Summer Spotlight & End of Sale

Happy Friday, everyone.

Come visit me over at Jill Weatherholt’s blog today. Jill is a friend and a fellow author/blogger who writes delightful stories about love, friendship and forgiveness, and she has graciously invited me to take part in her Summer Spotlight series.

As it happens, there are just a few days left to snap up Calmer Girls on Kindle for only 99¢, and you can get the link at Jill’s place. Please drop by with a comment when you get a chance, and I will chat with you later this afternoon when I get home. I look forward to seeing you there.

Have a great weekend!

Blogger Bouquet #42

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Jill Weatherholt started her blog as a way to share her “journey toward publication and to create a community for other new writers.” Her first book, SECOND CHANCE ROMANCE, will release in March 2017 and is now available for pre-order on Amazon.

From her About page:

My name is Jill Weatherholt and I’m a writer. I have a full time job, but at night and on the weekend, I pursue my passion, writing. I write modern stories about love, friendship and forgiveness.”

Besides the fact that Jill and I have writerly interests in common – we both started blogs to focus on our writing and to meet other writers, and we both have books coming out next month – Jill also blogged about the colour Yellow, as I did recently.

Her post reinforces the lesson taught to her by her mother: “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” 

What’s Wrong With Yellow?

Comments are closed here but you can leave a comment on the blogger’s page.

Have an inspiring weekend, everyone!

Plot Twists and Other Stuff

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Hello, everyone!

I have some news, my peeps: I will be changing publishers.

My publisher for Calmer Girls, a small press in the U.S. which has been in business for five years, is closing its doors at the end of August. It was sudden news that leaves me (and all of its other authors) facing new decisions, transitions, and a fresh start.

But it’s okay! This sort of thing is not uncommon these days because of continuing changes in the publishing industry. This even includes the big presses. Who knows, it may turn out to be – dare I say it? – a blessing in disguise for some. With all rights, files and cover art, etc. now reverted back to me, I may even decide to self-publish. Why should hubs be the only one who runs a business in this house?

That said, I’m currently weighing all options while my third reader is plowing through the sequel to Calmer Girls, Calmer Secrets. Don’t you worry, dear Calmer readers, because one way or another you will soon be reading that sequel too!

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As for those who want to but haven’t had a chance to read the first book of the two-title series, there will be a short delay before it becomes available again for purchase on Amazon and Indigo. In the meantime, I still have a small supply on hand which includes those already ordered directly from me, and Norton’s Cove Studio is carrying them as well.

Many thanks to all of you for your support, readership, and for everything you’ve done so far. I hope you will continue to support me and my work as it is incredibly important to me. I will post updates, and the moment I have more info on my novels, I will make it available here and on my Facebook Author page.

Plot twist and move on!

An Approach To Style

“A careful and honest writer does not need to worry about style. As you become proficient in the use of language, your style will emerge, just as you yourself will emerge, and when this happens you will find it increasingly easy to break through the barriers that separate you from other minds, other hearts – which is, of course, the purpose of writing, as well as its principal reward.”

~ excerpt from The Elements of Style by Strunk & White

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*Image courtesy of Gregory Szarkiewicz at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Do you agree with this quote?

What is the difference between writing style and writing voice?

I found this article on the topic:

The Difference Between Voice and Style in Writing

Blogger Bouquet #33

 

Recently, I discovered and started following Write with Kelly – “writing and publishing advice you can really use.”

Kelly Abell is an author, blogger, and graphic artist whose blog is a wealth of tips for those of us aiming to improve our writing craft. In her own words:

My aim for you is to utilize this blog to help you improve your writing skills, and to educate you on the publishing business. If you need help with writing, want to self-publish a book and need advice, or just want to kick a story idea around to see what works best, that’s what I’m here for. As I gain knowledge from editors and publishers, I will share that knowledge with you.”

Check out this post where Kelly features a fellow author’s knowledgeable views on a genre near and dear to my heart:

Sittin’ On The Porch – Author Fran Orenstein – Tips for Writing Children’s Books

Comments are closed here but you can share a comment on the blogger’s page.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend, everyone!

A Title For My Sequel

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My Young Adult novel is working through the various steps to reach the Release Date finish line.

The main edits are completed. The cover art is done and approved. My manuscript is now in the hands of Managing Editorial for copy-editing, layout, and proofing. After that it will head to typesetting. So much goes into the creation of a book!

In between the days I watch and wait for these steps and the days I work on edits to my second book of the series, I’ve been racking my brain, trying to come up with a title for the second book.

No, Calmer Girls Two does not appeal. Either does Calmer Girls – the Sequel. I like a book title that has a double meaning – like Calmer Girls – or a title that borrows a phrase or a line from another work. That could even include inspiration from a line in a song, a poem, or a nursery rhyme. Think: Along Came a Spider, or Norwegian Wood. I also like titles that are taken from a line or quote inside the book, as many authors have done. Think: To Kill A Mockingbird, or The Silence of the Lambs.

There is advice out there now that suggests you should name your book while keeping in mind keywords, SEO, categories and literary genres, all a part of improving its visibility in the digital marketplace.

As much as I still prefer reading Print books as opposed to eBooks, I know I am writing for a largely younger group of readers who love their eReaders and almost exclusively read all their books that way. Keeping that in mind will be beneficial for the upcoming marketing stage as well.
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In my research surfing, I happened upon a wonderful post by author Anne R. Allen that may help me find a title. If you’re a writer, you may find it helpful as well. Check it out below:

10 Tips for Choosing the Right Book Title in the E-Age
by Anne R. Allen

For Writers:  How do you title your books? Any tricks of the trade to share? 

For Readers:  What are some of your favourite book titles?
Have you ever bought a book because you loved its title?

Please share in the comments section below!

In Praise of Young Adult Fiction

I used to think I was a bit of a dork for liking Young Adult literature, even though my years as a young adult are long gone.

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Not so anymore. Although some may be too shy to admit to it or call it a guilty pleasure, YA fiction has a huge fan base among grownups; in fact, a recent study states that 55% of its readers are actually adults. And while I also choose from a variety of other genres and often crave the more literary and classic offerings as well, I particularly enjoy writing Young Adult fiction, as two of my upcoming novels will attest.

Why do I and so many others love reading YA novels? I don’t believe it implies immaturity, but rather suggests a more “young at heart” sensibility of the reader. And I am careful about not lumping all of them together; as in every genre there is great writing and not-so-great writing. With that in mind, here is what I find appealing about most of the YA and coming-of-age literature I have read:

  • It draws you in and hooks you on the first page.
  • It is usually light on the exposition and heavy on the action and dialogue.
  • The drama isn’t contrived. The teenage years, with all of its growing pains, can be filled with turmoil. Ordinary situations often feel emotional, and even catastrophic.
  • Teens are well-known to be impetuous and curious, therefore their actions are often unexpected. This opens up all sorts of drama which may include acting on violence, sexuality, and other previously uncharacteristic behaviours.
  • We’ve all been there, so we can identify with many of the common conflicts that arise. Other times, we might enjoy reading YA as an escape into wish-fulfillment: a way of righting the wrongs in our own experience.

Still not convinced to give Young Adult a try? Peruse these quotes taken from bestselling YA fiction:

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What do you think of the Young Adult genre?
Do you have any favourite YA quotes to share?

Writing, writing, and more writing? Write on!

 

Hi, everyone. I thought I’d pass along a quick update today about my novel and what has happened lately in my life as an author.

I am encouraged by the reception Calmer Girls has gotten in the publishing world. In particular, I am now patiently waiting on those who have expressed interest in my query, synopsis and sample chapters, and who subsequently requested the full manuscript for review. (Yay!)

Of course, my optimism is tempered with caution and awareness of the reality that these are only first steps. The road to getting traditionally published is a long, slow and arduous one for many new authors, and I am no exception. I read yesterday of a successful novelist who endured TWENTY-NINE rejections before his first book was picked up. And it ultimately made it to the New York Times best-seller list!

So now while my manuscript is out of my hands, I continue on with the sequel. In that area I have made progress, but not as much as I would like due to life getting in the way (Funny how that always seems to happen!).

designed by Elizabeth Doyle
designed by Elizabeth Doyle

For this reason, I am considering taking part in National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo as it is called. This is a yearly internet event that takes place in November, not only nationally but all over the world. The object is to write 50,000 words of a first draft in 30 days, which means participants write an average of 1667 words a day.

Awesome? Terrifying? Doable? Impossible? You tell me.

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Will this be you?
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…or this?

If I do indeed sign up, some of my activities will no doubt have to be curtailed or relegated to the back burner. My Friday Bouquet will be suspended for the time being, and my other blog posts will be brief. I won’t be able to read others’ blogs as much as I am used to. But I shall return, my lovelies!

What do you think of such a project? Are you taking part in NaNoWriMo this year? If you are, tell me all about it below. We can give each other moral support. 🙂

Explore Further:
One Wild Word: Get ready for NaNoWriMo by choosing your novel’s story question

Kristen Lamb’s Blog: 8 Elements to NAILING Your Plot and Owning NaNo

 

One Thing These Famous Novels Have in Common

As I await responses from various publishers on my novel queries, I’ve been reading reams of info on the publishing world. Learning what to expect in terms of selling your work can make you wonder if it’s worth it at times, when you think of all the love and effort you put into your project.

If there is one tidbit of advice I keep reading, it’s that you better be in it for the enjoyment and satisfaction of writing, and not for making a ton of money, or even a living. But that’s a topic for a future post.

I wanted to share this book list with you. It may give you more incentive to keep striving for that goal, to get your own work in print.

  • Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights
  • Sue Monk Kidd’s The Secret Life of Bees
  • Harper Lee’s only novel To Kill a Mockingbird
  • Margaret Mitchell’s only novel Gone with the Wind
  • Boris Pasternak’s only novel Dr. Zhivago
  • Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones
  • Nicholas Sparks’s The Notebook
  • Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants
  • Daniel Dafoe’s The Life and Adventures of Robinson Crusoe
  • Kim Edwards’ The Memory Keeper’s Daughter

All of these ten wonderful works of fiction, are, of course, bestsellers. Some of them even won the Nobel and/or the Pulitzer Prize. 

But what is most interesting and inspirational to me about this list is this: they were all first novels. Yes, that’s right, these were debut novels that were wildly successful, and in fact there are many more ( I shortened the list). The older classics are known to still sell thousands of copies a year.

And many of them were rejected by numerous publishers before ultimately being signed.

As an example, Kim Edwards found great success with her first novel The Memory Keeper’s Daughter, the last one on my list, and the second to most recent I’ve read on the list. Published in 2005, it made it to #1 on USA Today’s list of bestselling books. As a result, in 2006 USA Today chose her novel as the Book of the Year. As they put it:

Book clubs and word of mouth helped send The Memory Keeper’s Daughter to Kite Runner heights, and once you’ve read this heart wrenching story, it’s easy to understand why it has connected with millions of readers.

On a stormy winter’s night in the 1960s, a doctor delivers his own twins. One is a perfect son; the other is a daughter with Down syndrome. He tells his wife the little girl died, and his lie reverberates across the years and affects every character.

Prepare for tear-blotched pages and a redemptive, hopeful ending that makes the tears easier to bear.”

I loved that book and loved finding out it was a first novel. So take heart, burgeoning writers. Perhaps your debut novel will make money. And if the stars align, perhaps it could be added to this list before long. Wouldn’t that be a dream realized? Stories like these are what keep me hopeful in selling and promoting my work.

You miss 100% of the shots you didn’t take. ~ Wayne Gretzky

What keeps you optimistic in your writing life?

“…Then You Must Write It”

 

“If there’s a book you really want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” ~ Toni Morrison

I have recently begun a new adventure, dear readers and fellow bloggers.

No longer can I ignore the voice inside me that is clamouring to be heard, so I have started to write a novel.  I am a little nervous, but mostly I am excited to be on this new journey I have destined for myself.

When I told a friend a little while ago about my plan to write a book, she said, “Gee, I’m the one with the English degree.  I should write a book!”  Well, I don’t have a degree, but I’ve always had a passion for stories, fictional or otherwise, and a desire to tell some stories of my own.

Heck, I wrote a teen novel when I was still in school, at the grand old age of fifteen.  So diplomas and degrees or lack thereof won’t hinder me now either.

It has been a rewarding experience keeping this blog that I started back in December.  The original purpose of Jennifer’s Journal had been to get into the habit of creating and writing something on a regular basis, in order to better prepare me for the demands of writing a novel.  But now that I have taken on this ambitious new project, I will have less of that precious commodity of time to devote to blogging.

But abandoning my blog seems unthinkable to me..  Have you ever nurtured a child?  Cared for a pet?  Or even tended a garden?  And then, stopped?  No, I will keep my blog, adding thoughts, inspirations, and a photograph or two, as often and as regularly as I can.  I would also like to keep you updated on my novel’s progress.

Life is going to get busier, that’s all.

I leave you with another favourite quote of mine:

“Writing is the only thing that, when I do it, I don’t feel I should be doing something else.”  ~ Gloria Steinem

How about you?  Have you ever written a book, or do you see yourself writing one someday?  Do you have advice for someone taking on a creative project?