It’s Never Too Late To Be Thankful

Last week I lost track of days. Maybe it had to do with only having to work three days  before Thanksgiving. But Monday came and went last week and I didn’t think about posting my Monday blog. And when I woke up Thursday morning and turned on the Macy’s day parade for some reason that jogged my memory that I hadn’t posted anything!

I had planned on writing about being thankful – very appropriate for the holiday. And I realized that it is NEVER too late to talk about being thankful. I think it is something we should think about every day of the year, not just on Thanksgiving.

I am so thankful for my family – my dad, especially. And my friends who have been with me for years and those I have met recently as a writer.

And I am thankful for my writing. It has opened up a world for me. I have met amazing people and readers! I am so thankful for my readers – you jump into my world and understand my characters and keep reading! How blessed and thankful can one writer be?

Very, very thankful!

Writer’s Guide to Sagging Middles

belly-2354_640For a writer, middles can be quite troublesome. In a book, the beginning draws the reader in and the ending gives the reader a satisfying (hopefully) conclusion. The hardest thing to write? The daggone middle of the book. You have to propel that story along and keep the reader tagging along for the ride.

You’ll hear writers talk about sagging middles and while they might be talking about their midsection, more then likely they mean the middle of their work. It is so important to draw the reader into the story and KEEP THEM INVESTED. So the middle is very important. If it sags, the reader might abandon the story and never read the amazing ending.

For me, getting to the middle of the book is sometimes stressful. Ultimately, it is one of the turning points  (in both the story and my writing) and begins the set up for the rest of the unveiling. Because the center of the book is so important, as a writer it is often hard to get to it and get through it. Which is why I’m so happy to have gotten to the middle of my current novel and am starting to pick up speed in anticipation of the second half of the story!

Think of this way…when you start to exercise, it is so much easier to finish the workout once you’ve reached the half way mark. That’s how it feels once you’ve gotten past that middle scene. Not only does the reader want that happy-ever-after to happen, but so does the writer!

Sit-ups and crunches aside, I made it through the middle and am heading toward that finish line.

Time For Fireworks!

fireworks-1758_640Today in the states we are celebrating Independence Day which includes cookouts, family gatherings and culminates in an evening of fireworks.

Now, you would think that watching fireworks each year would not be THAT exciting. I mean, we know what to expect. Colors, lights, whistles, and booms fill the air and yet we continue to come out each year and ohh and ahh throughout.

Why?

I’m glad you asked…Because we know what the fireworks display will generally consist of, but we don’t know how this year they will be displayed. The fun is in not knowing WHICH fireworks to expect WHEN. What color will it be this time? Will it make that whizzing sound or boom like thunder? When will the finale begin?

Writing is much the same way. Each novel contains characters and plot leading to a satisfying conclusion, but what makes it interesting is that within the story you don’t know what will happen to those characters to make them change, grow, and fall in love. If the story is written well, the reader will ohh and ahh through the pages until they reach the finale.

And much like fireworks when we clap at the end and anticipate next year, the reader is already thinking about getting their hands on the next story.

Why I Write

It’s hard to believe that a week has already passed since I released Sentinel Lost on September 21st. It has been CRAZY. I have been a tweeting, posting, and blogging fool over the past week. And of course, Mind Sweeper celebrated its one year anniversary as well which prompted me to reduce its price to 99 cents. So not only was I busy marketing Sentinel Lost, I was also chattering about Mind Sweeper as well.

Am I a little worn out? Yes.

Was it worth it? Definitely.

After all the hoopla, I thought I would share with you one of my favorite moments of the week. On September 20th, the morning before Sentinel Lost was to go live, I received a Facebook post from a reader who excitedly told me that my book had just downloaded to her e reader. I stared at the message in confusion and a little bit of worry. How had she gotten the book already? Had I accidentally put the wrong release date on the retail sites? Had the book been released by accident?

A few moments later, as if she anticipated my confusion, another post arrived from her. She told me that it was September 21st, 12:28 AM in Adelaide, Australia where she lived. And my brain finally caught up with the obvious. Time zones… I should have known better, really. The next country after the US where I sell the most books is Australia. Yay, Australia!

But it was the next part of her message that really hit me. Even though it was 12:28 AM, there was no way she was missing reading this book, as she put it, “straight away.”

And I stared at that message for a moment and then I laughed with delight and just as quickly the tears came. Happy, happy tears. I had someone half way around the world staying up to read my book in the middle of the night.

What a high. I don’t know when the last time was that I laughed and cried at the same time. And it clicked for me. THAT is why I write. THAT is why the hard work is so worth it to me. THAT is what I need to hang onto when I am tired, or stuck on a book, or frustrated with the business of writing. When I first started writing, I wanted to tell stories and SHARE them with people. And it appears that I am doing just that.

I HEART Australia!
I HEART Australia!

 

Thankful Days

Hello all! It’s hard to believe it has been a week since Shifter Wars released. Since it’s Thanksgiving week here in the states, I’m thinking about all the things I’m thankful for. I thought this year I would share them with you.

I want to send out a special thanks to all of you, my followers (website, Facebook & Twitter), for an amazing year of discovery, hard-work, dedication and PUBLICATION!  Thanks for your generous praise and support as I have shared my journey with you. I made my goal this year! Three books released with more to come next year. Wow.

I hope this has been as educational and fun for you as it’s been for me.

Thanks to my wonderful team: my editor extraordinaire, Faith; my phenomenal cover artist, Gabrielle; my proofreader, Claire; my formatter and amazing font of information, Amy; my publicity gurus Jennifer & Melanie; and my terrific teaser-creator, Nicole.

Thanks to all of the wonderful blog sites and review sites out there who have spread the news about my books.

A special shout-out to my NEORWA chapter mates who have stuck by me throughout this journey and cheered me on. And my Golden Heart sisters, the Luckies, who have been my support system as I maneuver my way through the self-publishing maze.

Thanks also to the readers of my stories – I can never forget about you! I hope you have as much fun reading about the adventures of Kyle and the gang as I do writing about them.

Finally a special thanks to my friends and family who have never doubted that I could do this. I am surrounded by people who believe in me. And that is the best gift of all.

 

 

RWA Nationals is Over, But My Work is Just Beginning

As you know from my blog post last Monday, I was heading to RWA’s 2014 National Conference. 2000+ authors and industry professionals gathering for a conference filled with workshops and publisher spotlights and book signings and key-note addresses and…well, the list goes on.

This year, I went in with a plan in place to get ready for Mind Sweeper, my debut novel’s release in September (See https://aejonesauthor.wordpress.com/2014/07/21/off-to-nationals-i-go/)

For the most part, I accomplished what I set out to do. And when I arrived home yesterday, exhausted and exhilarated (can you be both at the same time?) I told myself I would think about what  I learned ‘tomorrow’. Well, it is ‘tomorrow’ and after sleeping twelve hours (yes, you read that right) I am thinking about it.  

What did I learn? That while I understand the fundamentals of creating and preparing a book for release, that I have to now connect with all of those potential readers who I HOPE…beat it, self-doubt…who I KNOW will like it. So I need to market, market, market.

At Nationals there is a room called the Goody Room where authors put all of their various swag that they want to hand out. It can be bookmarks, postcards, books, buttons, can openers, chip clips, etc. Items that advertise their books and get their names out there. This year I decided to participate and so I had some postcards made. But I also wanted to do something fun and a bit different. I found some great customizable lollipops (or suckers which seems more appropriate when you look at the picture below) and gave those out at the conference. Memorable? Fun? That was my plan.

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But I also need to  connect with readers through various social media tools and get my book reviewed. Because reviews help sell books, right? We live in an age where readers have more power than they ever have before. They can read a book and post it on various sites where dozens, hundreds, thousands, millions of people can see it.  And that is amazing and humbling as well. So over the next 7 weeks or so, I hope to find readers and bloggers who will be ready for my book…to read and review. And also to form relationships. To form bonds with people who love to read as much as I do. Who escape into a character and story and share that enthusiasm with others. THAT is why I started to write in the first place!

As I unpack my suitcases, I thought you would enjoy a snapshot of one of them. Besides new friends, and ideas, and plans, I also came home with this!

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