What’s Your Excuse?

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Even though I’ve had ample time to write today, I haven’t even opened Microsoft Word. It’s just too darned hot to write. It’s 90 degrees outside, and since we don’t have air conditioning, it’s well over 80 in the house. I can’t wait until later when it’s supposed to cool down and the rain comes in.

Some people bask in the heat, but I’m not a fan of summer. These high temps leave me feeling short of breath. I’ve been having heart palpitations and I’m just exhausted.

So, that’s why I’m not writing.

I guess if I really wanted to write, I would. The truth is, I’m working on a rewrite and I’ve hit a stumbling block. I need to work things out in my mind before I move forward. I guess I could work on a different project, but for now I’m using the heat as my excuse to take a break.

I’ve heard from other authors who have a difficult time writing in the summertime. They’re hot, busy, have house guests, the kids are driving them crazy, etc, etc.

Do you have a hard time writing in the summer? Are you taking a break? What’s YOUR excuse?

Summer Read Recommendation: Blind Sight

Blind Sight is a paranormal book I highly recommend. And, guess what? It’s currently FREE on Kindle, but only for a limited time. Learn more by reading my previous review on Authors to Watch.

Jordan has visions of monsters, demons, and death. Seventeen, orphaned, and born into the family business, she doesn’t have friends, she doesn’t have choices. Her uncle, older brothers, and a few annoying angels dominate her life, demanding she tow their lines – and the punishment is severe when those lines are crossed.

When Jordan is ordered to help hunt down a monster, she’s not sure which she dreads more: the elusive, blood-thirsty creature or spending time in a cramped backwoods cabin with a brother who despises her. To make matters worse, a demon shows up and warns Jordan that she could be her family’s next assignment.

In a game between Good and Evil where God seems to have tapped out early, lines are blurred and not everything is as it seems. Jordan learns a little too late that the real monster is closer than she thinks.

Download the book FREE now! http://getbook.at/nicolestorey1

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Twitter Wars: #AskELJames

Tricia Drammeh:

I am NOT a fan of 50 Shades. I think E.L. James and her publicists went into the Twitter “fiasco” knowing good and well what would happen. The author would receive a public thrashing and her fans would rise to defend her, resulting in massive sales. While I agree with the “poor EL” bloggers who say no one deserves to be publicly humiliated and insulted, I think her publicists set her up for this. The trolls helped her gain free publicity resulting in the sale of more books. It would have been far more insulting had her detractors stayed off the hashtag and turned her PR stunt into a non-event. As it stands now, EL is in a position where she’s been featured in multiple blogs and articles. This mess have paved the way for her become the poster child of anti-bullying. That’s the part that sickens me. She’s going to profit from something she (or her PR folks) set up, while those who are truly being cyberbullied are shoved into the shadows, making them bigger victims than ever before.

Originally posted on Maegan Provan, Author:

I understand that I tend to go against popular opinion, but I was so tired of seeing all of the “poor EL James” blog posts. This is all I am going to say about it.

Everyone seems to have an opinion about the explosion of anti-50 Shades tweets following a failed public AMA for EL James on Twitter under the hastag #AskELJames. While most people felt sorry for EL, I have to say that I honestly don’t. While a few questions were a bit outlandish, hundreds of those questions were completely legitimate. Questions about her feelings on condoning abuse; what she really feels about domestic violence; does she even view what she “wrote” as domestic violence? The list goes on and on. I understand that we as authors need to stand together, but don’t those that are victims of abuse, harassment, stalking, (etc), and those against it deserve to speak their…

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New Release! DARKHAVEN Review and Author Interview

Tricia Drammeh:

In case you missed this post on Authors to Watch…

Originally posted on Authors to Watch:

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Today, I’m over-the-moon excited to be a part of the DARKHAVEN release party!!! Not only did I read and review (and absolutely LOVE) the book, I managed to score an interview with author A.F.E. Smith! In addition to the interview and review, we’ve also got a scavenger hunt and giveaway. AND, there’s a Facebook party you are invited to join where you can win tons of prizes. So, without further rambling from me, allow me to introduce A.F.E. Smith…

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Hi, A.F.E. and welcome! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Hi, Tricia, and thanks for having me! Hmm, a bit about me … well, I work as an academic editor during the day and a fantasy writer at night. Thus far I haven’t accidentally-on-purpose added a swordfight into a textbook about number theory, but I’m working on it. I’m also the mother of two children, who I refer to online…

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How to Write a Book You’ll Hate

Most authors worry about how their book will be received by others. What if people hate it? What if they leave a scathing review? Well, writing a book everyone will like is easy! Anyone can do it, right? Wrong!

If you want to write a book everyone will hate (including you), here’s how to do it:

  1. Don’t settle for one genre. Add a mixture of all of them! Try writing a romantic-mystery-thriller with horror elements and a feel-good ending. Or an erotic-Christian-epic fantasy book that appeals to readers of all ages.
  2. Be original. If you write about magic, people will accuse you of copying Harry Potter. Same with erotica. You don’t want anyone to compare your work to 50 Shades. Write something so unique, readers won’t have any idea what it is.
  3. Follow the latest trends. It’s silly and self-indulgent to write what you like. Your book is for the readers – not for you. Jump on the latest bandwagon and write the book you think everyone else will enjoy.
  4. Introduce a lot of characters. The key to hooking the reader is crafting characters with whom they can identify with and root for. But what kind of character will resonate with all readers? Since all readers are different, it’s impossible to craft a single character that will appeal to everyone. That’s okay! Writer several different types of characters (70 should do the trick) and introduce them all in the first chapter. Readers love that.
  5. Steer clear of controversial topics. Some readers are easily offended. Avoid upsetting your readers at all costs. Be sure to avoid sex, violence, politics, religion, guns, sappy romance, and scary monsters. If there’s any doubt at all – eliminate it!
  6. Sex sells. So does violence. Put a sex scene in every chapter to keep that reader turning the pages. Add a couple of shoot-outs and a murder too. The more gore, the better.
  7. Use a lot of big words. The more times the reader stops mid-sentence to consult a dictionary, the better. Also, readers will feel extra smart if they’re reading a book with a lot of big words. They can read excerpts aloud so their friends will think they’re extra smart too.
  8. Don’t edit. You don’t time for that! Readers don’t want to wait for your next book in the series. They’re impatient. They’re busy. So slap that book up on Amazon and write the next book, already.
  9. Strive for perfection. If your book isn’t perfect, everyone will hate it. One error will ruin the whole thing!!! Edit and edit again. And again. If one beta reader hates a tiny element in the book, you should probably rewrite the whole thing. Or start over again. You can never be too careful.
  10. Take advice from all the experts. Writing experts are everywhere. Read the articles. Follow all the rules, even the ones that seem contradictory.

It’s impossible to write a book everyone will like. Some readers only read books with lots of steamy sex, while other readers hate it. Some readers prefer fantasy while others only read political thrillers. You will never ever please everyone, so why try?

Write the book YOU like. Create the best book YOU can write and be proud of your work. Just write!

"Leave me alone. I'm being creative."

“Leave me alone. I’m being creative.”

Why I am Currently More Concerned with Writing

Tricia Drammeh:

Love this article. I’ve been there. I think most authors eventually come to this point. It’s easy to wrapped up in marketing and lose sight of what we’re supposed to be doing – writing. Yes, marketing and promotion is a necessary evil, but if it takes away from writing, we need to re-evaluate our goals. Thanks for sharing your story, Maegan!

Originally posted on Maegan Provan, Author:

Self-publishing 101 is an intense push on the importance of marketing yourself and social media. I have a Youtube, this blog, my website, a Facebook Page, AND a Twitter. This time last year I was more concerned about how important growing my platforms was and growing my book sales than actually writing. I, like every other author on the planet (whether they admit it or not), want to be noticed. I want my books to be successful and I want everyone to read everything I’ve written. That was all fine and dandy until the progress on completing my second book ground to a screeching halt. It took me almost two years to complete Jeremy and I learned a lot about myself and my writing process during that time. I wanted to share with you a bit more insight into my hiatuses, my social presence, and why I’ve changed my point of…

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Compassion for Oneself #1000Speak

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This is my first post for #1000Speak, though I’ve been meaning to post for a while and have been avidly following the blog movement. What is #1000Speak? Find out on the Official Blog.

The topic this month is Compassion. I’ve decided to address something I’ve been struggling with a lot lately: Compassion for Myself.

What does is mean to have compassion for yourself? For me, it means self care. It means sometimes saying NO to others in order to say YES to me.

This sounds easy, doesn’t it? For some, it’s simple. But for those of you, like me, who have let your empathy run amok, it’s very difficult to put our needs ahead of others.

When it comes to other people, I’m a very forgiving, compassionate person. I will go out of my way to help someone else and my heart breaks at the thought of someone being hurt or disappointed.

When it comes to me? I’m not nearly as forgiving. I hold grudges against myself, constantly dredging up past mistakes and lapses in judgment. When life disappoints me, I see it as a punishment for something I did or didn’t do.

When other people need something from me, I often drop everything in order to help, even if it means I undergo extreme hardship in order to ensure they don’t suffer the slightest inconvenience. My compassion for others often means I end up tired, stressed out, and depressed.

If I could channel a fraction of that love and compassion and redirect it to myself, I would be a much more balanced person. And that’s exactly what I need to do. I recently came to this revelation. If I don’t take care of ME, I have nothing left to give to anyone else. That’s a fact.

Lack of compassion for oneself is a multifaceted issue. For some, it’s a matter of self-esteem. Some people were raised to believe it’s wrong to put their own needs first. For those who have been physically or emotionally abused, they were groomed to believe their own needs don’t matter. Some of us are just so used to being caretakers, we have forgotten about our own needs.

I think we could all benefit from more compassion in our lives. We should all be givers and receivers of compassion. Share love, kindness, and compassion freely – not only with others, but with yourself.

Do You Believe in You?

Do I believe in myself? Do I believe in my writing? These are questions I’ve been contemplating for a while. I’ve made a few investments in my dreams, but most of the risks I’ve taken have been carefully calculated. I’ve weighed every expenditure and for the most part, I’ve hardly spent any money on my books that I’m not fairly certain I can recoup.

Maybe I’ve been working in accounting for so long, I can’t stop viewing my writing career from a strictly businesslike standpoint. Or maybe I just don’t believe in myself enough. To be honest, I think it’s a little of both.

For example, I know authors who spend thousands of dollars on each book before it’s ever published. Some expenditures are unavoidable, such as editors and book covers. But some authors go the extra mile, hiring publicists and personal assistants to handle their marketing and social media needs. They invest in bookmarks, postcards, and a variety of bling. They plan online launch parties and give away $50 gift cards and swag-packs as an incentive for readers to spread the word about their new book. And after publication, they continue to spend on blog tours and advertisements.

Before anyone blasts me in the comment section, I’m not judging the authors who do this. If I could afford it, I might do the same. I wonder if some of these authors can truly afford their expenditures, though. I wonder if they have the extra money, or if they just have something I don’t have – confidence. Maybe some of these authors believe in themselves so much that they are willing to take a risk and give their book an extra boost. Maybe my problem is that I’ve put my books into the “hobby” category. I’m willing to invest the time, but not the money.

How many of you are willing to invest in your dream? Whether you’re an author or not, everyone has a passion. How many of you are willing to make that passion a top priority?

Authors: Do you hire publicists and tour hosts? How do you determine your marketing and promotional budget? In your opinion, how much is too much?

The Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award

I’m honored to be nominated for The Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award. Thank you, Joleene Naylor, for the nomination. If you’re not familiar with Joleene, she is a cover artist, talented photographer, blogger, and the author of the Amaranthine Series. You check check out her blog HERE.

Here’s how it works:

  • Thank the giver and link their blog to your post.
  • Answer the 10 questions given to you.
  • Pass the award on to 7 other bloggers of their choice and let them know that they have been nominated.
  • Include the logo of the award in a post or on your blog.

1. You’re going on vacation to a deserted island and you get five things (besides toilet paper, food, and the essentials). What do you take? The box set of Harry Potter books, a notebook, pens, camera, and sunglasses.

2. What’s your favorite movie or TV show? Lately, I’ve been hooked on Criminal Minds.

3. What’s something you collect? Lighthouse-themed stuff.

4. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? I would stand up for myself more often.

5. Cats, dogs, or squirrels? Cats, but I love dogs too.

6. What’s a hobby people might not guess you have? Singing really loud when I’m alone in my car.

7. Do you roll or fold your socks (or just stuff them in the drawer)? Stuff ’em.

8. What is the closest object on your right? My Kindle.

9. If you could be known for only one thing, what would it be? I’d like to be known as someone who has had a positive impact on others.

10. If you were a ghost, who would you haunt? I have a list here somewhere… Do I have to pick just one person?

It’s always hard for me to narrow down a list of nominees. I know some of you participate in awards and others do not. If you have the time or the inclination to participate, that’s great. If not, I totally understand. Here’s my list of nominees:

I highly encourage you to visit my nominees’ excellent blogs!

And, finally, here are ten questions for my nominees to answer on their own blogs:

  1. When did you begin writing?
  2. What writing project are you most proud of?
  3. What are you working on right now?
  4. What is your ideal writing retreat?
  5. What is your favorite dessert?
  6. What is your favorite animal?
  7. Favorite song?
  8. Favorite color?
  9. Favorite beverage?
  10. If you could make any law you wanted, what would it be?

Thank you again, Joleene, for your nomination. And thank you to all my nominees for being totally awesome bloggers!

The Writer’s Pro Shop Series, Why You Need It – A Guest Post by Hubert O’Hearn

Tricia Drammeh:

Here’s a wonderful opportunity for writers to refresh and sharpen their writing skills!

Originally posted on Books: Publishing, Reading, Writing:

Hubert O’Hearn has previously been featured on Reading Recommendations. He is a Canadian-born playwright and journalist who now lives in Ireland. When he announced his newThe Writer’s Pro Shop Seriesrecently I asked if he’d like to write a guest blog post to help promote this service that’s intended for writers at all levels in their careers. So, here’s Hubert!

The Writer’s Pro Shop Series. Why You Need It.

Hubert profileThe Writer’s Pro Shop is a series of weekly writing exercises I am offering for free on the internet. Not only are these important skill development exercises on my own website (bythebookreviews.blogspot.com), I’m also allowing anyone with a personal website or blog to freely use this content just so long as it is properly attributed back to me. Everybody wins!

Why Did I Develop These Exercises?

Through my work as an independent book editor I have discovered that my…

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