Free Workshop: Creating A Map For Your Book

Free Workshop: Creating A Map For Your Book

creating a map for your book

We’re hosting another free workshop in the Shortcuts for Writers: Editing Made Simple Facebook Group on June 4 at 7:30 p.m. EST. Creating a map for your book can change your entire writing experience. Breaking down the process into doable segments opens the space for more creativity and flow. So let’s turn the overwhelm of the journey into mini-trips of joy.

Join Willow Green as she shares how to set yourself up for success and feel like your book wrote itself! You will learn how to create a map from idea to manuscript. Once you have your legend and journey all planned out, the words just flow through you easily and effortlessly! If you can’t attend the workshop live, the replay will be archived in the group’s Units section.

overcoming fear of writing

Willow is an author, facilitator and intuitive coach who works with individuals and groups around the world facilitating opportunities to experience true freedom and deeper levels of love. Willow is certified in NLP, has a degree in occupational science and a has lived with and trained with several spiritual guides. She has a very unique and diverse set of gifts that allow her clients to see exactly what they need to empower themselves and thrive. 

Find Willow at the below sites:

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Behind The Rewrite With Alice Renaud: Fleshing Out With Line Editing Example

Behind The Rewrite With Alice Renaud: Fleshing Out With Line Editing Example

line editing

In this Behind the Rewrite installment, author Alice Renaud shows how to flesh out and improve the flow of a scene through line editing, using an excerpt from her fantasy romance novel, Music for a Merman.

Alice Renaud’s Behind The Rewrite

The hero, Rob, a shape-shifting merman working as a cop, is falling in love with a human woman, Charlie, in defiance of the laws of his people. In this passage, Rob has just had breakfast with his sergeant, Jack, in the police station. As he leaves the station to go back to his flat, he composes a merman love song for Charlie.

In the first version, we jump straight from Jack’s line of dialogue to Rob composing the song, without any transition, which is jarring. Then Rob hums the song before thinking that the song comes from the deepest place in his heart. It doesn’t seem to be the right order.

The revised version shows Rob saying goodbye to his boss, leaving the station, and reaching the sidewalk. There’s a song on the radio, he whistles along to it, then he gets the inspiration for a new song—a merman’s song. The edits aim to improve the flow of the scene and highlight Rob’s musical talent, as well as his forbidden love for the human woman. I also added a bit more about his brother, who unlike Rob fell in love with a mermaid, so he was able to marry her and have children.

Unedited Version

“Course you can.” Jack pulled the local paper towards him and turned to the crossword page. “I’m here, and Frank will be along, as soon as he’s taken his youngest to her scuba-diving class. Take the rest of the day off. I’ll see you tomorrow morning.”

The song came to Rob as he walked up the street towards his rented flat. He hummed it to himself, the clicks and whistles bouncing around the whitewashed walls and glistening cobblestones. It came out of the deepest place in his heart, fluid and passionate. His eldest brother Rhodri had composed a similar tune once, when he was courting the mermaid who had become his mate.

line editing example

Edited Version

“Course you can.” Jack pulled the local newspaper towards him and turned to the crossword page. “I’m here, and Frank will be along, as soon as he’s taken his youngest to her scuba-diving class. Take the rest of the day off.” A folk song came on the radio, and he hummed along with it, tapping his pencil against the paper.

Rob grabbed his jacket from the back of a chair. “Thanks! I’ll see you tomorrow morning.”

The catchy melody followed him along the corridor, and he could still hear it as he left the police station. He stood on the sidewalk and whistled a few bars. Inside him, from the deepest place in his heart, another song began to grow. A merman’s song, richer and more passionate than anything on the human radio. But he couldn’t sing aloud in the middle of the street. He began to walk towards his flat, humming to himself. The clicks and whistles bounced around the whitewashed walls and glistening cobblestones.

His brother Rhodri had sung a lot, when he was courting the mermaid who had become his mate. But his tunes had been happier. He’d had the sense to fall for a girl that his father approved of, a good mermaid of the Regor Clan. There’d never been any doubt that they would marry, and their first merbaby was already on the way. Rhodri would never know what it was like to long for an unsuitable mate, someone he couldn’t keep.

Want To Read The Rest Of The Book?

Music for a Merman, a Sea of Love novel – Rob Regor knew that humans were trouble. All the shape shifting mermen of the Morvann Islands knew it. And human women were double trouble… especially when they were lying on the road in front of a digger. Rob has a mission. Go to the mainland. Work as a policeman. Spy on humans. Report back to his father, the head of the Regor Merman Clan. It should be easy. Until he has to arrest Charlie. Rob can’t fight his attraction to the sexy eco-warrior, and it puts him on one hell of a collision course with his family and his Clan. Will he break the rules – or break her heart, and his? Love ‘em and leave ‘em, that was Charlie’s motto. It had served her well until now. But Rob is different… Can she open up her heart to Rob—when a secret buried in her past surfaces and changes her completely? Books in the Sea of Love series can be read independently.

More About Alice Renaud

Alice lives in London, UK, with her husband and son. By day she’s a compliance manager for a pharmaceutical company. By night she writes fantasy romance about shape shifting mermen, water monsters and time-travelling witches. Her first book, A Merman’s Choice, was published in January 2019 by Black Velvet Seductions. It is the first book in a fantasy romance trilogy inspired by the landscapes and legends of Brittany and Wales. The second book, Music for a Merman, is out now and the third, Mermaids Marry in Green will be released later this year. Alice has also written a short story, The Sweetest Magic of All, included in the BVS Mystic Desire anthology, out now. Alice loves reading and writing stories, and sharing them with anyone who’s interested!

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Opportunities For Writers

Are you an author interested in writing a Behind the Rewrite guest blog post? Get the guidelines here.

Are you a writer who could use some editing tips? Check out Stacy’s free resources:

Line Editing Made Simple–5 Days to More Polished Pages  – Free e-mail class packed with line editing tips

Shortcuts for Writers: Editing Made Simple Facebook group – Download the guide, 7 Simple Steps to Nailing Your Book Blurb in Unit 1.

 

Moms Kicking Ass Podcast – Writing And Motherhood During the Pandemic

Moms Kicking Ass Podcast – Writing And Motherhood During the Pandemic

Moms Kicking Ass Podcast

Oh my gosh, can I just say that I LOVE being called a kick ass mom! I had a great time being interviewed on the podcast Moms Kicking Ass With Rachel Friedman.

We chatted about my online course for writers, Book Editing Blueprint: A Step-By-Step Plan to Making Your Novels Publishable, as well as the challenges of juggling working from home and motherhood during the pandemic. One topic that came up was how now is a great time to pursue a passion such as writing. Distraction and stress relief are important at times like this, and writing can help.

Here is the description of Rachel’s show: Are you ready to make some money doing what you love? Rachel is here to guide you through her simple process and teach you everything you will need to know to be hugely successful. All you need is a passion and everything will fall right into place.

Rachel received her undergraduate degree in social work from Syracuse University and her graduate degree in clinical social work from New York University. She is a certified yoga instructor with over 60,000 hours of teaching under her belt.  She leads transformational teacher trainings, and has assisted alongside some of the best in the industry. Rachel currently teaches yoga in Atlanta, GA and leads retreats for yoga and personal transformations around the world. Through her coaching program, she helps clients to shift out of overwhelm.

Listen to our interview on Apple Podcasts or visit the episode webpage.

Visit Rachel’s website and Instagram account.

 

 

 

 

StoryOrigin An Innovative Book Marketing Tool For Authors

StoryOrigin An Innovative Book Marketing Tool For Authors

book marketing ideas

Today I wanted to highlight an innovative book marketing site called StoryOrigin, a marketing tool and community of authors that work together to build their mailing lists, increase sales, find reviewers, and stay on top of deadlines. Recently I included StoryOrigin in my blog post: 5 Recommended Resources for Authors During the Pandemic.

Those of you who follow me closely know that my goal is to make editing simple and more affordable for authors, and I do that though my online course Book Editing Blueprint: A Step-By-Step Plan to Making Your Novels Publishable, my Facebook group, YouTube channel, and blog. StoryOrigin is doing something similar for book marketing, trying to break down a big, annoying task (book promotion) into more manageable components while also making it affordable.

You can read my review of the site in the above article, but here I wanted to delve into how this useful community came about and find out more about Evan Gow, the indie developer of StoryOrigin. Below is my interview with Evan. If you’re an active user on StoryOrigin, I’ll bet you find this behind the scenes look quite interesting. And if you haven’t checked out this book marketing site yet, keep reading!

book promotion

When did you start StoryOrigin?

StoryOrigin launched publicly in April 2018.

How did you get the idea to create it? Are you a writer yourself?

I used to write short stories back in high school, then participated in a tech entrepreneurship program in college, which sparked my desire to build a company. After working for a few years, I decided it was the right time to make the leap and combine my interests in writing and programming. I talked with a few authors about what tools they were using and realized just how much of a pain it was.

Before StoryOrigin, you’d have to use one site for finding reviewers, another one for building your mailing list, spend a few hours on Facebook looking for newsletter swaps, and the list goes on. So, I decided to simplify things and build a one-stop-shop, so authors could save time and manage everything from a single platform.

 

Why did you decide to make it free? How long do you anticipate it being free?

For the beta period, I wanted to be able to focus solely on building best-in-class features. I also knew that the feature set was going to expand immensely from when it was initially launched, and it wouldn’t have made sense to decide on a specific pricing model at the point.

StoryOrigin likely won’t be free for much longer, but the guarantee I make (and I state this publicly on the front page of StoryOrigin) is that if you join during the beta period, you will continue to get everything completely free for a period of months even after it becomes paid. The continuing free period is also there, so if you don’t like the pricing model, you can migrate to a different set of tools before you start paying. My goal with pricing is to make it affordable for authors at all stages though.

 

storyorigin book marketing site

 

What are your goals with StoryOrigin for the future?

My goals are to continue helping authors grow their audiences and their businesses. My to-do list always seems to be getting longer with lots more to incorporate into StoryOrigin, but I also like to play it close to the vest. 😉

About how many authors have registered for the site?

8,000+ authors have signed up to StoryOrigin and it’s continuing to grow rapidly.

How has the site evolved over the past several months?  

When StoryOrigin launched, it had minimal functionality. All you could do was create a reader magnet landing page and integrate it with your email service provider, so emails would automatically be added to your mailing list. Since then, I added quite a few features including:
  • Newsletter swaps
  • Group promotions
  • Review copies
  • Universal book links
  • Audiobook promo code distribution
  • A content planning calendar
My general method is to work out the main components of a major feature, release it, then iterate and improve upon it with feedback from authors, so it becomes a best-in-class feature.
The latest feature I released was a goal tracker, which you can use to track your word count and calculate daily targets to hit deadlines and stay motivated. There actually wasn’t anyone asking me for this feature, but I got a huge amount of love when I released it, because it meant one less spreadsheet to keep track of for a lot of authors. They could spend less time on managing their business and more time on writing.

Has anything been surprising to you during this journey? Is it growing the way you imagined, or has it gone in unexpected directions?

If you write a bad book, all of the advertising in the world can’t save you. Unfortunately, a great book with no advertising won’t get you anywhere either.

Oftentimes, what sets apart bestsellers isn’t necessarily the strength of their writing. It’s the strength of their marketing. A good book is a checkbox you have to mark in order to be successful, but it’s the marketing that will drive your success. Many authors simply aren’t willing to engage in that part of the business though. That’s why I’m trying to make it easier.

 

What are some creative and/or successful ways that authors have used the site?

StoryOrigin provides the underlying infrastructure to help you manage your review team, build your mailing list, and send readers to your purchasing page. However, it’s the group promos and newsletter swaps you can find on StoryOrigin that can multiply your reach to thousands of readers.

 

What are the benefits of group promotions and newsletter swaps?

The main benefit of group promotions and newsletter swaps is that they can massively expand your audience and can be used to find reviewers, build your mailing list, or increase sales. There are lots of ways you can expand your reach though, so why are newsletter swaps and group promotions are rising in popularity? Because they’re:
    • Free to set up
    • Easy to arrange
    • Targeted with other authors in your genre

Do you have any suggestions for authors interested in using the site to build reviews?

StoryOrigin can be used to build reviews for both your audiobooks and ebooks. When you set up a review copy landing page on StoryOrigin, any reader can apply for a review copy and mark where they will leave a review (e.g., Amazon) along with the link to their reviewer profile on that site, so you can see what other books they’ve reviewed.

StoryOrigin also gives you their reviewer stats—the percentage of review copies they’ve received through StoryOrigin and have actually left reviews for. When you receive an application for a review copy of your ebook or audiobook on StoryOrigin, you should check the reader’s stats and reviewer profile to make sure they are someone you trust will leave a review and that they actually read books in your genre.

Resources:

If you’ve read this and are wondering how to get started, check out the StoryOrigin guide to email marketing.

 

Free Workshop – How To Get Free Publicity For Your Book @Mayah_Riaz

Free Workshop – How To Get Free Publicity For Your Book @Mayah_Riaz

How to get free publicity for your book

Join us in the Shortcuts for Writers Facebook group for a live workshop on how to get free publicity for your book. The event will be held May 21 at 11:00 a.m. EST.

The presenter, Mayah Riaz, is a celebrity manager who provides PR-to-the-Stars. She is on speed dial to many household names from the world of business, TV, showbiz and even royalty.

After 14 years of helping the rich and famous become even more famous, she now helps businesses and entrepreneurs to do their own publicity. Mayah teaches entrepreneurs all over the globe how to manage their own publicity without the need of hiring a big, fancy PR agency. Having helped hundreds of business owners with their PR, she finds this much more rewarding than getting a celebrity on the front cover of Vogue!

Mayah teaches businesses all the know-how that a PR agency has, so they can keep their profits in their business. She teaches on all topics of PR from creating relationships with the press, to sharing her top tips to getting a yes from the press.

.ow to get publicity for your book

To participate in the workshop, you must be a member of the Shortcuts for Writers: Editing Made Simple Facebook group. If you’re not a member, you can fill out the membership questions and request approval. If you can’t make it live, the replay will be archived with our other past guest workshops in the Units section.

More About Mayah

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6 Ways To Write While The World Is Stressing You Out By @alliepleiter

6 Ways To Write While The World Is Stressing You Out By @alliepleiter

I know that many writers are having trouble tapping into their creativity during the pandemic. Thankfully, Allie Pleiter has a book that can help with this problem, and I asked her to share some tips about writing under stress. Read on for some helpful advice from Allie. You’ll also learn more about her valuable book, How to WRITE When Everything Goes WRONGA Practical Guide to Writing Through Tough Times.

Allie’s Tips For Writing Under Stress

As the author of How to WRITE When Everything Goes WRONGA Practical Guide to Writing Through Tough Times, Ive been getting a lot of cries for help from writers these days. The crisis we find ourselves in right now can squelch any writers creative energy. New words can feel impossible, the focus to revise eludes us, and were just plain stressed.

How to writeright now? Believe it or not, there are several things you can do to help yourself. Here are a few of my favorite tips:

#1: Try Small Batches In New Formats.

The trick is to pick a word count that feels doable–even if it must be tiny. One hundred words, for example, can fit on an index card. I suspect even the most traumatized of writers could manage six imperfect sentences that can be edited later. That work, once accomplished, can become the foothold for more. Can you tuck three or four cards into your pocket and set yourself the challenge to fill them? Your smartphone, a small notebook, or even email can help a small task feel small. All you need at first–maybe all you need at all–are baby steps.

#2: Change Locations.

Give yourself time in a different location in order to compartmentalize your brain space. You may not be able to go farmaybe only to the next roombut even that shift can make a difference. Ritualize it if it helps, saying: At two p.m. I go out on the balcony with a cup of coffee and do my writing,or After lunch I make myself a cup of tea and write.Remind yourself this is your time to work, and you can be fully present to whatever problems are facing you when you are done with your writing.

#3: When You Feel You Cant Escape Your Situation, Start By Describing It.

Many booksfiction and nonfictionhave been born of personal difficulties. Writing about where you are right now can prime the pump,proving to your creative self that writing is possible. As a bonus, you may also discover the seeds of a new project in the process.

Creativity is possible. You are just going to have to go about it in different ways for a while. @alliepleiter #writingtips #writingcommunity Click To Tweet

#4: Embrace The Lousy First Draft.

Brilliance is likely beyond your reacheven if you discover you work great under pressure. Tell yourself: It doesnt have to be perfect; it just has to be written.You can revise and polish your draft at another time once you get through the difficult stage of putting the words down on paper no matter how inelegant they feel. As best-selling author Nora Roberts famously said, You cant fix a blank page.

 

#5: Set A Timer.

Pick whatever span of time feels possibleeven fifteen minutes. Most of us can stand fifteen minutes of almost anything. Once or twice a day, set the timer and have at it. During those minutes, give yourself permission to be a writerrather than someone ill, caring, or coping. Starting is often the hardest part, and you may discover you can work longer than you think.

 

#6: Try Dictation.

Chances are you wont need any special equipment for dictation because most computers and nearly every smartphone comes preloaded with some form of basic dictation software. If typing feels beyond youor if you have a physical limitation such as carpal tunnel syndrome, eyesight issues, a bad back, or a broken wristclose your eyes and dictate a scene, a setting, or even a character description to get you started. Carry on dictating as long as you can. An added benefit of dictation: You cant edit or see mistakes, so theres nothing to impede your progress.

Creativity is possible. You are just going to have to go about it in different ways for a while. The gift of writing God has given you hasnt gone awayit may just be in hiding. I hope these tips will give you help to go find it. The world needs your stories!

As the author of The Chunky Method Handbook, Im passionate about creative people be more productive. If youd like to join my Chunky Method mailing list and get many more writing productivity tips, simply text the word CHUNKY to 22828.

how to write when everything goes wrong

Buy The Book

How to Write When Everything is Going Wrong: A Practical Guide to W riting Through Tough Times by Allie Pleiter – Is your muse yelling “SOS”? How do you keep the words pouring onto the page when your real life feels like it’s under attack? Every writer knows how stress and personal crises can strangle your creativity. Help is on the way in this brilliantly practical guide. Inside, you’ll find advice that:
– Gets you through the thick of your crisis
– Gives you tactics that will energize you to keep writing
– Teaches you to use your stress to inspire your writing
– And much more! As the author of over 30 books and the creator of The Chunky Method of time management for writers, Pleiter has met deadlines in the midst of some imposing traumas. With candor, insight, and the wisdom of experience, she shares practical and inventive strategies for how to stay afloat and creative amid life’s stormiest seas.

 

writing in difficult times

More About Allie

Allie Pleiter writes both fiction and non-fiction working on as many as four books at a time. She is the bestselling author of over fifty titles with a twenty-year career of over 1.5 million books sold. Allie also coaches on productivity and speaks on the creative process. Visit www.alliepleiter.com. 

Get a free download of her 15 tips for writing under stress!

The International Connection Podcast: Inside A Writer’s Mind

The International Connection Podcast: Inside A Writer’s Mind

 

writer's mind

Every story is worth sharing. That’s the philosophy behind The International Connection Podcast, which aims to connect with creative entrepreneurs from around the world to share inspiring stories.

Host Jag Sandhu, a passionate young creator, says that helping people recognize their creativity has been his biggest dream. I have that dream as well, and was honored to be interviewed for Episode 42, titled Inside A Writer’s Mind. Among the topics discussed were overcoming the fear of putting your work into the public eye, dealing with rejection and negative feedback, having multiple streams of income, keeping up with technology, getting ideas, and lots more.

Here is the description of the episode from The International Connection Podcast website.

The 42nd episode of this podcast gives you a glimpse inside a writer’s mind. It features an amazing interview with an extremely passionate creative writer, Stacy Juba.

Stacy has always had a passion for writing and creating stories. In her childhood, she fell in love with the process of documenting ideas, thoughts and experiences & creating interesting stories out of them. In this episode, she breaks down her process of creating content. That’s right! Stacy describes each and every step from writing your first idea to getting your story published in detail. Our conversation also lists various ways in which one can use today’s cutting edge technology to improve his/her writing.

Stacy has successfully recognized her creative passion, which has enabled her to write stories in the genres of Sports, Mystery, Romance and even online writing courses. Her personal journey is a story in itself that inspires various other struggling writers (like myself) to take their creativity to its next level.

So, if you find yourself stuck in the process of writing and hence, want to get yourself “unstuck,” this episode is the right fit for you.

You can watch the episode here. You can also find The International Connection on Apple Podcasts. You can learn more about the show and its host at the below links:

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TIC042: Inside a Writer’s Mind ft. Stacy Juba

Behind The Rewrite With J. Arlene Culiner: Tackling Wordiness @JArleneCuliner

Behind The Rewrite With J. Arlene Culiner: Tackling Wordiness @JArleneCuliner

Do you ever grapple with wordiness in your manuscripts? Below, J. Arlene Culiner shows you a before-and-after from her romantic mystery book, The Turkish Affair, demonstrating the importance of tightening your manuscript.

 

J. Arlene Culiner’s Behind The Rewrite

The section I’ve chosen to present is from my romantic mystery, The Turkish Affair, published in January, 2020, by The Wild Rose Press. The earlier version needed tightening—it was too wordy. I knew I could cut and the story would be more interesting, especially since the phrases I wanted to eliminate had already been said in previous chapters.

Also, I knew it was better to imply certain things, not hammer them home. I changed words as well, using others I considered more effective .

 Earlier Version

“Okay then.” His voice was surprisingly tender. “If I promise not to probe into your past, do I have the right to ask one question?”

Her sigh was one of resignation.

“Can I trust you?”

The answer to that was simple enough. Despite the rumors that had destroyed her life. She nodded. “Yes. Of course you can.”

His smile was radiant. “Good.”

She stared at him helplessly, at his strong, angular features highlighted by the merciless sun.

“That’s crazy. You’re willing to take my word for it? I could be lying.”

He slipped a finger under her chin, forced her to meet his gaze. “No way. Not with a face as expressive as yours.”

***

“I’m telling you everything I know,” he began.

She nodded in assent, but her reluctance was almost palpable. Still, he needed to push on. Confide in her, for some crazy reason he couldn’t yet understand. If only he didn’t enjoy being with her so much, he thought. If only he didn’t admire her fierce independence. Or the sight of her, sitting forward, lips slightly parted, elbows on her knees, listening to his every word. It gave him the strange feeling they were, in some strange way, a matched pair. And allowing in emotions like that, left him vulnerable. He knew that. And he just didn’t care. Not anymore—not for the moment, anyway.

wordiness

Edited Version

Here is the same version with the things I decided to cut or words I wanted to change, or words I added because they were better (where I made changes is in bold)

“Okay then.” His voice was surprisingly tender. “If I promise not to probe into your past, do I have the right to ask one question?”

Her sigh was one of resignation.

“Can I trust you?”

The answer to that was simple enough. Despite the rumors that had destroyed her life. She nodded. “Yes. Of course you can.”

His (word added) smile was radiant. “Good.”

She stared at him helplessly, at his strong, angular features highlighted by the merciless sun.

“That’s crazy. You’re willing to take my word for it? I could be lying.” (line change)

He slipped a finger under her chin, forced her to meet his gaze. “No way. Not with a face as expressive as yours.”

***

“I’m telling you everything I know,” he began.

She nodded in assent, but her reluctance was almost palpable. Still, he needed to push on. Confide in her, for some crazy reason he couldn’t yet understand. If only he didn’t enjoy being with her so much, he thought. If only he didn’t admire her fierce independence. Or the sight of her, sitting forward, lips slightly parted, elbows on her knees, listening to his every word. It gave him the strange feeling they were, in some strange way, a matched pair. And allowing in emotions like that, left him vulnerable. He knew that. And he just didn’t care. Not anymore — not for the moment, anyway.

I decided to eliminate this last paragraph entirely because it was boring, repetitive, and wordy. I also wanted to change the point of view, and do it more effectively than I did in the early version—just putting in the three star separation wasn’t good at all. Something more obvious was needed, so I wrote in a change of scene. Doing so, gave me the opportunity to add to the atmosphere and deepen the sense of place.

Final Version

“Okay, then.” His voice was surprisingly tender. “If I promise not to probe into secrets, do I have the right to ask one question?”

She nodded with resignation.

“Can I trust you?”

The answer to that was simple enough. “Yes. Of course you can.”

His returning smile was radiant. “Good.”

She stared helplessly at the strong, angular features highlighted by the merciless sun. “That’s crazy. You’re willing to take my word for it? I could be lying.”

He leaned forward, cupped her chin in his hand, and met her gaze evenly. “No way. Not with a face as expressive as yours.”

***

An hour later, the sky was a gleaming dome white with heat, and only the deeply indented coast with its myriad inlets promised respite. Renaud rowed steadily toward a cove where waves were gentle and a few pines had secured a toehold in the inhospitable terrain. Slinging the rowboat’s line over a sharp boulder, he held out his hand to Anne, then kept her fingers coiled around his for as long as he could. If only he didn’t enjoy being with her so much. If only he didn’t admire her fierce independence, or the sight of her, now settled comfortably between abundant shrubs of fragrant myrtle, her lips slightly parted, elbows on her knees.

Yes, I think this final version really does work. I hope you think so, too. Thanks for letting me present these edits. It’s a fun subject!

Want To Read The Rest Of The Book?

The Turkish Affair by J. Arlene Culiner – Love and danger at the ancient Hittite site of Karakuyu. Priceless artifacts are disappearing from the ancient Hittite site of Karakuyu in Turkey, and the site director has vanished. Called in to solve the mystery, archaeologist Renaud Townsend is hindered by both his inability to speak the language and the knowledge that the local police are corrupt. His attraction to translator Anne Pierson is immediate, although he is troubled by her refusal to talk about the past and her fear of public scandal. But when murder enters the picture, both Anne and Renaud realize that the risk of falling in love is not the only danger.

More About J. Arlene Culiner

Writer, photographer, social critical artist, musician, and occasional actress, J. Arlene Culiner, was born in New York and raised in Toronto. She has crossed much of Europe on foot, has lived in a Hungarian mud house, a Bavarian castle, a Turkish cave-dwelling, on a Dutch canal, and in a haunted house on the English moors. She now resides in a 400-year-old former inn in a French village of no interest and, much to local dismay, protects all creatures, especially spiders and snakes. She particularly enjoys incorporating into short stories, mysteries, narrative non-fiction, and romances, her experiences in out-of-the-way communities, and her conversations with strange characters.

Opportunities For Writers

Are you an author interested in writing a Behind the Rewrite guest blog post? Get the guidelines here.

Are you a writer who could use some editing tips? Check out Stacy’s free resources:

Line Editing Made Simple–5 Days to More Polished Pages  – Free e-mail class packed with line editing tips

Shortcuts for Writers: Editing Made Simple Facebook group – Download the guide, 7 Simple Steps to Nailing Your Book Blurb in Unit 1.)

 

Biggest Writing Mistakes & Steps To Publishing A Book – YouTube Interview

Biggest Writing Mistakes & Steps To Publishing A Book – YouTube Interview

steps to publishing a book

I was honored to be a guest on Willow Green’s YouTube channel. We had a candid discussion about the biggest writing mistakes that beginning authors make; working with different kinds of editors and what to expect; the pros and cons of traditional publishing, indie publishing, and small presses; and the philosophy behind my self-editing course Book Editing Blueprint: A Step-By-Step Plan to Making Your Novels Publishable.

If you’re an author, or have always wanted to write a book, we’d love to have you listen to the below interview.

Willow is an author, facilitator, coach, and creator who works with individuals, groups and businesses illuminating their experience, expertise and authenticity to build connection, trust and loyalty. Willow’s background includes an occupational science degree, Shamanic training, NLP and experiential. She owned a fitness club, authored the books I’m Sober, Now What?, Inside the Mind of an Addict, and Rewriting Your Reality, and works with people around the world shifting their energy and perspectives to unlock limitless possibilities.

Find Willow at the below sites:

Website

YouTube

Facebook

Instagram

​For more about my self-paced course for writers, Book Editing Blueprint: A Step-By-Step Plan to Making Your Novels Publishable, visit the course webpage. Be sure to sign up for my free 5-day line editing class and to check out the Shortcuts for Writers Facebook group.

Free Workshop On Copyright For Authors

Free Workshop On Copyright For Authors

copyright for authors

Copyright issues frequently come up for authors. You probably know that copyright, a form of intellectual property law, protects original works of authorship including literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works such as poetry, novels, movies, songs, computer software, and architecture. But the specifics of copyright can be confusing.

For example, what is copyrightable and what isn’t? Can you copyright your characters? Can you include a snippet of song lyrics in your book? What can you do to avoid infringement?

As an editor, I get asked copyright issues by my clients. Sometimes I know the answer, but often I don’t. That’s why I’m thrilled to have an expert lead a copyright workshop in the Shortcuts for Writers Facebook group.

Law professor Alina Boyte will teach a workshop in the group May 7 at 12:30 p.m. EST. Alina is a graduate of Stanford Law School and attended the University of Cambridge and the University of London in the United Kingdom. She is the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship and was awarded a Gerald J. Lieberman Fellowship at Stanford. She also earned a Cambridge Commonwealth Trust Scholarship, is a fellow of the Cambridge Commonwealth Society, and a member of the Oxford and Cambridge Society. She joined the faculty of the Mississippi College School of Law in 2007.

Alina teaches Property, Intellectual Property, International Intellectual Property, Cyberlaw, and Law and Economics.

If you’re not a member of the Shortcuts for Writers group, be sure to request membership. There will be a replay archived in the group if you can’t attend live.

Alina is also the host of the Heart Centered Life podcast and YouTube broadcast. She recently interviewed me on how to write your first novel and get published. You can watch the interview here.

You can find Alina at the below links:

Website

Faculty page

Facebook group (Heart Centered Living for Busy Professionals, Entrepreneurs, and Educators)

Facebook page

 

 

Behind The Rewrite With JL Peridot: Breathing Life Into A Flat First Draft @jlperidot

Behind The Rewrite With JL Peridot: Breathing Life Into A Flat First Draft @jlperidot

flat first draft

If you’ve ever skimmed through your flat first draft and felt as if it needed more depth to come alive, then you’ll relate to this Behind the Rewrite post from author JL Peridot. Below, she discusses rewriting her sci-fi romance novel It Starts With A Kiss.

JL Peridot’s Behind The Rewrite

I hate first drafting. But I love having a first draft. And while going over rough work can be tedious at times, the rewrite stage is where you get to really express your creativity and skill as a storyteller.

To date, my most popular book, It Starts With A Kiss (“Kiss”), is the one I enjoyed drafting the least. It took four rounds of reboots to turn it into a piece of work I was comfortable sending out.

Oh, gosh, my rewrites… Let me show you them.

1. Shaping Realistic Characters

Using archetypes can speed up the first draft process, because we’re so used to seeing them in fiction and the “economy of thought” saves us from getting bogged down by details early on. But these exaggerated personality profiles are just that—profiles. And depending on the kind of story you’re telling, they may hinder your ability to write characters that people can relate to.

Where this stuck out for me was when Celeste stood at the door to Eleanor’s quarters, deciding whether or not to knock. It was too easy to portray a “blameless protagonist”, free of vice and vitriol. But Celeste isn’t like that. She’s independent and strong-willed. And I needed to show her talking about Eleanor as well as to her in the earlier chapters, so not only does it make sense why she made that decision at the door, but the truth of her whole character emerges as well.

2. Writing Natural Dialogue

Once I connected my plot points together, I spent a lot of time fixing the dialogue. Workplace banter is easy if you’ve ever been mates with your colleagues. All you have to do is pay attention to what gets said and take note of the non-verbal stuff too, like tone of voice, facial expression and body language.

So, when re-written Owen mashes his hand into Celeste’s face, you can tell it’s because they’ve been friends long enough for that to be okay. When re-written Laks bosses everyone around in the function room, you know it’s different to when Eleanor does it. It’s evident in what she says, how she says it and, most importantly, how everyone else responds to it.

If you don’t have personal “banter” to inspire your dialogue in certain scenes, look for movies, TV shows and reality shows that match the genres, characters, setting, pacing or vibe of your story. In addition to my own workplace friendships, I referenced my friends, family and in-laws for specific social dynamics (such as Bettina’s dynamic with Dave), and Fresh Meat for how a diverse cast of characters could bounce off each other in a story-driven setting.

3. Fixing The Tone Of Voice

Even though “Kiss” was always intended to be a romantic comedy, the first draft prose was much too saccharine, taking away from the dramatic encounters and ruining the chances of emotionally connecting with the reader. Fixing this meant getting into the right mood to write in a particular tone of voice. My solution was soundtrack. Not just “a writing playlist”, but a playlist specific to the story and its unique setting. Other writers may only need to turn the lights down, or write only at certain times of day. Every writer will have different sensory needs for getting into the zone of a particular story, if not getting into the zone of writing anything at all.

 

4. Not Shying Away From Science

The first version of “Kiss” had far less of the nerdy stuff. At the time, I was trying to emulate the contemporary stories I’d immersed myself in, ones with broader appeal that stuck with general language. And it failed.

What makes a romance special is its characters. It Starts With A Kiss is a story about two engineers who came together through their work on a futuristic space station. The technical stuff comes part and parcel with who they are and the choices they’d made leading up to the start of the book.

So when re-written Celeste rambles about technical details, it’s because that’s what she sees when she looks at the world. As far as she’s concerned, this is the situation she’s dealing with, even if non-technical folk gloss over it or decide it’s nonsense because they don’t understand it. This is just who she is, and just who many of my sources of inspiration for her character are.

5. Building The Wider Universe

All of my stories are contained within their own worlds, but most of these worlds belong to a greater milieu with a timeline and interconnected events. “Kiss” is my third Alliance Worlds release, but the first event in the timeline. And this isn’t in any way relevant to the story.

So how do you pull off large-scale worldbuilding in such a way that it’s enriched by your existing lore while also contributing to the wider universe, when it has nothing to do with what your book is about? You drop hints.

For example, towards the end of “Kiss”, when Eleanor has her big spiel, I could have let her allude to other companies as an abstract concept. It does just as good a job at getting her harsh point across, if that’s all we needed to do. But in the final published version of the book, Elle named a specific company that’s tied to the wider universe. This serves the added functions of strengthening her character through dialogue, and giving familiar readers a richer experience of this story and all the other stories.

These particular revisions ended up breathing life into a manuscript I was on the verge of giving up on. Of course, I look back and wonder if I could do a better job of it with the gift of hindsight and these extra months’ worth of learning. I’d like to hope so, but may never find out. There are too many other stories still to tell.

This post covers the summary of this rewrite. Visit JL’s blog for the full deep-dive.

rounded characters

Want To Read The Book?

It Starts With A KissCeleste is a talented engineer who doesn’t realize her job’s going nowhere fast. She’s a little naïve. She’ll cut code and solder cables forever as long as Owen’s around. Owen, on the other hand, knows exactly how badly things suck—he just doesn’t care. Sure, his skills aren’t what they used to be, but they’re still better than what Halcyon Aries deserves. Then it happens. The company’s toxic management team finally crosses the line. As both techies race to upgrade the station and to free the team from their oppressive contracts, they come to learn that life—and love—can only ever be what you make it.

Strap in for a steamy office romance in space, because sometimes It Starts With a Kiss!

More About JL Peridot

JL Peridot writes sexy love stories and more instead of using Arduino kit she insisted on buying when the conversion rate was slightly better. Her latest book, “It Starts With A Kiss”, is a nerdy, sci-fi office romance—a little HEA for her fellow ladies in tech. Right now, she’s working on a futuristic romantic suspense novel, washing her hands, and playing a lot of video games.

Subscribe to JL’s mailing list for periodic updates, teasers, free reads and banter.

Website

Instagram

Twitter

Opportunities For Writers

Are you an author interested in writing a Behind the Rewrite guest blog post? Get the guidelines here.

Are you a writer who could use some editing tips? Check out Stacy’s free resources:

Line Editing Made Simple–5 Days to More Polished Pages  – Free e-mail class packed with line editing tips

Shortcuts for Writers: Editing Made Simple Facebook group – Download the guide, 7 Simple Steps to Nailing Your Book Blurb in Unit 1.

 

How to Write Your First Novel And Get Published @ngalina1973

How to Write Your First Novel And Get Published @ngalina1973

How to write your first novel

I recently did a livestream interview on Alina Boyte’s Heart Centered Life Broadcast, talking about How To Write Your First Novel And Get Published. Alina hosts a podcast and YouTube show for busy professionals, entrepreneurs, and educators on living and leading from the heart. During the interview, we discussed how to get ideas and find inspiration for your book, develop characters, build a captivating story, edit your work, and find a publisher. You can watch the episode below.

Visit Alina’s Heart Centered Life website

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