stories set in their hometown, or someplace where they are otherwise connected. Be careful not to fudge the details or those who love the place will be sure to let you know about it. But, let’s say for example, you write a YA and set it in your old college town. You could potentially catch the attention of not only the town residents, but the current students at your Alma mater, the staff, and other alumni.

If you know the town well, mention a favorite spot or two. Those may be great places to hold book signings. Local newspapers and media will have an added reason to cover your story too. It’s never too early to think about promotion. The work is just beginning after you type the words THE END.

Hey, you’re the author. Write it your way. Knock their socks off! And don’t count out the hidden bonus of name dropping :)

Freedom Hop June 29th-July 5th

Hosted by I’m a reader Not a Writer


I’m moving into my brand new office here at the house! SO, it’s time to clear off those bookshelves. I’m giving away a box of romance type books I’ve accumulated in the past 12 months from all the amazing writers conferences I had the honor of attending. One winner will get them all. Here’s a pic:

Up for grabs today:

Dark Harvest by Karen Harper

Dragonborn by Jade Lee

The Tree Shepherd’s Daughter by Gillian Summers

The Medallion of Solaus by Kimberly Adkins

Assassin’s Fall by Angela Steed

The Sea’s Embrace by Angela Steed

Through Ancient Eyes by Kimberly Adkins

And a SLEW of teaser chapters from authors like: Allison Brennan, Angie Fox, Lila DePasquale and LOTS more :)

This giveaway is open to US only. Postage is still gonna KILL me, but my new bookshelves shall thank me!


To enter: Leave a comment :)

***Be sure to leave your email so I can reach you!***

And use the Linky below to keep on hopping!

A New Office For Me. Coming Soon.

So, this is a personal, non-craft/industry related post. I’m having a less than happy face moment in my writer-life. For me, writing’s like that. Ups and downs, sometimes maniacal highs and lows. Coming off the completion of a manuscript is like having the wind knocked out of me. Knowing the heavy lifting is done, now the redecorating begins. Lots of clean up to go on soon. For today I have my, “I might as well quit trying because I suck eggs” attitude on. What separates my mood from my truth is that I know this will pass. I’ve been here enough to recognize it. Determination will rear it’s head soon and I’ll be all over that draft like…well me on coffee or chocolate or fresh watermelon…you get the picture.

Meanwhile, I thought I’d talk about my new office. It’s *almost* finished. There’s carpet now and pretty teal-ish paint and an awesome Hunter light/fan combo. My new desk, file cabinet and return were delivered this weekend. My super-comfy roller chair is in place. I’ve matted and framed the cover arts I’ve accumulated so far with my name on them. I can’t wait to decorate. It’s mine. mine. mine. mine. mine. This is extra exciting because originally Hubsy and I had a throw down, wherein he told me the office we were building was HIS and I could use it while he was at work. Guffaw. Yeah. WTH?

But, alas, he is lovely and while installing my new office door, he said something terribly sweet about my new office. MINE. like Julie’s, not his. Wait. That got all confusing for a second.

I can’t wait to post some pictures. I hope to get it all pretty in the next week or two, assuming I can put a book down long enough to do anything at all. I’m on a YA binge lately. So, that’s all. That’s my story. After spending my entire I-wanna-be-a-writer life sitting criss-cross-applesauce on my family room couch with laptop on legs, I now have a real desk and rolly chair and door. A door! This is wondrous and I think faeries and unicorns will inhabit my new space with me from sheer joy.

Pics to come!

So, writers: Where do YOU write?

Mid Summer’s Eve Giveaway Hop June 20th-26th

Hosted by I’m a reader Not a Writer

Up for grabs today: Death by Chocolate in reader’s choice of PDF digital *OR*print

Death by Chocolate

Ruby Russell has reached her limit. When she discovers her hipster husband has a dirty little secret, she whips him up a Viagra-infused-chocolate mousse punishment, but in the morning, her husband’s a stiff. Armed with a lifetime of crime show reruns and Arsenic and Old Lace on DVD, Ruby and her best friend Charlotte try to lay low until after Ruby’s son’s wedding, but a nosy therapist, meddling minister and local news reporter are making it very difficult to get away with murder.


To enter: Leave a comment :)

***Be sure to leave your email so I can reach you!***

And use the Linky below to keep on hopping!

Hook ‘Em, Don’t Barf on ‘Em

I started blogging to share and record the journey to publication. This is part of the journey and it is *VITAL* See me leaning into the screen begggging writers to get this. In the past 3 years or so, I’ve spent countless hours researching agents and editors, stalking authors and everyone in the business, devouring every portion of information I can glean. I’ve attended six writers conferences and belong to the local guild. I listen and take notes. The following information comes from them. The experts and authorities in the business. They need repeated. Those are the grounds by which I bring you this information. The catalyst to writing this post is my dear friend who is also a book review blogger. She sends me the most horrible-awful-very bad “press releases”. Authors send these atrocities to her in hopes she will review their book on her site. *hangs head* They’re BAD. I read the entire thing and have no clue what they’re book is about. What I do *think* they’re saying it *might* be about sounds odd and unappealing. They have typos and bunny trails and extraneous information no one cares about. I’m normally left say WTH? And those get the trash can. You get one chance to make a first impression. It doesn’t matter how cliche. It’s plain old true. People will remember and avoid asking you about your writing in the future if you make them want to start day drinking when they ask you. This situation is so bad, I’m tossing the idea around of giving an online course in pitch writing. I like pitching. I think it’s fun, like a puzzle or a game. Some writers must not know, so I want to help. Here’s how it starts:

You MUST know what your book is about. You HAVE to. Must. Must. Must. If you don’t know what it’s about when an agent, editor, or potential reader asks you, then they aren’t going to read it. If you dribble on about the deep meaning behind your text, pontificate your mad skills, or bumble over the idea completely….you lost them. Period. Turned off. No thanks. Buh-bye.

Couple tips:

1. Know your genre. And while it is en vogue to combine genres in interesting new ways, make it concise. Limit your genre to two main ones when you are telling someone about it. Throw in too many and you sound like you don’t know what the heck you’re talking about. And cut the “with undertones of blah blah blah or ties to..” Just get to the point. The asking party doesn’t want a dissertation on genre definitions. It’s a YA – paranormal romance. A romantic suspense. An urban fantasy-thriller. Be as simple as possible when asked to explain yourself. Hook em, don’t barf on them.

2. Encapsulate your entire story in 30 words. Try it. After you get back up off the floor, give it a whirl. In 2 or 3 sentences, what is your book about? Find the vein, the pulse, the meat. WHAT is it about? Think of those voice overs on movie trailers. They sum it up and lure you in. Boom! Be succinct. You are a writer. You can do this.

3. After you can sum it up in 30 words, write a query style pitch. Get your head around a small paragraph of information. A teaser, like your query. Tell them enough to garner interest and leave it there. If they want to know more, they’ll ask. Continue to ONLY ANSWER the question THEY ASK. Keep them asking. Coy is your friend. Memorize and practice this so you aren’t tempted to spew random and unnecessary minutiae the next time you’re asked about your book.

Now, I’m going to make Stephenie Meyer die a little. I hope she never reads this post. (as if). But I know everyone knows her story Twilight.

What do you write Steph? She should say (in reference to Twilight) something short and sweet like, My book is Twilight. It’s a paranormal romance for teens.

She should not say: It’s a YA paranormal romance with suspense elements and ties to mythology including Indian legends and local folklore *deep breath in* PLUS there’s humor and action…history too…blah blah blah blah  -The asking party’s eyes just glazed over and they’re running through their shopping list now.

After she gave the short answer and is asked, what’s it about? A good option might be: It’s about a young girl falls in love with a vampire. He loves her too, but he also wants to kill her.

WHAT? Tell me more! You see how this goes?

Don’t info dump. Be succinct. Write your pitch like a back cover blurb. Read some of your favorite blurbs and consider what they tell and what they keep for the reader to discover on their own. Never give away how your story ends. Cut every single word that doesn’t help you in this conquest of hooking them in / capturing their attention.

And on behalf of every book reviewer on this planet, don’t send them your review request until you KNOW they read your genre. Of course, this comes with KNOWING your genre. So, get started!

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