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Category Archives: Author in the Trenches

Read an eBook Week

This week is Read an eBook Week! So, to celebrate, Defeat Fear Forever and Annie’s Adventures: The Chemistry Calamity are free! Just click on the title of your choice above to download a copy. Enjoy! 🙂

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The Writing Life

It occurred to me last night that I’m almost done with my third book, Allow Joy Into Your Life. I guess I better get started on designing a cover for it. According to the Self-Publishing Checklist put out by Shelly Hitz, I’m actually about on track. You can check out her site at http://www.self-publishing-coach.com. She has a nice mind map that you can download and print out all on one page as well as a longer checklist that you can also print out, both for free. (That makes me happy! 😀 )

For my cover, I’ve been very happy with the free cover-creator available through CreateSpace. You can use your own pictures or choose one of theirs. The covers for my books, Defeat Fear Forever and Annie’s Adventures are both through CreateSpace, as well as two of my favorite authors, Nancy Watrud’s What Kids Pray and Sonya Noble’s We Stand Together. Another option is designing my own cover completely through Gimp. Here is a well written (with pictures) how-to article about it through Self-Published Author’s Lounge.

This is a really exciting place to be. I have to write the final chapter and a short conclusion to tie it all together. Then, I just have to revise and edit. I’ve done most of the formatting as I go, so that shouldn’t change much. My ISBN’s I’ll get through Smashwords and CreateSpace. Then, it’ll be time to publish!

So far, the response has been very good. The Lord has shown me so much through this one. It’s my choice whether or not I allow joy into my life. I can have (and keep!) the joy of the Lord all the time, but I have to stay in His Spirit. I have to make a point to do that, every day, every moment of every day. There’s been some ups and downs, but God is so faithful. I love walking with Him. He is so patient with me. I can’t wait to have Allowing Joy Into Your Life up and available to the world!

Let me know about your writing, cover creating, and publishing experiences. I’d love to hear about it! 🙂

 
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Posted by on June 15, 2011 in Author in the Trenches

 

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Author in the Trenches: Writer’s Block or Is It Writer’s Blah?

If you’re like most writers, you’ve had writer’s block, where you sit and stare at the computer wondering what on earth you are going to write about. Whether you simply don’t have any ideas or you just have the ‘blahs’ doesn’t really matter. There’s no work output going on. The page still remains blank and you still remain frustrated.

What to do?

Well, actually there are a variety of things you can do.

1. Brainstorm. Dream. Relax and let your mind wander for a while. Have fun with your writing! Sometimes, the best way to get out of a writer’s funk is to just play for a bit. You don’t even have to do it on a computer. You can do it with a notebook and pencil. Or, sometimes, it’s good to just lean back and think for a while. The ideas generated here could be used on what you’re currently writing or for future projects. That’s okay. In fact, that’s more than okay! The more you brainstorm, the more potential for more future books. Some of the ideas you come up with could be used as future scenes in the existing book or could even introduce a whole new twist to your tale. At the very least, it should put fire into your work and a smile on your face.

2. Another thing I like to do is spend time reading books on ‘how to be a better writer’. There are plenty of amazing books to be found in the library or online that can give great ideas. Some are genre specific and others are more general. As professional writers and authors, we should always be looking to improve our craft. Taking the time to read up on how to write better is time well spent. I have often found ideas which sparked my own imagination.

3. Change location. Go outside, smell the flowers, feel the breeze. Fresh air can be so invigorating. If you have a laptop, take it outside and sit in the shade and write. A change of scenery can often help boot the blahs.

4. Set reasonable goals for yourself and meet them. If 1000 words a day is too much, go down to 500. That’s okay. Don’t punish yourself. Just be sure your expectations are based in the reality of your life. For me, I’ve got two part-time jobs, several ministries I volunteer for, a husband, five kids (whom I home school), and a house to keep in somewhat reasonable order. That doesn’t include cooking, laundry, mowing, blog posts, FaceBook, and two books I’m working on (one fiction, one non-fiction).  I can’t expect myself to be able to ‘do it all’ and that’s okay. However, if I’ve set reasonable goals for myself, it feels awesome to check that box off! 🙂

5. Pray and Seek the Lord. We weren’t created to ‘go it alone’, though some of us try. Sometimes, when I’m sitting in front of a blank screen or staring at a computer from across the room staring back at me, I pray and ask for the ‘want to’. I ask for direction and ideas. Every time I ask for help, God is there to help me. In fact, it’s better to live life actually walking with Jesus constantly, keeping those communication lines open and realizing He is always there. Of course I can bounce ideas off of Him. He is the ultimate Author and Marketer. Of course, He might have some helpful suggestions. I need only ask. You need only ask. He is more than willing to help me and you because He loves you!

6. If you write fiction, take the time to read other books in your particular genre, mystery, thriller, romance, etc. Sometimes, you can get an idea from another author that will work for you. I’m not talking about plagiarizing, but rather seeing what other writers are doing right. Don’t just read for fun. Take the time to think about what you’re reading and how the author put it all together. Think about flow, characterization, dialog, plot, scene development, etc. How does the author begin a chapter or scene? What is his/her hook? How does the author end a chapter or scene? How does the author keep things going and make you want to read more? Other authors are not the competition, they are just fellow authors who love writing just as much as we do. I certainly like to read more than one author. I’ll certainly buy books by more than one author. I can most definitely learn from other authors!

7. Just Do It! Write. Sometimes, the best way to get over writer’s block is to simply start writing. If you end up deleting it, that’s okay. Simply getting started writing can often lead to more and better writing. Besides, when you are doing what you love, what you are meant to do, it feels good. Keep writing. Don’t give up. It’s a guarantee you won’t get any writing done if you don’t actually write. So, just do it! 😀

 
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Posted by on May 17, 2011 in Author in the Trenches

 

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Author in the Trenches

I thought I would blog a little about the writing life. I also intend to post some really great blogs I found. The Creative Penn is one and Copyblogger is another. These are great for hints and tips on making your writing better. They also have good stuff on marketing as well. My other favorite sites are Self-Published Author’s Lounge and StoryFix. These should get you started. Enjoy. There are plenty of other ones out there as well.

Anyway, I’m in the middle of writing two books right now. One is another non-fiction about allowing joy into your life. This is also part of a sermon series, much like Defeat Fear Forever. We don’t chase after joy, it is part of the fruit of the Spirit. However, we do need to actively choose to rejoice. Otherwise, why would God command it if it was easy? Obviously, He wanted to give us the head’s up about something.

The other book I’m working on is a fiction book for teen to adult. It’s got a lot of comedy, some mystery, and gets serious about dealing with those things my character doesn’t necessarily want to face. Right now, I’m in chapter 5.

Also, I’ve been privileged to get an assignment to interview several Pentecostal fiction authors. Awesome! I love my job! It’s so neat to see the way they write. Some outline, some don’t. In fact, one person simply sits at his computer with a blank screen and starts writing! Dude!

So far, I haven’t had to deal with writer’s block. It seems to be moving right along. I’ll let you know about any bumps I encounter. If you want to follow along, just hit the Hub Pages button on the right. The book is called Violet Miracle and several chapters are up and available to see. BTW, this is a ‘first draft’, so the final published edition will be slightly different. Hopefully, all of my strange inconsistencies will be edited out. Right now, I’m having a blast seeing where Violet and her new friends take me.

Top right is the possible book cover. I admit, I LOVE coffee and a Coffee House is part of my story, so it sort of works?.?. :~\ That may change as well. We’ll see. :O)

 
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Posted by on May 6, 2011 in Author in the Trenches

 

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