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Tuesday, December 29, 2015

My Guide to Setting Realistic 2016 Goals

The new year is upon us and it is really time to start thinking about resolutions. I want you to think about how New Year's makes you feel? Do you feel excited (I do)? Do you get stressed? Does it make you feel like a failure by the time February rolls around?

If you feel like the latter, please...make this new year the last year you feel like that. The new year is the perfect time to make new goals, and build upon the year before. So, to make it easy for you--not that I am a goal expert--but I've found a pretty easy solution to making realistic goals.

What do I mean by realistic? Well, I'm not going to set my goal to be a millionaire by December 2016. Is that to say it won't happen? No, in fact if it did I would welcome it. Being a millionaire is a long term goal for sure, but not a year goal. That is the key...what I just said.

Long term goals vs. short term goals vs. monthly goals vs. weekly goals vs. daily goals. 

Phew. Sounds like a lot of work doesn't it? I guess it can be, but once you really break it down it doesn't seem so daunting.

So to set it up I write out what my long term goal is. My long term goal spans about a year to five years for now, I have even longer goals up until retirement age, but I don't want to get too complex. This is just an example and isn't to say these are my specific goals.

  • Long Term Goal (one year) December 2016 {see that I give myself a time frame}
  1. Make $4,000 a month selling books (print or eBook) {now this goal is not a million dollars, and after research I've done, if I can publish the books I have planned it is a realistic goal}
  • Short Term Goal (4 months) April 2016
  1. Publish my first trilogy + free short story for email subscribers
  2. Have 10,000 email list subscribers {If I market and keep up with my monthly, weekly and daily goals, getting 10,000 subscribers is attainable...not easy, but attainable a post on email subscribers coming soon}
  3. Host a giveaway
  • Monthly Goals {What must be reached each month to reach short and long term goals}
  1. Write at least 20 quality blog posts
  2. Pay for 1-2 Social Media campaigns to gain subscribers
  3. Read a new book {Constant learning. As a writer, if you don't have time to read you don't have time to write.}
  4. Complete a service for someone else, family or stranger {I am a believer you must serve other to be successful. Greed may seem prosperous, but the important things in life will dissipate. Successful relationships are a priority for successful people}
  5. Research editors and cover designers {this isn't every months, because I hope to find editors and designers that I just keep working with}
  6. Website maintenance
  • Weekly Goals {What must be done to reach monthly goals, etc}
  1. Write 5-10 Facebook page posts
  2. Budget a set weekly amount for social media campaigns
  3. Write at least 10,000 words 
  4. Write 5 blog posts
  5. Give sneak peaks into chapters and upcoming writing
  6. Find 10 new likes or subscribers or friends a week
  7. Read a at least 80 pages of a different book
  8. Periscope and tweet at least once a week {follow me @emmyedits3}
  • Daily Goals {what I must do everyday to reach long term goal}
  1. Personal development book or podcast for at least 10 minutes
  2. Spiritual meditation
  3. Exercise at least 20 minutes
  4. Write at least 2,000 words a day
  5. Post on Facebook or Goodreads
  6. Connect with other authors on Goodreads
  7. Read 5 pages a day of a different book
  8. Play with my children

If you notice, very few of my daily goals even remotely seem like they could help me make an extra $4,000 a month with my writing,, but for me if I am daily strengthening myself, focusing on my health, and spending time with the people I love most I have more energy, balance, and order to accomplish the other things like writing, marketing and selling. 

I hope you don't feel overwhelmed. Take an hour, write out your long term goal then Break. It. Down.

You can't just write a goal with no road map on how to reach it. That is where people fail. I'll take weight loss for an example (since it is one of the biggest goals) people can say I want to lost 50 pounds, and then 2 weeks later they are the same weight or have gained weight. It's because they don't break it down. What are you going to give up each day, what are you going to do weekly, monthly etc. to reach that goal? 

I wish you the best of luck planning your year. Set goals, you will always progress if you set something to strive for. 

Happy Writing.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Pushing through problems to reach success

Today has been a thoughtful day. The holidays are here, everything is magical, my kiddos can practically hear Santa's sleigh bells (my seven-year-old asked today if we could call him his proper name, Chris Kringle, haha). But through all this my family has been hitting some bumps in the road.

My sweet youngest guy has had a year of tests and doctor visits (he's good, just some things that had to be double checked.) We are now at the end of the year and bombarded with bills from multiple doctors. I'm not meaning to get too personal and am not trying to be woe is me, in fact quite the opposite.

I mentioned above today has been a thoughtful day. Because of these lovely expenses, which I will gladly pay (somehow) for my boy, I nearly decided to shelf my upcoming series because I decided it wouldn't be practical to pay for more editing, cover design, ads etc. Then the thought came to me...No, aren't things worth reaching for found in some of our most trying moments? Think about it, most things that are great and worth attaining come from hard, tedious, sometimes emotionally draining work.

Think of Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, JK Rowling, even Stephen King. The famous entrepreneurs were ridiculed, they failed miserably multiple, if not hundreds of times, yet we still know their names for their accomplishments. The two authors mentioned, JK Rowling was 'as poor as you could be without being homeless' according to her when she wrote Harry Potter, holy cow talk about a success story. Stephen King has said before he was rejected over and over and over again. Now he is the name of horror in my opinion.

The point of this soap box is to hopefully motivate you to keep going with your ambitions. It won't get easier, it may even seem more hopeless, but as I pondered my own situation someday somehow I knew it would be a big mistake if I did not continue forward with my books. Take a self inventory of your own situation, and decide if somewhere inside yourself you know your goal is worth reaching no matter how uphill the climb may be. I believe there is greatness in all of us, just few of us hold on until we reach the top of the climb.

Good luck with all your brilliant ambitions and Happy Writing. 

Friday, December 18, 2015

Hire an Editor. Please

In today's writing world really anyone can publish a novel. Some people do it within hours. Fantastic. So for those who spent weeks, months, even years on their manuscripts how can  you distinguish yourselves above...well above all the slush to be blunt?
The easiest way to stand out is to have a clean, error free manuscript. I'm sure you've heard it before, but you have a neighbor who got an 'A' in high school English so you're having them read your book. That's super, and I encourage beta-readers, BUT the best investment you can make as an Indie author, or even an author reaching out to agents is to have your manuscript professionally edited before publication, or submission. I assure it will be money well spent.
Nothing upsets a reader more than getting bogged down during their exciting reading experience due to grammatical errors, spelling errors, or plot errors. I actually read a book (it will remain nameless) where an important character's name changed halfway through! What?
There are amazing places to find freelance editors I'll list a few for your convenience:

So when you are looking for an editor what should you keep an eye out for?
Credentials: You don't need a formal degree in editing, but some have various types. I have a copy editing certificate that has really helped me during my work. However, I have hired editors with no formal training, they simply have talent.
Price: Most editors charge on word count. Even if it's a penny a word it adds up quick, so make sure you're clear on the pricing. I have seen some charge per page as well.
Process: Double check the process of the editor. What type of editing program do they use? How quickly can you expect edits returned? Will there be more than one person editing the manuscript? Do they offer samples. Editors should be available to answer questions, but you as the author must keep in mind writing is a subjective business. An editor will do their best to catch every error, but they are human. They also may change something you disagree with. That's okay, don't accept the edit, but don't haggle them either. Again, a subjective business. I highly recommend signing a contract. It's an investment on your part, protect that investment.
Please take my advice. Editing is priceless in the writing realm. No matter how many times you've read your own story, you will miss something. I have ran my own editing business for over a year and I still send out my manuscripts to other editors. I just don't trust myself with my own writing. It's worth it.
My most recent editors were wonderful and reasonably priced. You can find them at

Good luck, and happy writing!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Top 6 Tips for Being Productive

We all have those moments when we can't seem to muster up any motivation to work--or get off the couch and stop the Harry Potter Marathon. I know you do it too.

I've found especially during this fun festive season it can be very hard to find time to work on your goals, writing, or projects...unless it involves a Christmas gift. I get it, I think the last three days I've written one paragraph in book 2 of the Relic series. Yikes, my publication date for the entire trilogy is in the spring!!!

So as I've realized how frazzled I've let myself get I've written out my six strategies for staying productive, making progress, and writing more. Now as my gift for you this holiday season I'd like to share them.

1- Prioritize your to-do list:

  •  This may sound simple enough, but it's amazing how many of us get thrown off our lists (even if you write out the list). You must prioritize your tasks and DO NOT move on until the previous task is complete. This will help you stay focused and motivated to move on to the next task.

2- Decrease distractions:
  • Again, probably obvious. Then why do experts always mention decrease distractions? Because we don't do it. Now, I understand distractions. I have three munchkins under the age of 7, my oldest is in school so she is not much of a whirlwind, but my younger boys are tornadoes. I can't pee in peace...they find me. Add a Christmas tree with breakable ornaments and presents waiting to be opened into the mix--yikes, I get it. I'm talking more, when you actually are sitting in your own space ready to work,and ready to write. Turn your phone on airplane mode if you have to, disconnect the internet if you can so you don't scroll through the endless feed of Facebook. I struggle with this too, if I am at a bump in my writing I always find I 'take a break' on Facebook. That's not going to inspire me: maybe exercising, reading, blogging would be a better 'break' time activity.

3- Wake up with Determination:
  • This isn't always easy. I am a firm believer if we tell ourselves the day is going to be "one of those days" it will be. I believe our minds and attitude are extremely powerful. If you had a sleepless night, I understand feeling tired and wanting to slug around all day, but it will be a day wasted. I'm all for resting and sleep, but I also know as adults we can't just stop living for a day. If you can, I want to know what you do for a living. I highly recommend Yoga. I have found great invigoration doing Yoga when I'm tired, stressed or just sluggish. Surf Youtube, there are so many great videos that take about 15 minutes to do and you'll feel different I promise. (and guys, my husband does Yoga with me sometimes, so feel free to try it out)

4- Organize your space:
  • This actually can fit in with decrease your distractions, but I view this as physical not virtual distractions. I am not organized. I'll admit it, it is not a talent of mine. I'm clean and I can scrub toilets like nobody's business, but I am not organized. I find if I let things go too much I will begin to feel stressed, uneasy and frazzled internally. If you step back and slowly organize your space, whether it's your room, desk, car--wherever I have a inkling you will feel better and be more productive. 

5- Avoid T.V.:
  • Hold up, before I'm labeled as a T.V. hater...I'm not. That's why it's on my list. I love T.V. and I can get majorly lost in it. I can flip on Netflix and watch FOUR episodes of a show in a row. That's like 3 hours of wasted time! I could have spent that time doing all the above things and feeling quite pleased with myself by lunch time. I find when I spend my day doing the things that will better myself, such as attending to my children, reading, writing, nourishing my body, by the end of the day if I want to watch a movie or T. V. show I do so very restful. When my sink is full of dishes, homework was ignored and not finished, or I haven't blogged or written I'm doing those things with a stressed mind, with the T.V. on and I don't produce quality work. 

6- Set aside five minutes each morning for personal development:
  • I think this last step can be life changing. Whether you focus on spiritual development, business development, or true personal development setting aside five minutes is amazing. I subscribe to Darren Daily and guys it's awesome. I receive a text each morning and a link to a five minute video. This guy is very motivating and I feel ready to conquer my day. I also recommend reading development books, or finance books. If you are wanting to change your lifestyle this is a critical step in staying focused and productive. 

I hope these help. I'm not always perfect at these steps, but the days I am are wonderful and refreshing. I want you all to keep striving for greatness. Reach your goals, I'm right there with you trying my best. Feel free to comment with your own productivity ideas. I love new input!

Happy Writing

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

How To Be a Better Writer

Writing is exciting, and fun, and takes you places you didn't think you'd ever go. But there is one thing you must make time for if you want to be an even better writer--reading.

That's right. You have to find time still to read, I promise you it will help your writing exponentially. If you can't find time to read, you may want to reorganize some priorities. I don't mean that rude, and I don't want to cause you to huff and yell at me through the computer screen. I get being busy, I'm a mom of 3 kiddos under 7, and have other obligations besides walling myself up in my writing worlds. It can be difficult to find time to read.

I actually found I stopped reading for MONTHS. Life got away from me and I never could find the time to read books--now keep in mind reading books and falling in love with stories is what inspired me to become a writer in the first place. Yet, I'd allowed time to push out my first love of the written word.

I've started reading again, currently I'm working on Brandon Mull's series The Beyonders (to the joy of my husband, he's been trying to get me to read it for years). I have been amazed at the amount of motivation I find after I spend 20 minutes reading, that I can push into my stories. It's almost like reading gives your creative brain a rest for a moment and lets the juices flow so when you're ready to write again the words just flow out.

My advice as a professional reader, read many genres. I know it's fun to stick with what you like, but it's great to branch out and see how captivating other genres can be.

I promise if you set aside a few minutes each day to clear you head and escape into a book, your writing will improve. You stories will improve, and therefore your future/current fan-base will grow!

Happy Writing (and reading) 

Sunday, December 6, 2015

BIG step in achieving success!

What are you trying to accomplish? What do you dream about? What do you study, like we talked about in my study your passion post.

I have a thought I'd like you to ponder today as you are sitting down with your daily goals and trying to accomplish. Are you ready? Knowledge is not power.

Hold on...wait did I just say that? Yes, yes I did. Knowledge is endless. It can even teeter on the side of overwhelming thanks to the age of the internet. Before I explain my above statement answer this: Have you ever wanted something so bad you spend countless hours researching, studying, implementing strategies that before you know it you have a creak in your neck from stress. That my friends is being overwhelmed with knowledge...but you haven't acted upon your knowledge.

There it is. That is the key. Knowledge itself isn't the power, it is how we implement that knowledge that gives us power. As I've said before, I have spent years researching SEO (I still feel like I don't get it) Self-publishing, how to write, how to make passive income, how to traditionally publish novels etc. Yet, what have I done? I've written a book true, but it's sitting on my hard drive. So, one day I finally realized I could spend my life learning the proper way to do things, or I could actually publish my work for others to read and build my own success instead of reading others.

So that is what I'm going to do. I'm going to implement my knowledge I've gained and use it to build the life I want. In many areas. Now, I'm in no way saying to stop learning...I love learning. We must keep learning, but be careful to not waste your life just gaining knowledge on how to do something and never actually doing it.

Happy Writing!
Knowledge + action = power!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Top 10 Sites for Self-Publishers

Let's face it, as wannabe writers we all need a little help with guidance. The self-publishing world is vast and masterpieces can get lost if you just throw them out there. Trust me from experience, it will blow away with the wind.

So I thought I'd compile a short list of some of the sites I love to browse and seek guidance from when I need some motivation. It also is a great place to start to learn about opportunities out there for your writing. So without further adieu...

Top Ten Sites Wannabe Writers Should Use:

The Creative Penn
Great insight to self-publishing and being an authorpreneur

Nathan Bransford

Both a traditionally published and self-published author, he has great insight and tips for emerging authors. (I've read his book How to Write a's awesome. I recommend it)

David Gaughran
Really lays into self-publishing and why it's a great option to look into.

The Book Designer
Has great advice from everything from editing to cover design. He has lists and lists of people to turn to for help, as well as his own insight to being a successful Indie.

Hugh Howey
A huge self-publishing success story. Hugh has first hand experience into what it takes to sell books and make a living doing it.

Sean Platt & Johnny B. Truant
These guys are experts at self-publishing and recommend the funnel method--totally makes sense. (read their book Write, Publish, Repeat. Just do it, trust me)

Jane Friedman
Excellent thoughts on writing, editing and publishing

Lindsay Buroker
Self-published author that knows her stuff about marketing, and search optimization etc.

The Self Publishing Team
They have some great tips for authors looking to market and sell their own books.

JA Konrath
Successful self-published author with lots of advice.

The Most Crucial Part of Your Book

As I thought about what to write today, I was reminded of an experience I had as I tried to submit my first book to literary agents.

It was a positive experience because I learned something, but also a 'bang your head on the table' experience. I had forgotten what the most important part of my novel was. I was so captivated by my exciting conflicts, captivating climaxes, and the remaining two stories I still have to write I had forgotten about the first chapter.

My story is such that my first chapter was rewritten no less than 20 times. I knew it was important, so I worked hard to make it as great as possible. I finally got to a point that I just moved on, the beginning was at a good spot, I felt like I'd encompassed beta-reader feedback, I introduced my antagonist and felt I created a mystery about what was going to happen with said antagonist.

I admit my first 15 agents I sent the manuscript to, I did so prematurely. This is why I bang my head. By nature I'm not a patient person, but on my trilogy I had spent two years writing it, and the last year revising. I was patient, I wanted to do it right, but for a moment I lost patience and felt such pride in my book-not a bad thing to have pride in your work- but I sent it prematurely. I realized after my inbox had crickets chirping, or an occasional rejection I looked back at my first chapter.

Guys, the chapter was good, structurally. I have a massive conflict that occurs, but I began my story saying my antagonist was nothing special. Literally in my first paragraph I described him, and said he viewed himself as nothing special.

WHY IN THE WORLD would an agent want to continue reading a story in which the main character is nothing special? My writing was good, it developed a character, but when I was honest with myself I realized for the first 9 pages my antagonist didn't really do much to keep a reader interested. Yes, the end of the chapter offered some excitement and from chapter 2 on I feel the story moves quickly and is captivating.

Th purpose of this post is to remind you, who are writing, to review your first ten pages. Better yet, have a stranger read them. Strangers will be honest, because they are objective and make excellent beta-readers. Make sure your story sucks a reader, or potential agent in those first few pages. I lost sight of that. I knew in my mind not much happened in the first bit, but as the author I knew what was going to happen. I believe I talked myself into believing that if they could just read the entire book I would get my million dollar deal.

I may never get an opportunity with those 15 agents, in fact I'm not sure I will traditionally publish, but I don't view this as an opportunity wasted. It was a learning experience, and in truth that is what writing big learning curve.

I challenge you to re-read your beginning. Then ask another person to read it. Make sure when potential readers flip through the pages, whether on a book shelf or when they get to view a sample on Amazon that they want to keep reading it and buy it. 

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Finding your reason

Have you ever heard the expression--This is my 'why'? What does that mean? It's something that has helped push me through the moments I don't want to continue, the times where I've gotten lost in the slush of naysayers on the internet, or the pile of statistics riddled against me.

Your why is the reason you strive to be better--in whatever you're trying to do. I feel blessed to know many lovely people with the entrepreneurial spirit. They range in their talents: fitness, consulting, writing, teaching, coaching etc. And each one of these people has a 'why'.

The same should go for authors and writers. If you're trying to get something published, whether it be traditional or self-published, you have to have something pulling you through to the end. I promise you there will be days where you will stare at your computer and be disgusted by the words on the screen. You will view yourself as an utter failure, you will see stats saying the odds of making any money on books is a minuscule percentage. What's going to pull you over those hills? How are you going to push through?

Want to know why those percentages are so low? Because people quit too early. There I said it, hang me for it, but that's how I feel. I believe too many folks give up too early, and let the little squeaks of negativity infiltrate their dream and poison it. Was that dramatic enough for you?

As I've said before, I don't know what is going to become of my books, honestly I don't know if anyone even likes reading this blog, it's fairly new, but I'm not going to quit. I have my why. It's my littles that I love. I want to show them that they too can reach for their dreams. I don't care if your dream is to be the greatest chocolate chip cookie maker on your block. If that's your dream go for it. Mine happens to be making writing my full-time income, and my kiddos are what push me to keep going. You may think its cheesy, but that's what does it for me.

No matter what you're striving for, find your why and hold tight to it. Plaster it on poster board and hang it on every wall in your house if you have to, but do it. If you don't do it, somebody else will!

Hang in there! I'd love to hear your why, and what your goals are too!

Happy Writing, Happy Why-ing!

Monday, November 30, 2015

What is Outlining a novel?

I've written a book through trial and error. When I first started I thought --Hey, all you have to do is write words and it will come together.

Ha, I say, Ha. Not so. I haven't met one author that has been able to bust out a perfect first draft that landed a publishing contract. From my experience I've learned the entire process goes much smoother when I actually write out histories, personalities, the setting, and my overall story plot.

Next, I take an actual notebook, yes lined paper, and I write out EACH chapter as its own small story. I outline the motivation of the characters, the conflict which will occur in my chapter, I write a small climax that hopefully will encourage readers to keep reading onto the next chapter.

The first book in my trilogy took me nearly three years, and it's currently still in a final developmental editing phase. It's done, but before I put my name on any book I want it to SPARKLE! Anyway, I was more of a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants writer when I began. I have probably--no exaggeration--written 12 drafts! My story has changed enormously over the years and I almost lost my mind, almost. It was enjoyable, and I loved writing it, but I believe I didn't choose the best way. As I've begun to write my second installment in the series I've already made it to chapter 5 within a month. It took me an entire month to write the first chapter in the first book.

What's the difference you ask? I outlined the second. Granted it is easier since I have a very clear knowledge of who my characters are, and what they want. I  know where my story is going and I've already created the setting. But instead of just typing it all out, I outlined each chapter like this:

Chapter 1

  1. What needs to happen to hook the reader? (I proceed to write my idea for the chapter)
  2. What are the goals of the characters?
  3. What is the motivation of the chapter to the end of the story
  4. What is the climax to keep readers engaged
That's all. I do that for each chapter. On chapters 2-the end keep in mind your chapter breaks are important. Chapter breaks are where you end the previous chapter. If you end it in the middle of an action, make sure you add a sentence or two catching the reader up for when they pick up the book again. Maybe they went to bed during the previous chapter, If you remind them what's happening they won't have to go back to the previous chapter and it will get them closer to all the juicy stuff I know you've got planned.

Each author has their own system. I edit on my computer, I know authors that print out their manuscript and edit on paper. I still outline in a notebook, I only turn to the computer when I'm ready to write the actual words. 

Find your own system, I recommend using some type of outline, even if it's small. It will help you avoid holes in your story and more. 

Tell me your process, I'm all ears. I'm a wannabe after all. There are always things we can learn from others. 

Happy Writing! (and outlining)

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Sunday, November 29, 2015

Step 1 in improving your writing

I have a tip to you all if you are trying to improve at something. I personally am trying to improve my writing skills, and be the best authorpreneur I can be. So how do you get better at something, I mean besides practice (come on I knew you were going to say that).

Any guesses?

Study it.

Yes, that's right. Study your passion. Practice is wonderful and truly necessary, but you also must study and make effort to become a wannabe expert in your chosen desire. Using writing as an example, if you have the means attending writing conferences is a perfect example. Join critique groups, listen to podcasts from experienced authors such as:

I recommend reading blogs from other authors (look you're reading this so you're studying already). The more you can learn and take action the greater a product you will produce someday. There is a slush of information available, it's easy to get overwhelmed. Write a daily goal and read one article, submit your work for one critique, buy a How To book, and read. Ponder about your idea, visualize it, whatever you do break down the amount of information into small daily steps and you won't be as burdened by the vast wall of info dumping out there.

Here are some helpful links to books or blogs I've found quite helpful in my journey of writing and personal growth:

Happy Writing!

Agent Query Connect (helps with critiques if traditionally publishing)

Monday, November 23, 2015

Motivation for a Monday

Here is a thought for your Monday. Never give up on what you are trying to accomplish. If you don't do it, someone else will.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Self Publishing vs. Traditional

Let's face it, the publishing world is changing! For the last few years I have been educating myself on how I would publish a book. I have an eBook floating out in the great Amazon jungle inspired by my food blog Eat Yourself Healthy and Happy. The book was self-published and it was a lot of fun. I did not make millions, I made spending money. However, that was almost three years ago. I published a book without doing much research and left it at that--the end. Since then that nagging impulse to write and publish my ideas and stories will not leave . My eBook was a non-fiction book, but my brain is full of wonderful (I think at least) fictional stories that have to be written down so I have enough room to remember my car pooling duties! So for the last three years I have studied, I have learned and found I am much more educated on the different publishing venues available to writers.

Traditional: We'll start with the traditional folks. The get-an-agent-submit-my-work-and-wait people.


  • Excellent connections
  • You get into brick and mortar stores and create a fan base
  • Professional editing and cover at the expense of the publisher
  • They can bring your name places you may not be able to go on your own.
  • Advances* (I have more to say on these)
  • It says something about your story if you make it past all the gatekeepers of traditional publishing and land a my opinion. 
  • Waiting. It can take YEARS to get an agent and then YEARS to be accepted by a publisher
  • In all honesty there is a slim chance your book will be read and reviewed, let alone accepted. Don't give up if that's your dream, just don't expect acceptance on your first go around. (J.K. Rowling was rejected at least 12 times before Harry Potter was picked up)
  • Slim royalties (most publishers give their author's 10-20% of sales)--my issue with this is...the author wrote the dang book!
  • Publishers will market to the distributors, they don't tend to market to the needs of the readers.
  • You don't have control of your book, (depending on your contract)

Self-Publishing: In other words Indie publishing. There is a lot to be said about the new digital age, it is not shameful, and it doesn't mean your book is awful if you self-publish.

  • Control and rights to your book
  • Opportunity to make a full-time income if you publish multiple books and series(research the funnel system)
  • You can publish in a day if you wish, no waiting.
  • eBooks are a GIGANTIC market in today's world.
  • You are in charge of your own promotions and can gauge what your readers want and change your marketing as desired.
  • You receive 65-70% royalties on most sites
  • You have to market everything yourself
  • You must keep publishing if you wish to earn an income (unless you are E.L. James and hit the lottery with 50 shades) Even Amanda Hocking wrote several books and series to make her income.
  • You have to pay for your editing and cover design. This can be positive since you are dishing out the money you can have all the say on how it is done.
  • You do your own formatting (unless you hire out, it just takes more $$)
  • You have to view self-publishing in a business sense. I actually do not view this as a con, although some do. I have found it an exciting world to look at the possibilities of creating a writing business! 
There are success stories in every type of publishing. In my research both require professionalism, solid editing, great cover and formatting, and a lot of persistence and love of your book.

What are your thoughts on the publishing world? What direction would you take?

Some great resources for writing
How to Write a Novel By: Nathan Bransford (for traditional or self-pub)
Write. Publish. Repeat By: Johnny B. Truant and Sean Platt (focuses on Indie)

Happy Writing.

Monday, November 9, 2015

How to Write a Book

The age old question every wannabe writer asks themselves - How do I write a book? 

How do I start? How many words will I write? What genre should I write? It's maddening when you think about it.

The best way to write a book is...well it's to start. Now, hold on don't go back to browsing Facebook just yet. It's true. You have to actually sit down and either plan or write 'Once upon a time...'

One of the comments I've heard the most in my writing process over the last three years is: I wish I could write a book, or I've always wanted to write a book. Uh, okay...why haven't you? That is my whole mentality of this process, not just writing books, but accomplishing something you've always wanted to do. I don't know what will come of my stories, I hope great things for them because I know I have a solid, unique story with incredible new worlds and characters. However, The Curse of Infinium, is still in the final "fill all the itty, bitty holes in the plot" stage. But I've done it, I've written a book--something I've personally always wanted to do.

What I've learned through this process is personal growth. Making time in my busy life to achieve a dream. Now, since I write that is what I'm focusing on in this post, but I like all sorts of friends so if you aren't a writer, and you just wanted to read this post...please pertain it to something you have always wished to accomplish in your life.

You want to write a book, let's get started. I've broken down my first five action items. These may change as your story progresses, but the point is to just get you started.

Action #1: Set aside 15-30 minutes the first day to really develop your protagonist, antagonist and other co-characters. Write their physical appearances, where they are from, how they speak, their core personality traits. In my wannabe opinion, you have to really know your characters. They have to be alive in your mind, if they are real to you (in a not creepy way) they WILL be real to your readers.

Action #2- On the next day take 15-30 minutes to really write out the character motivations. What are their goals? What drives them, what scares them? Every character must be motivated by something in a story, through every chapter, or they will fizzle and lose the reader.

Action #3- Put these characters in a setting. What does the world around them look like? What obstacles does the world around them create for their progression toward their goals? What is  unique about their world, is it dangerous, is it bright, is a New York subway station? Is it another dimension? What is the logic in the culture. You cannot create a world without a system that makes sense. Does that make sense?
In the Relic series, one of the four realms from the story, has no sun. Okay, if a world has no sun what does this mean for their animal life? What does it mean for the people? What does it mean for the plants? Well ,if there is no sun there is no photosynthesis (I'm no scientist, but plants need sunlight, right?) so I created an ecosystem of "moon-plants" dark colored leaves, plants that shrivel in extreme heat etc. The people as well are pale, they don't require Vitamin D to be healthy, and have eyes that cannot tolerate bright light. When they are visiting another area there are simple protective glasses they must wear to protect their sensitive eyes. These are just examples, but it's the little details that will help your story. I will be doing an entire post, or video series on world building/setting. There's a lot.

Action #4- Take the motivations of your characters from Action #2 and begin developing your plot line. How do these motivations develop into a story. What is at stake? That is VERY important. There must be high stakes or there will be no reason for a reader to continue on with your characters and their journeys. How will the differing motivations of each character conflict with one another. Marvelous stories have conflict: embrace it, accept it, write it. Now is the time to take out all your frustrations on your unsuspecting character creations and send them through the ringer in an exciting new story.

Action #5- Begin chapter outlines. Each chapter can be viewed upon as a short, simple story. There should be an opening, a conflict, and a climax conflict to keep the reader engaged. Don't have your character walk down the street the entire chapter, until he gets to another character's house. Have him walk down the street and trip into a pot hole, slicing his hand on a rusted bike rack, causing his hand to burn and bubble and seep an electric purple liquid, indicated he may not be from this planet. Or...if you're not into aliens, maybe he is on his way to his new girlfriend's house with a fragrant, bouquet, but suddenly he sees her--his first love, but how can that be? She died two years earlier.
You get the idea. Use your developed motivations, and you should know your characters and their personalities by now to know how they will react in each chapter situation you throw at them.

Voila! You've begun to write your novel. I wish I could say you will bop out a perfect draft in no time...but that wouldn't be true. You may be awesome and be able to create a fairly clean, near perfect first draft. I'm not that awesome and my book has changed so much plot wise from my original idea I don't even recognize my first chapters from years ago. However, motivations, histories, and my character's personalities haven't changed much. They have stayed constant and that has helped me during the head-banging-against-the-keyboard-writing-sessions

to at least work through problems because I know how they would react.

Bottom line, get an old fashioned pen and paper and start writing histories, get to know your setting, plot and characters. Write out logistics and when you actually start typing you will be amazed how it begins to mold together!

Happy Writing Wannabes!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Metamorphosis: The Trey Parker Story, the first novel in a three-part paranormal thriller 

series. A young male is forever changed after a near death experience. His incident invites the 

attention of a covert Government agency. A gritty detective remains diligent in discovering the 

facts of the incident and encounters opposition from the unlikeliest of places.

Book Excerpt

Ten years have passed since Trey’s question went unanswered, the sacred practice of

attending church Sunday mornings now a distant memory. On a cool fall Saturday night, Trey’s 

thin, six-foot frame stands in the doorway of their small apartment. His mom is asleep on the 

brown suede couch, and he can overhear the faint sound of arguing neighbors next door. The 

aroma left from a well-cooked pot roast lingers and competes with Tracey’s smoldering cigarette 

in an ashtray on the floor, inches from the remote control—another failed attempt at quitting. 

While the ceiling fan does a poor job circulating warm air throughout the dimly lit apartment, it 

works wonders for the smoke.

Red, green, and blue lights from the television flicker on and off Tracey’s face while she curves 

into a ball in her blue scrubs. Above her on the wall is the blown-up picture of Nana and the 

family when it was still together: Toni still in Tracey’s stomach and James’s arms holding his 

wife and son tightly, Nana beside him.

Laughter from a discontinued sitcom cries out from the television—another episode of Three’s 

Company and Chrissy misunderstanding something she overheard. 

Trey decides to go through with his plan. He pushes his silver-framed glasses up on the bridge 

of his nose. Heart pounding, he sneaks into the kitchen in search of his mother’s gun, bumping 

the table and almost knocking over a glass of water beside Tracey’s nursing books. 

Plowing from right to left through the wood-finished cabinets, one after another, the anxious 

Trey can barely breathe from the pain in his chest. Finally, in the last cabinet above the 

refrigerator, he finds a scratched and dented blue coffee can without a lid. 

Trey pulls the coffee can down with two trembling hands and peeks inside, then glances at his 

mom through the cutout to make sure she is still asleep. He sets the can on the counter. He 

grabs hold of the cold pistol—his shaky hand causing him to almost drop it in the process. 

Trey fumbles with the right-handed pistol and is unable to shake the awkwardness since he is 

left-handed. He holds the pistol in his right hand and struggle to hold it firmly as he uses his 

left hand to pull the slide and peer into the half-cocked chamber to check if it’s loaded—it is. 

Another glance at Tracey. She pulls the red throw closer to her face and rolls over on the couch.

The pistol’s magazine is full and several loose bullets tumble over into the can. The 

refrigerator’s icemaker clanks out a few more cubes, which breaks Trey’s gaze on the bullets. 

Trey packs the gun at the small of his back. After a half-stride, the gun slithers down onto his 

buttocks. He goes perfectly still, repositions the pistol, and tightens his belt. 

Trey scampers out of the kitchen and across the living room. He stops at Toni’s bedroom door. 

Shaking, he pushes it open, and get enough light from her night-light to make out her ten-year-
old silhouette. Trey sees his sister curled under the butterfly-covered blanket Nana spent her 

last days on earth stitching. When Nana found out she was dying and would not see Toni grow 

up, she organized a box of gifts for her granddaughter, to be given at special occasions. The 

first gift was that butterfly-covered blanket and Toni cherishes it.

Author Bio

My infatuation with writing was born before I ever took my first breath, somewhere on the rural

plains of Eastern North Carolina, nourished by the adventures of my grandmother’s childhood.

From the time I was only four or five years old, her memories gave flight to my imagination and

fuel to my curiosities. Her stories widened my eyes to the fascinatingly bizarre in the everyday.

As a young girl, my grandmother would bring her puppy with her to stalk rabbits every morning.

The two of them would chase an unlucky long-eared rascal until it escaped into a hollow at the

base of a tree, and she would run a stick around the inside of the opening as though churning

butter. The spell of the sound and vibration would lure the rabbit out of the tree and into her


Good fiction, inventive and provocative fiction, reverberates in readers and spellbinds them. It

can spur surprise, delight, discomfort, and revelation and defy reason. As a storyteller, I strive

to help others solve their problems by sharing things that I have read about, heard about, and

seen. But I also prize the look on people’s faces when they hear the brilliant punch line of a

joke, or when they experience an epiphany that knocks the logical wind out of them. These are

the reactions that I live to inspire in my audiences when I write paranormal thrillers.

My obsession with the extraordinary in my writing might also, ironically, stem from my 20-year

career in the U.S. Army. I can allow my mind to wander in the extraterrestrial sphere while my

love for my country keeps me grounded in domestic affairs. Of all of my accomplishments,

serving as a paratrooper in a Special Forces Group and a Field Artillery outfit during Operation

Desert Shield/Desert Storm claims high rank. Few situations force a person to confront his

humanity as painfully as going off to war, and this experience taught me both to accept

accountability for my actions and to trust others. Eventually, I became a successful Army

Recruiter and Station Commander, earning the Top Recruiting Station awards in Dallas and

Seattle Recruiting Battalions. North Carolina Central University granted me a Public Service

Award for my work in the local community. And currently, I serve fellow veterans as an HR

Specialist for the Department of Veteran Affairs.

Other passions of mine include playing chess, traveling, and indulging in my contrarian nature

by instigating debate. Spending time with my wife tops the list of my life’s privileges, however.

Whether I am entertaining her with my emulation of Laurence Olivier as Marcus Crassus or

protecting her from an elk during one of our photography excursions in the wild, I treasure her

companionship and affection.

When I was twelve years old, I announced to my Aunt Becky and Cousin Tony that I wanted

to write a book. They stared at me in astonishment. The world of publishing was an enigma to

simple country folks in Beaufort, North Carolina in 1982. These days I am achieving my dream

with the ebook, a medium through which I can express my individuality without sacrificing

my voice to expectations of marketability, popularity, and deadlines. My goal is to create an

opportunity for escapism that is bold and absolute.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Grammar Tip: Double Punctuation

Emmy Edits is in full swing! I've enjoyed reading, editing, and proofing several different manuscripts, thus far. 

Through this process, I felt it necessary to give a little grammar tip. In today's society texts, email and Facebook are common ways to communicate. I myself, find my grammar to be lacking on my personal Facebook page at times.

I would like to address this grammar mistake in professional, creative writing: The double punctuation! 

It's a little peeve of mine. 
Here's an example: "Can you believe the party is tonight?!"

?!--is not okay!
I understand why writers feel the need for this type of punctuation. The sentence is a question, but has a tone of excitement. It appears to be the only way to get your point across, but it is not grammatically correct. During editing I will always remove the second punctuation mark (and what I mean by always is there are also exceptions, it's English after all). Instead, try using the context of your sentences to give an invisible exclamation point. Write in a way that the reader can hear the voice and tone of the character.

What do you think? Do you feel double punctuation is an "acceptable" form of writing?

Let me know.

Happy writing.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Fantasy Writing--Creating Worlds With Words

Calling all Fantasy Writer-

 If you have goose eggs on your head from banging it against the table during world creation--this is for you.

Personally, I dabble in a variety of genres, but fantasy is where my heart belongs. Something about escaping reality into another dimension is exhilarating, perhaps it's because I live in fantasy world--but that is beside the point.

 As an Indie author myself, I understand the need to create a piece of writing that is so crisp, clean, and easy to follow you can't distinguish it from books published by the BIG 5.

Several weeks ago, I had the marvelous opportunity to attend a writing workshop with Brandon Mull (author of the Fablehaven series, Beyonders) and Richard Paul Evans (author of the Christmas Box, Michael Vey series).

The workshop was immensely helpful and focused primarily on developing fantastical worlds that...wait for it...make sense.

Call me naive, but I hadn't ever thought about having my make believe world work. It's fantasy right? That means I can do anything I want. Well-- you can have your world do anything you want, but it has to have an explanation as to why it does that, according to these two New York Times bestselling authors.

So, how to begin:

Rule #1: ASK QUESTIONS For me, I first imagined my world that I was trying to create, then I began to ask myself questions--a lot of questions. I tried to think of any question that may cause a reader to stop and pause asking "Hmmm, but what about this?" or "Well, why does it do that?"

I am a Harry Potter fan (fantasy heaven) I had a question that wasn't addressed until the fourth book. I wanted to know if there was an American wizarding school. I'm American, it's natural. It was never straight out answered, but left open for me to come to my own conclusion.

"Spect they go to some foreign school," said Ron. "I know there are others, never met anyone who went to one though. Bill had a pen-friend at a school in Brazil ... this was years and years ago ... and he wanted to go on an exchange trip but Mum and Dad couldn't afford it. His pen-friend got all offended when he said he wasn't going and sent him a cursed hat."

As you can see, other Wizard schools are mentioned, though they don't know much about them. They mention Brazil, but it is left up to the reader to decide where else another school may be. I concluded there is a school in the U.S. but that's just me.

The point is, JK Rowing, must have assumed readers would wonder about other schools outside of Europe, so she made it a point to give a vague answer.

Rule #2 : ANSWER QUESTIONS Duh, right. Now hold on a second, it isn't always that easy. As I began asking myself questions, they went deeper and deeper, I found I was beginning to reshape motivations, I realized I hadn't even described why the sun was 30 different colors! Why is that? As you are creating a new world, in a sense you are a "writer God". You have to explain in a good voice, good flow why something is the way it is. You can't just say, "Reader, this is why this is doing that, moving on" BORING!

In the case of my multicolored sun, my antagonist finds himself in a HQ center. It's a mysterious Limbo in the center of the universe. The sun is not the same sun we see here on earth. It's another sun, that several universes orbit. Since the Limbo is in the center, it absorbs the other galaxies, realm's etc. atmospheres, painting the sun in remarkable shades that are unearthly, yet stunning. Is the sun crucial to my story? No, but I mentioned the unusual colors, so I found some dialogue to explain why the sun was an unusual focal point. I wouldn't want a reader to get hung up on the unique attributes of my world, instead of enjoying the story.

Rule #3 KEEP THE FLOW As I mentioned above, you can't just do side notes in parenthesis for the reader explaining your world. That course may break up your desired flow.

 You must tie it into dialogue or narration. Perhaps you use a character to ask a question that a reader may ask, it can then be answered through conversation. Maybe there is a document that is posted for the citizens to read, perhaps they sign a contract to live in the world, and the contract offers explanation. Maybe it is a mystery throughout the story--that's fine too. Just probe that mystery by allowing your characters to wonder as well. You don't need to reveal everything, just if it is mentioned somewhere in your story, ask questions. Think if a reader may wonder. If you believe they will, tie it in your writing in a creative, active way.

I hope this helps you create marvelous worlds that will allow your readers to feel they are walking the streets with your characters.

Happy Writing.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Battle of the Greens: A short story dedicated to all the crazy parents that brave dinner ever night!

The smell of perfectly seasoned, perfectly roasted chicken waft through the kitchen. I breathe deeply pulling it from the oven and expertly navigate myself to the counter, avoiding the scattered “Thomas and Friends” set seeking to take me down. I fill plastic Ikea plates for each of my three adoring children with the perfect chicken and heaping (toddler sized) mounds of, steamed to perfection, green vegetables!

Joining my perfect family at the table, I put each plate in front of my children. My husband sits next to me. I see from the corner of my eye that he has pulled out the newest addition of Popular Mechanics. I feel slightly affronted, but he can sense the coming disaster; something I have not foreseen. I look into my children’s faces and then I know. My fork slips in my sweaty hand, instinctively I tense my shoulders preparing for what is to come.

      Across the table, my sassy 6-year-old, stubborn 3-year-old and mischievous 1-year-old are preparing also; preparing for the battle of the dinner table!

      Seconds later the 3-year-old hits the floor; wailing and gnashing of teeth ensue as I hear the cries of “yucky food” on his plate and he begs me not to make him eat it! “Well played, little one. Well played, I thought as I watched him rolling on the floor. I moved my attentions to the sly baby; he thought he wouldwin me over with that adorable manipulative smile of his, but I will not be deceived.

        “No, No, stop right now!” I shout as he slowly lifts his plate towards the salivating lips of our barreling, black Labrador. I elbow my husband, who responds without looking up from the magazine.

         “Stop that J, put it down.” What? That's it?

          I breathe out in frustration. How did this man know what was happening without looking up? Did this happen often? Did I block each nightly meal from my memory?

          Ah, another battle lost. The insatiable belly laugh, that could melt any mother’s heart, came from that small, yet intelligent baby’s throat. It fills our boisterous dining room as if to symbolize his victory. The dog was bent down lapping up all the perfect, delicious food. I feel a wave of resolve rush over me, I WILL NOT CLAIM DEFEAT I tell myself.

          I whip my head towards my unfortunate daughter. Her brother’s may have escaped, but this child, oh this one; she was not leaving the table without eating those green vegetables! That was the important part, right? She glares back at me, arms folded across her chest. I shrink slightly, wondering what could be running through her Kindergarten brain.

        “Look, sweetie,” I say kindly, hoping the patient mother façade would encourage her to do my will. “It’s a tree, isn’t that fun? It’s a tiny little tree!” She just stares at me.

         “It's broccoli, mom.”  Blast! She’s too smart for her own good. I decide to take it a step further and not let on that she had me cornered.

         “Yes, but don’t you know broccoli is a special tree for fairies? They allow us to eat some every once and awhile. If we eat it we can become magic like the fairies!”

           For a moment she waivered, glancing back and forth between her food and myself. Then the smug I know mom’s fibbing to get what she wants smile spread across her face. I felt the heat rushing to my face, it was going to blow right here and now, even my husband had looked up from his magazine, waiting--wondering what I was going to do next. The 3 year old, 1 year old and even the dog looked at me with a mixture of fear and wonder in their eyes.

          “YOU WILL EAT ONE BITE OF BROCCOLI RIGHT NOW!” She looked calmly into my fiery eyes waiting for the other half of my rant, she'd heard it before. “After you do that you can have a big chocolate chip cookie!”

            There, I showed her. I smiled, watching her lift the broccoli/fairy tree to her lips. Her nose wrinkled as she took the smallest bite possible!

           And in that moment it was clear, I had become the foremost expert on child hood nutrition. If I were to coin a phrase for the proper way to win the battle of the dinner table it would be: “Nailed it!”

Friday, March 20, 2015

Guest Post **Finding Time for Writing**

Hello! I would like to take a moment to introduce my friend Beth. She has been gracious enough to write out some AWESOME rules for writing. They will help you get started even if you only have 15 minutes a day to jot down some notes!

Writing can be time consuming. It can be overwhelming for the working mom & dad. Even if you are single, most likely you have a full time job elsewhere. Life is busy! If it is important to you, there must be time for writing. You simply need to find it.


Are you a sprinter or a distance writer? When I first started writing, I read to take advantage of little 15 to 30 minute chunks to write. If that works for you, great, do it. For me, it can take a half hour to get my creative mojo going. I get more done in one four hour chunk, than in eight hours broken up into small segments. Try out both long and short session, and see what works for you. The same is true for when you write. Some people do better getting up early and writing (especially if they have a mentally taxing job), others do better staying up a little later at night.

We make time for the things we love. If you are doing it for fame and fortune and hating every minute of it, you're wasting your time. Writing is frequently a second job. I know writers who have published several novels and still don't make enough to support themselves just with their writing. But they love it so much, they keep doing it.

Writing takes A LOT of time--time you could be doing something else. What are you willing to give up (TV, social media, sleep, time with family), and how much of it you are willing to give up? The trick to achieving a long-lasting balance is to make sure the rewards of writing always outweigh the costs.

Some authors write several books a year; others write one in a lifetime. Five years from now, you will be five years older whether or not you've written a book. I read a book by an author that said he's a writer from 7 to 10 pm on Wednesday nights. Again, it is about balance. Focus on the quality of your writing experience instead of the quantity you produce.

Not all writing is done at a computer. I keep a notebook handy to jot down notes because I'm often crafting a chapter or creating a character while I shop, clean, cook, or drive. Advisory warning (so I don't get sued)--safety first--don't allow yourself to get so lost in your fictional world that you hurt or neglect anyone.

When I started getting serious about writing a novel, I was shocked at how much of the work is editing and not writing. Instead of flinging birds at pigs while you're waiting for an oil change or the kids are playing at the park, print out some pages and edit.

Having someone to hold you accountable for your writing (at least for me) is a must. I love having a critique group and the accompanying deadlines of when I need to finish sections of my book. Find someone who will give you good feedback and a solid kick in the pants if you miss a deadline.

This is more critical if you need a larger chunk of writing time like I do. Trade off chores with a roommate or spouse to open up writing time, even if you lose time when it's your turn to clean, you at least have some dedicated writing time in your schedule. This is even more important if you have kids. Find a friend and take turns watching each others' children. I promise you will get more writing done in one child-free afternoon than you will in two with all of your darling, little helpers. Just remember your writing is important, but if you make it more important than everything anyone else is doing--you will lose their support. I hope to make my writing a career, but for now it is a hobby. I support my family's careers and hobbies and in return they support mine.

9 - READ
I know that telling you to read might seem odd. Won't that take away from your writing time? The best writers are avid readers. Not only will reading improve your writing and keep you up to date on what is being published in your genre, it will inspire your writing. Spending even a few minutes a day with a good book, helps keep me motivated to finish my own.

Not all writing rules may apply to your writing process. I like to try on new techniques but have found some of them aren't mine style. Find a style that is comfortable and works for you.

Happy Writing

E. F. Fewkes is a former journalist. Her poetry and short fiction have been published in Metaphor. She lives in Utah with her husband and daughter. After taking a post-college writing hiatus, she finally figured out how to make time for writing and is finishing her first novel. 

Thanks so much Beth! I can't wait to read your book when it is finished. 

Happy Writing everyone!

Friday, March 13, 2015

He Said, She Said, They Said***** Finding Alternate Words for Said

Be careful to not overuse words during writing. Goodness, a pet peeve of mine is the word said used too much!

"I hate that," Ralph said.

"Just try it," Brenda said.

"No, I told you I hate it," Ralph said.

"I give up," Brenda said.

"Don't give up on him," Josh said.

Do you see what I'm talking about? It sounds like they are ROBOTS! What about words like shouted, exclaimed, cried etc.

Nothing will dull a reader faster than overusing a word, but especially said during dialogue.

Should you ever use said? Of course, sometimes, darnnit, people just say something. Just please don't publish a book that looks like the above example!

So what have I done for you today? I've provided a list of some words that you could use in place of the word "said"
  • Announced
  • Argued
  • Asked 
  • Barked
  • Began
  • Bragged
  • Corrected
  • Explained
  • Groaned
  • Hinted
  • Mumbled
  • Noted
  • Ordered
  • Pleaded
  • Proposed
  • Screamed
  • Sighed
  • Sneered
  • Teased
  • Wailed
  • Wondered
  • Stuttered
  • Whispered
  • Exclaimed
  • Boasted
  • Sneered
  • Laughed
  • Chuckled

Now that is a good start right? Comment below if you can think of any fun descriptive words for "said". This will be fun! How long can the list get?

Thursday, March 12, 2015

The Clock Strikes Midnight: Book Review tour stop

"The Clock Strikes Midnight is a race against time in a quest for revenge and atonement. This is a story about hate, love, betrayal and forgiveness.

If you found out you had only 3 months to live, what would you do? That’s the question Janie Knox faces in this fast-paced mystery full of uncertainty and tension that will surprise you until the very last page.

Hiding behind the façade of a normal life, Janie keeps her family secrets tucked inside a broken heart. Everything changes on the day she learns she’s going to die. With the clock ticking and her time running out, she rushes to finish what she couldn’t do when she was 17—destroy her mother’s killer. But she can’t do it alone.

Janie returns to her childhood home to elicit help from her sister. She faces more than she bargained for when she discovers her sister’s life in shambles. Meanwhile her mother’s convicted killer, her stepfather, recently released from prison, blackmails the sisters and plots to extract millions from the state in retribution. New revelations challenge Janie’s resolve, but she refuses to allow either time or her enemies to her stop her from uncovering the truth she’s held captive for over 20 years."


“Daddy, when I get my kitty, can I name him Davy?” she had asked, yanking Marlene’s Davy Crockett mug full of M&M’s from her grasp. 

The colorful candy spilled all over the backseat of the car.

“Mama, tell Janie to—”

“Janie, behave,” Daddy said, admonishing her for an instant with his eyes from the rearview 


“Malcolm, look out—!” Mom screamed.

Janie slammed into Marlene. Pain. The world tumbled topsy-turvy. The mug flew across the 

interior of the car, colors of the rainbow falling all around her.

Then, everything went black.

When she opened her eyes, Mom’s blood-streaked face rose in front of her out of the darkness.

“Wrap your arms around my neck, honey.” Mom lifted her from the wreckage.

Janie clutched her doll by the dress while the rain beat her curly hair flat.

Marlene stood on the side of the road.

“Try to walk,” Mom said, toppling her from her arms.

Her head pounded and blood trickled down her leg. She leaned on her good leg and limped in the direction of her sister.

“Mama, where’s Daddy?” Marlene asked between sobs.

Mom took Marlene’s hand and yanked her forward with Janie in tow.

Marlene lurched back toward the smashed Oldsmobile with smoke billowing from its hood and a big tree lying across the roof. The Davy Crockett mug lay shattered by the back tire.

“Daddy! We can’t leave Daddy!” Marlene yelled, picking up pieces of the broken glass.

They had left Daddy that day and piled into an old Chevy pick-up truck with a bashed in 

headlamp, belonging to a man with carrot-red hair. Mom pushed them inside the truck and 

ordered the man to get help. But by then it was too late for Daddy.

It was too late for all of them.

      Welcome to your stop for The Clock Strikes Midnight review tour and giveaway! I was given the opportunity to read and give my honest opinion about this novel. I typically find myself getting lost in the Fantasy/Science Fiction genre, so I wasn't sure how much this book would grab me--BUT (a big but) I was hooked immediately!

       Author Joan C. Curtis does an AMAZING job at grabbing the reader and pulling them in. The Clock Strikes Midnight is a nail biting mystery to which I found myself staying up until early morning just to get to the bottom of it all. I even took up the precious hours of the littles nap time to read this book--that my friends is saying something. I finished it in 3 days. The story begins with Janie, who is a mystery all her own, as she takes a trip back to her rocky past to address some horrific people, and bad memories.

      Each time a chapter ends you find you must keep reading, you must uncover the truth for your own sake! I would recommend this novel to anyone who is up for a heart-racing, edge-of-your-seat mystery! Well done Joan, well done.

Comment  below to get a shot at winning a $25 Amazon/BN Gift Card! 

Joan Curtis authored four business books published by Praeger Press. She has also published

numerous stories, including:

• Butterflies in a Strawberry Jar, Sea Oats Review, Winter, 2004

• A Memoir Of A Friend, Chicken Soup for the Working Woman’s Soul, 2003 and Flint 

River Review, 1996

• Jacque’s Story in From Eulogy to Joy, 2002

• The Roommate, Whispering Willow Mystery Magazine, April 1997

• A Special Sort of Stubbornness, Reader’s Digest, March 1997,

• My Father’s Final Gift, Reader Digest, November 1994

Her first place writing awards include : Best mystery manuscript in the Malice Domestic Grants 

competition, best proposal for a nonfiction piece in the Harriette Austin competition, and best 

story, Butterflies in a Strawberry Jar in the Cassell Network of Freelance Writer’s Association.

Other Books:

Hire Smart and Keep ‘Em: How to Interview Strategically Using POINT, Praeger Press, an 

imprint of ABC-Clio, Santa Barbara, CA 2012.

The New Handshake: Sales Meets Social Media, Praeger Press, 2010, an imprint of ABC-Clio, 

Santa Barbara, CA

Managing Sticky Situations at Work: Communication Secrets for Success in the Workplace, 

2009, Praeger Press, an imprint of ABC-Clio, Santa Barbara, CA.

Strategic Interviewing: Skills for Savvy Executives, 2000 published by Quorum Books, 

Greenwood Press.

“I write about characters who remind me of myself at times and my sister at times, but never 

fully so. My stories are told from a woman’s point of view. Characters drive my writing and my 


Having grown up in the South with a mother from Westchester County New York, Joan has a 

unique take on blending the southern traditions with the eye of a northerner. She spent most of 

her childhood in North Carolina and now resides in Georgia.

Author Links

Joan Curtis authored four business books published by Praeger Press. She is also published

numerous stories, including:

• Butterflies in a Strawberry Jar, Sea Oats Review, Winter, 2004

• A Memoir Of A Friend, Chicken Soup for the Working Woman’s Soul, 2003 and Flint 

River Review, 1996

• Jacque’s Story in From Eulogy to Joy, 2002

• The Roommate, Whispering Willow Mystery Magazine, April 1997

• A Special Sort of Stubbornness, Reader’s Digest, March 1997,

• My Father’s Final Gift, Reader Digest, November 1994

Her first place writing awards include : Best mystery manuscript in the Malice Domestic Grants 

competition, best proposal for a nonfiction piece in the Harriette Austin competition, and best 

story, Butterflies in a Strawberry Jar in the Cassell Network of Freelance Writer’s Association.

Other Books:

Hire Smart and Keep ‘Em: How to Interview Strategically Using POINT, Praeger Press, an 

imprint of ABC-Clio, Santa Barbara, CA 2012.

The New Handshake: Sales Meets Social Media, Praeger Press, 2010, an imprint of ABC-Clio, 

Santa Barbara, CA

Managing Sticky Situations at Work: Communication Secrets for Success in the Workplace, 

2009, Praeger Press, an imprint of ABC-Clio, Santa Barbara, CA.

Strategic Interviewing: Skills for Savvy Executives, 2000 published by Quorum Books, 

Greenwood Press.

“I write about characters who remind me of myself at times and my sister at times, but never 

fully so. My stories are told from a woman’s point of view. Characters drive my writing and my 


Having grown up in the South with a mother from Westchester County New York, Joan has a 

unique take on blending the southern traditions with the eye of a northerner. She spent most of 

her childhood in North Carolina and now resides in Georgia.

Author Links

MuseItUp Publishing Author’s page:

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