Wednesday, April 29, 2015


My father told me when I was a young girl that-"A person all wrapped up in themselves makes a very small package. As creatives, authors find themselves in this predicament quite often. Between marketing, writing, editing, querying and the multitude of tasks an author has to perform...sometimes we are very small packages. An event in the community, in your area or with fellow writers can go a long way to make you a bigger package and your writing more successful.
On Blogtalk Radio's Your family matters show, Today, April 29 at 2 pm est. Justin Osmond of the infamous singing Osmonds, is talking with hosts V.S. Grenier and I about his perpetual hearing fund and his 250 mile run to raise funds for deaf an hard of hearing children in Southern Utah. Go to to the Your Family Still Matters link and listen to us speak with this great entrepreneur, philanthropist and writer about his own hearing loss and his charity efforts for others with hearing loss.
This show Wednesday  is for a wonderful cause, plus our guest is part of one of the most famous families in Utah.…/woi-justin-osmond-guests-on-…

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Fast and Furious-What does your genre call for?

Writing a good story has so much to do with the pace at which the story unfolds. You can have a good plot, great characters and interesting scenes, but if it is written or told at the wrong pace it will bore or overwhelm your reader.
In this modern day and age, our readers are used to having all the information they need and want in the palm of their hands...literally. It is a challenge to find the rate and pace to hand out the entire story line. You must string your reader along without losing their interest and you must let them feel the excitement of the scene without blowing them out of the water.
I've spent years researching, writing and reading to try to accomplish this perfect balance.I've  only discovered-
There is no secret way to learn correct pacing.
Some writers have an instinctual knowledge of how to accomplish this. Others, like me, must learn, practice, and revise our brains out.
Every genre, however, has a different pace that will work.
If you write true romance, the pace of the love story or interest must be immediate attraction, magnetic draw, an overwhelming desire to be together, broken heart or trust and reconciliation. For non-romance readers, this immediate physical and emotional pace feels false.
For action, thriller and suspense, every scene must move toward an action packed, dramatic final battle. Each battle in between must build in intensity and stakes
The pace of the genre depends on the audience, the plot, and the theme.
One thing all genres have in common though, is-
The tools you use to set the pace.
#1. Voice-  voice breaks down to 2 types
To slow a scene down a passive voice will lengthen out the sentences, draw out the narrative and reflect the reader back into the story. Your passive voice should not be more than 5 % of your total manuscript though.
Active voice keeps the narrative in the present, moving forward and staying with the plot instead of reflecting back on it. one trick to remove passive voice is to eliminate words like: had, has, or have been.
"Jane had been riding her bike before the accident." or "Jane rode her bike. "
#2. verb forms and types-  Verbs are used in past and present forms as well as perfect and imperfect forms. Present tense always puts your reader in the moment something is happening and increases intensity. "The metal tears, screaming its protest as it shreds away from the car."
"The metal tore. It screamed in protest as it shredded away from the car."
One is faster than the other and feels more extreme.
#3. Dialogue-  The length and content of a conversation will increase or decrease the pace of your scene. If your character is in danger and you want to increase suspense the use of dialogue should be more drawn out.
If your character is in danger and you want your reader scrambling with the character through their obstacles, use short, sentence fractures.
""Its too late for you. The sea will claim your broken body after I have taken your last breath. My hands will find the final beat of your heart as I twist your puny neck. You have nowhere to run or hide and no one to save you. Only my ears will hear your cries before I sacrifice your blood to the night." 

""You can't run."
"please...why me?"
"Nothing personal. I need blood. yours will do."
Every scene, chapter and section of your story needs balance between fast and furious or long and drawn out. The reader must take a break and breathe before they run out of air. Just make sure when you're finding your balance your aren't stealing the last of the oxygen or suffocating your reader. I'm always looking for tips and skills to make pacing a natural part of my writing instead of a chore during editing. If you can help...leave me a comment or suggestion., In the meantime, keep writing!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

5 secrets To Successful Self-Publishing

Being traditionally published by one of the big six publishing houses is the top of the heap for beginning writers. In today's day and age though, creative freedom, investment vs. return and the ability to charge what you're worth as an author are common reasons many authors choose to self-publish. As I've learned about the business side of writing, I've also met some great self-published writers and learned about how they do it.
Today's guest post is from one such writer, Jamie Jo Hoang, the author of Blue Sun, Yellow Sky …

Hoang's work was a finalist in the North Texas RWA’s “Great Expectations” Contest, and was recently recognized as a finalist in The Beverly Hills International Book Awards. Blue Sun, Yellow Sky was also  named one of Kirkus Reviews’ Indie books of the Month (February 2015 issue)
Thanks for sharing your expertise, Jamie!
.  .
****Switching gears from writing to marketing was quite possibly the most excruciating brain shift I’ve had to endure. That being said, I’ve learned a lot!
So I thought I’d share my experiences to help anyone who is considering self-publishing. I also plan to revisit this page if I ever do this again for another

Number 1 — Begin PR Planning at Least SIX Months in Advance

Six months seems like a long time to wait after the novel is done but trust me when I say it will fly by before you know it, and there is a lot of prep
work. I’ll get into the nitty gritty later in this post, but allocating enough time to send out massive amounts of e-mails and get responses takes a long
time. Had I known what I know now I would’ve started this process at the same time I began querying agents.

First things first, and I cannot stress this enough:
 “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover” be damned. EVERYONE is going to judge your book by its cover first. And you’ll need the cover to jumpstart everything

Then, get your ISBN numbers. You will need two–one for your Paperback and a different one for your e-book.

Also, there are 3 basic e-mails you will need to prepare, as you will be sending out thousands of e-mails.

Query Letter
 — If you haven’t queried before you should. Rejection sucks, but having an agent will help you avoid many of the mistakes I’ve made going it alone.

b) Book Review Query — The concept is very much the same as your Query Letter but you have to include book information. Here is a
if you need help.

c) Newspaper Book Review Query — This one I found to be the least useful, since I got a 0% response rate, but that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t work for someone
else. Here’s a list of
 contact info– if you have any luck with this please comment below. I’d love some tips.

Create a Press Release — I used PRweb (a paid service) because I had no idea how to even begin writing one.  You don’t need to send out a Press Release
right away, but having the PDF file ready will you save you lots of time and a headache later. This is getting a little ahead of ourselves, but when you’re
ready to release it (and please do check with someone who knows PR) here is a list of sites compiled by
where you can do so for free.

Number 2 — Get all of your Social Media Lined Up and Ready to Go

Setup/Update your: Personal Website, Facebook Author Page, Twitter, Goodreads Author Account, Amazon Author Account, Google+, etc.

Make sure you have a full page dedicated to your book: What’s it about? Where can I buy it? What are others saying about it?

Start building a Twitter following. There are useful apps out there for this. Hootsuite is great for planning out tweets in advance and Justunfollow helps
you find people to follow via keywords (ie. #author, #books, #amwriting, etc.) This will ensure that you’re building a reader network and not just a bunch
of random Twitter followers who just want a followback. Also, you’re building a network, so for the love of God, just follow people back. Unless you’re
Stephen King and get 100,000 followers the day you sign up for Twitter, you need to look at social media as a reciprocal networking medium. I can’t vouch
for other networking communities, but writers genuinely want to help each other out and you’d be surprised at how many people will retweet your book tweets.

Facebook: This will feel like you’re pimping yourself out a little bit, but GET OVER IT. Invite ALL of your friends and family to “Like” your author page.
You’re going to need all of the support your can get and it begins with them.

At first, it’ll feel kind of lame to have these pages up with no news to post, but be patient we’re getting to that next.

Number 3 — Submit Your Book for “Reputable” Industry Book Reviews

Yes. You have to pay for some of these. And No, this does not guarantee you a good review. They’re pricey (~$250-$500 each) but a good review from just
one of them is HUGE. This is where strangers begin taking a chance on your “Indie” book.

These are the 5 I’d hit up first:

Foreward Reviews
 (If you do this 3 months prior to your publication date, it is possible to get a review for free.) If they choose to review your book, you will get a spotlight
in the Magazine as well.

Clarion Reviews
 — Clarion is a division of Foreword (and the more recognizable industry name). If you miss the Foreward deadline (as I did) you can pay $499 for Clarion
to review your book. Both reviews are conducted by the same group of people.

– Booklist is part of the American Library Association so getting reviewed here is a big deal. It’s free to request having your material reviewed. However,
you MUST to submit to Booklist no later than you submit to any other pre-publication media AND they do not review an e-book unless it’s available in libraries
already (one of those industry Catch-22’s).

Kirkus Reviews
 — If your browser is as keen to your searches as mine is, you will see ads for Kirkus Reviews EVERYWHERE. This made me wary of course, but make no mistake
they are the Creme de la creme of indie book reviewers. Kirkus has been around since 1933 and for indie authors, getting a good review by them is like
getting a good review from the New York Times (I have yet to figure out how to get The NY Times to review a book). It costs $425, but your review is automatically
considered for their “Indie Book of the Month” promotion, which means A LOT of free exposure to book buyers via their website and bi-monthly magazine.

– BookLife is the Indie arm of Publishers Weekly. They’re still in Beta as of now, but they are accepting Indie books for review and it’s FREE. However,
if you want to advertise your review with them it does cost $149.

Number 4 — Submit Your Book to Bloggers for Book Reviews

This is what grassroots campaigning all about. Book bloggers have your target audience hooked into their reviews so it’s the best way to promote your book and it’s
FREE. It does take a long time to e-mail everyone, but if you’ve done the first 3 steps you will a pro by the time you get to this part. Book bloggers
get a lot of e-mails so they need at least 2 months to schedule in your book.

Depending on your genre, you’ll need to do research on the blogs that best fit your book, but for anyone writing women’s fiction here are the sites I used:

Book Blogger List

The Indie View

Digital Pubbing
 wrote an amazingly comprehensive article on how to find reviewers and readers, among other things.

Number 5 — Figure out Printing/Pricing

I made the mistake of doing this part first. But could you really blame me? I really wanted to see it in print! It does take a lot of time and research
to find the printing press that is best for your needs. I went with IngramSpark and you can read why
But there are definite drawbacks–the major one being the $25 fee to upload new versions of your book. If you’re tight on money, make sure you have everything
proofed several times before uploading. This is not a problem if you go with CreateSpace. The other perk to CreateSpace is being able to set up pre-orders.
That being said, with IngramSpark the book fits in easily with any book you’ll find in a bookstore and you better believe book buyers take that into account
when considering your book!

As far as pricing, if you’re like me and all you want is to have it out there for people to buy, you’ll want to set the price as low as possible. However,
there are several things to consider still.

a) Just because your e-book is $.99 cents it doesn’t mean people will buy it. Sometimes pricing it that low makes people think it’s of poor quality. Look
up books in your similar genre and price-match to stay competitive. OR just price it at $2.99. It’s a respectable price for an e-book and even popular
New York Times Best Sellers go for that low. I mean it’s the price of a cup of coffee.

b) Paperbacks are a little more nuanced. There are hard costs to Print On Demand, but then you also need to consider that retail book buyers will want a
wholesale discount and to avoid paying them to buy your book, you’ll need to raise the price. A 50% markup is where I’d start because wholesale buyers
typically want a 35%-55% discount. Besides, you presumably spent a long time writing this thing– don’t sell yourself short. I’d say for a first book $8.99-$12.99
is a good range.

Once you’ve completed all of these steps an agent you queried way back in step 1 will probably call you and you’ll think you did it all for nothing. But
you would be wrong! What will likely happen is the next e-mail they send you will be a link back to my site with the subject line: Let’s Get This Baby
Out There! And the both of you will be simultaneously relieved. You, because Ta Da! You’re done! And she (or he), because they were mentally geared up
for the long haul and you took the express train to meet them halfway. They will be so impressed with you for being at the top of your game

Jamie is still shopping for the right agent and working on her next novel. To find her go to:

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Paper Gems: Elliot Lawrence

The best advice, and the most fun, I've ever had as a writer is the practice of READING!
In my quest for good books, great writers and beautiful prose, I read between 30 and 50 books a month. Along my way I struggle through some decent stories, find fun plots and bask in the great ones. They all feel to me as if I'm on a treasure hunt for priceless gems. On the second Wednesday of every month I share some of these 'paper gems' and links to where you can join the treasure hunt.
Lawrence Elliot is a man who works with young people as a guide, both spiritual and educational. His work  makes a difference with his down-home approach to life and God., This first book, Practical Proverbs For Everyday Living is published by Halo Publishing and can be found at or where e-books are sold.
Practical Proverbs For Everyday living isn't a long book, but it is chock full of common sense advice about being a basically good person and finding success. As a reference guide, these practical proverbs struck me as common sense in a simple, clear way. Many of them rang with colonels of truth and struck me as good advice for anyone who strives to live a better life. The text reads as lists of these proverbs in a simple presentation. I wanted the author to provide real stories or situations in which his practical proverbs were applicable and relevant, but as I said, the book is more of a reference guide. His practical advice can be applied by different people in different situations and backgrounds and requires only a seed of faith in a higher power to make sense.
To find out more about Lawrence Elliot go to, or

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Jane Not Plain

As writers, a project or manuscript will start as one thing, only to end up as something else. Two weeks ago, as the co-host of a blogtalk radio program through the World Of Ink Network, I had the opportunity to interview the  founder of a radical new program on The Empowerment show.A few years ago, Dona Rudderow Sturn published the Jane Not Plain series, stories of a young girl discovering her importance, gifts, talents and worth in the world. This set of books focused on adolescent girls and the development of good self esteem.
Recently, Sturn and her committee have expanded this brand into the JNP project to include children, both boys and girls, from age 5 and younger all the way to 18.
Kids, parents and educators will all enjoy the interactive website,
It features an adult public Forum, Members Only Private Q&A Professional Forum, a Forum for Kids to talk to Jane & Jake directly, downloads, and more.
JNP gives parents, teachers, caregivers and counselors the tools to help children develop confidence, strengthen self-esteem, and grow into assured leaders.

In addition to a focus on building children’s self-esteem, JNP offers both unparalleled artistry and collaboration among published international authors
in the story development. The group of  31 chapter-books, set in three series, are available in traditional as well as digital interactive book formats.

The JNP Project was born out of the understanding of what makes up the faces of our inner awesome.

Learn more about WOI and its hosts at

Listen to the show live or on demand at