Podcast Interview About Being A Mother And A Writer @LaWannMoses

Podcast Interview About Being A Mother And A Writer @LaWannMoses

being a mother and a writer

I love talking about two of my most important roles: being a mother and a writer. Thanks to business and life success strategist LaWann Moses, I recently had the chance to discuss both of those roles.

I was interviewed on LaWann’s podcast More Than A Mother, talking about writing, publishing, and balancing a career with motherhood. I shared about how I almost quit writing because of how my hopes kept crashing down, how I found the will to keep going, and how I learned to become a stronger writer.

We also discussed tips for breaking into freelance writing, branching out into offering an author service, the pros and cons of traditional vs indie publishing, and why my self-paced online course Book Editing Blueprint: A Step-By-Step Plan To Making Your Novels Publishable is a steppingstone to hiring an editor.

LaWann’s show reminds moms they can follow their dreams and be a great mother at the same time. I love that philosophy! She provides tips, tools, and strategies to help manage it all. You can listen to our interview here or also find it on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and more.

You can learn more about LaWann at:

Website

Podcast

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

 

 

 

Come Write With Friends In the Anam Cara Writing Community

Come Write With Friends In the Anam Cara Writing Community

online writing community

 

Affiliate Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

Are you the type of writer that feels motivated by participating in writing communities? Do you find it helpful to set goals alongside other authors who are on the same journey as you are? Some members might focus on a different genre or be at a different skill level, but they all share a passion for creativity and a love of the written word and they all want one another to succeed.

If this sounds like the type of experience you might be interested in, then I’d like to introduce you to Payam Salehi, the founder of Anam Cara, a vibrant writing community for those who believe writing can be far more joyful and productive when surrounded by community.

Anam Cara offers thoughtfully designed 5-Week Online Writing Quests, which include award-winning authors as guides, accountability buddies, weekly writing lessons, secret rewards, and more. As the founder of Shortcuts for Writers, I’m always on the lookout for opportunities that my Book Editing Blueprint students, editing clients, and Facebook group followers might be interested in.

When I heard about Anam Cara, I thought it sounded really interesting, so I hopped on a Zoom call with Payam, and I later spoke with a member of a previous 5-Week Online Writing Quest to get a better understanding of how it all worked. After learning more about the program, I felt like it was well worth relaying to my followers.

So, first, I want to tell you about the next Writing Quest and offer you a coupon code. Second, you can read my in-depth interview with Payam below, and I’ll share how you can contact him directly if you have further questions.

Check Out The Next 5-Week Online Writing Quest.

July 14-August 18, 2020

Use code “shortcut” for a $20 discount

Our friends at Anam Cara want to welcome you with open arms into their vibrant writing community for their next 5-week Online Writing QuestYou’ll set your own writing goal, be matched with an accountability buddy, unlock secret rewards, learn from an award-winning author and guest speakers, and most importantly, meet others who believe writing can be far more joyful and productive when surrounded by soul friends. Guest speakers include New York Times bestselling author Alka Joshi, author of The Henna Artist, and Irving Ruan, a writer at The New Yorker.

Faith Adiele

                     Faith Adiele

Your guide on this journey will be Faith Adiele, an award-winning author, professor, and speaker. She has been featured in The Oprah Magazine, Marie Claire Magazine’s 5 Women to Learn From, on NPR, and has written/starred in a documentary on PBS. Educated at Harvard, the Iowa Writers Workshop in Fiction, and the Nonfiction Writing Program at Iowa, Faith Adiele has lived, taught, and presented around the globe. Her memoir about becoming the first black Buddhist nun of Thailand, Meeting Faith (W.W. Norton), received numerous accolades including a PEN Open Book Award for Best Memoir and 16 artists’ residencies. She has also previously founded the nation’s first workshop for travel writers of color through VONA/Voices and wrote/starred in a documentary that’s been featured on PBS titled, “My Journey Home.”

 Reserve your spot and use code “shortcut” for a $20 discount. The last Quest sold out, so sign up soon! Sign up here.

Interview With Founder Payam Salehi

Payam SalehiWriting a book is solitary work. How can doing a Writing Quest help? 

While writing a book—or essays, blog posts, poetry, whatever it may be—is inherently an internal process, we’ve found through doing these Quests that the biggest boost of productivity and fun comes from finding others in the same boat as you. Having a support system can make all the difference in turning writing from a hair-pulling experience into a source of joy. 

In this Quest, you choose your own 5-week writing goal, and we’ll surround you with an expert instructor and an incredibly supportive community to provide you with the motivation and tools to help you hit your goal.

For example, we match everyone with an accountability buddy based on their writing level, genre, and personality fit and place people into teams. In these teams, they give each other constant feedback and help one another reach their goals and unlock secret rewards, which range from silly encouragement videos to private, 30-minute calls with professional editors and authors.

We celebrated so many amazing achievements in the last quest—one person wrote 20,000 words, another launched a new blog—which we think is a testament to how much everyone supported each other in both doing their work and having fun.

Some writers might not have considered seeking accountability partners and other writers to share their work with. Why do you think it’s beneficial to make these connections? 

There’s something really powerful about helping someone else reach their goals and feel proud of their accomplishments. It provides a sense of fulfillment and connection that you might not find as easily in other aspects of life. 

We actually heard from one of the participants in the last Quest that she was initially skeptical about the accountability buddy process, but after it ended, she was a “convert.” She told us that she learned how to ask for feedback, how to be more open, and how to see potential in herself that she hadn’t previously felt. Another has said that she was able to improve her non-fiction writing by being matched with an accountability buddy who was working on short stories, which gave her a fresh perspective she wouldn’t have otherwise.

A number of folks have messaged us in the weeks since the last Quest saying they are still meeting with their buddies weekly—that’s exactly the kind of relationship we’re trying to cultivate!

What does a Writing Quest offer that might be hard to find in a free community? What do you think the role is of a free community vs. a paid one? 

There are definitely great aspects of being part of a free online writing group, but generally, its biggest benefit is also its biggest drawback: flexibility. When something is free, it’s easier to bail or not make it a priority. 

We attract a committed group of people who show up to make progress on their writing goals and to be there for another person—an excellent complement to belonging to free groups. We find that having a financial and time commitment creates skin in the game and keeps the momentum going. And each quest is 5 weeks—long enough to make some significant progress, but not so long that it feels like an overwhelming commitment.

Each week during your Quest, I noticed your instructor provides weekly writing lessons. Can you elaborate on what is covered?

First of all, you’re going to be in good hands — our Instructor or what we like to call “Quest Guide,” Faith Adiele, is an award-winning author, writing professor, and speaker, and she has been featured in The Oprah Magazine, Marie Claire Magazine’s 5 Women to Learn From, on NPR, and has written and starred in a documentary on PBS. 

And because of her range of experiences, she’s able to speak on many different aspects of the writing process—there’s something in there for everyone. Participants have mentioned how much they learned about new areas to explore more.

Faith creates short, practical writing lessons that folks can immediately integrate into their work, ranging from craft lessons, like how to use our 11 senses to improve your writing, to strategy lessons, like how to develop strong writing habits and actionable steps to take to get your work published. She often has folks bring their writing to our sessions so they can immediately apply the lessons to their work.

And on top of all she brings to the table, we also feature exciting guest speakers. In the past we brought in Vanessa Hua from the SF Chronicle, and we have even more up our sleeves for the next Quest.

What do you think makes your Writing Quests unique?

There are so many great resources out there, whether you’re watching videos about writing or getting inspired by other writers. But this is a place where you come to write, to show up for yourself and for others. 

There are three key elements to our Writing Quests that make up the support system we’re building: An award-winning author provides weekly lessons to help you fine-tune your craft, accountability buddies encourage you and give you feedback, and weekly secret rewards keep you motivated and add in a dose of joy.

We know that writing is hard work, but you don’t have to do it alone. There’s a community being built for you, a space where people will be every day, writing, sharing, and encouraging. And when you do that with others over and over, you’ll be amazed at how quickly it can send you straight through to a published piece (or whatever your goal may be).

writing communityJoin the next Writing Quest July 14-August 18 

Remember to use the code “shortcut” for a $20 discount. The last Quest sold out, so sign up soon!

Sign up here. Contact Payam if you have any questions: Payam@JoinAnamCara.com.

FREEBIE: Also be sure to check out Anam Cara’s free round-up of 15 Must-Have Writing Resources!

It’s All Greek To Me: Why Authors Need Cultural Consultants

It’s All Greek To Me: Why Authors Need Cultural Consultants

cultural consultants

Are you writing a book set in another country and that uses words in that language? How about cultural elements? Then my guest today, Maria A. Karamitsos, is going to explain why you need a Cultural Consultant! I’m sure you’ll enjoy reading Maria’s informative post full of tips on how to write about other cultures.

It’s All Greek To Me

It’s all Greek to me. I’m Greek. I hear this phrase often with Greek language and things to do with Greece. This Shakespearian idiom means people don’t understand something and often concerning a foreign language. What does this mean for a writer? Well, if you’re writing a book set in another country and use foreign words and include cultural elements, to avoid errors, you need help from someone who speaks that language and knows the culture.

As a Greek speaker, an avid reader, a book reviewer, and a writer and editor, I’ve seen many books and articles written about Greece, set in Greece, or with Greek subject matter that fall short in this area. But you’re thinking, “A big house published that book,” or “I spent a lot of money on professional editing. What do you mean there are errors?” The truth is, even the best professional editors can miss these issues because they don’t have experience with the language and culture. I see this happening often in terms of Greece, so I’m sure it does with other languages and cultures.

Why Is This Important?

You’ve researched thoroughly. And what did you add to your characters and story to make them believable, to bring them to life? Details. It’s those finer details that lend authenticity. Getting them right elevates your story from good to outstanding.

Who is your target reader? If you’re penning a book set in another country, with characters from another country and/or culture, a good portion of your target market are people from that country/culture. You don’t want to hurt the sales of the book–and future works.

Cultural consultant for authors

We never want to undermine our precious work, the work we’ve toiled and researched countless hours. That’s what these errors do.

How Does This Happen?

Let’s examine some ways.

  • The editor isn’t familiar with the language, country, and/or culture.

You’re thinking, “A competent, professional editor, someone recommended, would catch it!” Not necessarily. Many times, editors without experience with a language and culture, rely on the author’s research and knowledge that these things are correct.

 

  • Foreign languages are complex. You can’t translate literally.

Languages are nuanced, and sometimes poetic. With Greek, there are on average eight distinct ways to say something. Word usage depends on context. Some will check programs like Google Translate, but the results can be disastrous. While they’re good for a general idea about something (say an article or a post on social media), please do not use these translations in your work.

I’ve worked in Greek-American media for 18 years, and for four, I published a digital magazine. Once, a writer sent me an article for publication. A non-Greek, but a lover of Greece, she sprinkled in Greek words. I flagged multiple instances of incorrect usage. She argued that she looked them up and verified them. For example, she used the Greek verb for charm. She wrote “mayévo,” which can have a negative inference. It was also incorrect in context. The word she wanted is, “ghoitévo.

Perhaps you asked someone who speaks that language how to say something. While this is a step in the right direction, I’ve seen writers get tripped up here because they didn’t provide context.  

  • The author spent time in that country and listened to people speak.

With a language as complex as Greek with words with difficult pronunciations and sounds, it’s possible to mishear. So when someone said the name for a Cretan spirit is Tsikoudiá and you heard and repeated, ‘tsoukouda’, which stuck in your mind and you used it, you’ve made a mistake. I’ve even observed Diaspora Greeks who don’t speak the language hear a word like koumbaRo, which is a man who has a relationship with you because of a religious sacrament (i.e. wedding sponsor or godparent), and say it and write it as koumbaDo. That’s what their ear hears. There’s no D in there—the Greek character is ρ which makes the R sound. That word with the “D” doesn’t exist.

Years ago, an author friend emailed me while penning a novel set in Greece. She asked, “How do you say, ‘Congratulations’ in Greek?” I asked for context. “A wedding,” she explained. In Greece someone said synchartia to me when I got a book contract.”

Well, my friend not only got the word wrong (syllables missing) but she also selected the wrong word. Although syncharitiria means congratulations, a Greek would never say that at your wedding.

  • The choice of character names led to questioned authenticity.

Editors won’t question character names since authors have specific reasons for selecting them. But did you know that the name could trip up a reader? And not just in the “I knew a nasty person with that name” kind of way. A name flub, messes with the authenticity of the character, leading the reader to doubt other elements.

Here’s an example. I read a book with scenes set in Asia Minor in the early 1900s. The protagonist’s last name originated from Cyprus instead of Asia Minor. This distracted me; then I started questioning other things. It’s a fascinating story, the historical elements on point. But every time I read the last name (and it came up often) it took me out of the story. NOTE: Naming your character with a name from another region changes your story. 

 

  • Selected word(s) makes sentence(s) impossible.

Last month, I read an amazing historical novel set in Greece. The author wrote, “… and the yiayias were nursing the babies.” Greek speaking readers–or anyone with Greek friends–would get stuck on the impossibility. Yiayia is the Greek word for grandmother. So, unless these were young grandmothers who’d just given birth, I’m not sure how this would happen. The book was published by major house and no doubt edited by a professional, but the errors got through because people weren’t familiar with the language.

  • Cultural misuse.

Another author penned a manuscript for a novel set in Thessaloniki, the protagonist born and raised in that city. She described a character, “…wearing a Sariki, a traditional adornment worn by men in Thessaloniki.” She sent it to me, as a beta reader. I questioned the use of sariki. She said she saw a picture of a Greek man wearing one and it was “intriguing.” Oops. Sariki is a netted scarf worn by men on the island of Crete. Crete is the southernmost Greek island, and Thessaloniki is a city in northern Greece–each with very distinct culture. It may sound minor, but it’s a tremendous mistake. Chances are you won’t see a man from Thessaloniki wearing a sariki–well, unless he’s from Crete or bought one there as a souvenir. But again, that changes your character and story.

  • A misspelling or misplaced accent mark changed the meaning.

In Greek, you can move the accent mark or even change one letter and it alters the entire meaning. For example, take the Greek wordfilo. Accent placement can alter the meaning: FEE-lo (fílo) means a male friend, but could also be the flaky pastry sheets used in many Greek dishes (in Greek characters they have different spellings); and fee-LO (filó), means I kiss you. Big difference, right?

What Do I Do?

You’ve put your heart and soul into your work, labored innumerable hours. Then you (or your publisher) hired a professional editor–but these errors slipped. Or if you’re writing or editing, you’ll want to avoid these mess-ups. They aren’t minor.

So what do you do?

Hire a Cultural Consultant. I know. You’re thinking you already spent–or will spend–a ton on different phases of editing, and now I’m telling you to spend more money on a consultant? Yes. Because you want your story to be the best it can be.

Likely part of your target market are readers from that culture, and you don’t want to turn them off. You may be viewed as a cultural ambassador, and you don’t want to provide inaccurate info! You publish a book to make money. And you want to grow your audience and publish more books. You don’t want to give anyone a reason to stop reading or to discount your otherwise amazing work.

What Do I Look For?

  • Hire a person who speaks the language, knows the culture, and the country.

Choose someone of that culture. Someone who has lived in that country for many years can also be helpful. Language and culture are multifaceted.

  • Check their qualifications.

Have they done this work before? Discuss past projects and their experience with said language, country, and culture.

  • Send the entire manuscript.

Discuss the story with the consultant. He or she needs to know the story, the setting, the character dynamics, your goals, the context, etc.

This service shouldn’t break the bank either. Consider it cultural proofreading.

While this may seem nitpicky or you believe that readers won’t pick up on the errors, you don’t want to be the author that writes, “I’ll have some krazi” instead of “I want some krasí. Krasí is the Greek word for wine. Unless you want some “crazy.” But that’s a whole other story.

If it’s all Greek to you, work with a Cultural Consultant. And oh yes, don’t skip the editing.

Questions? Send me an email at hello@mariakaramitsos.com

More About Maria

Maria A. Karamitsos has been a positive voice in Greek media since 2002. She was the founder, publisher, and editor of WindyCity Greek magazine. For 10 years, she served as the associate editor and senior writer for The Greek Star newspaper. Her work has been published in GreekCircle magazine, The National Herald, GreekReporter, Harlots Sauce Radio, Women.Who.Write, Neo magazine, KPHTH magazine, XPAT ATHENS, and more. Maria has contributed to three books: Greektown Chicago: Its History, Its Recipes; The Chicago Area Ethnic Handbook; and the inaugural Voices of Hellenism Literary Journal. She’s a sought-after book reviewer and enthusiastically promotes books set in Greece, those with Greek subjects, and books by Greek authors. As a Greek Cultural Consultant, Maria helps authors with Greek references in their work. She’s currently editing her first novel. Learn more at mariakaramitsos.com

Connect with Maria on social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

 

Tips For Being An Author And Mompreneur

Tips For Being An Author And Mompreneur

writer mom

I wanted to share a couple recent interviews I did about being a writer, editor, course creator, and mompreneur. I hope you enjoy learning more about my journey and find my tips helpful.

Moms Who Rise

First, I was honored to be interviewed on the Moms Who Rise blog as part of the Momspire feature. We chatted about what inspired me to start my own business and tips for entrepreneurship.

Angela Garcia runs the Moms Who Rise site to give moms a community where they can connect and grow as women and also embrace their motherhood journey. Moms Who Rise is not only an online community, but they also meet through monthly mom socials, quarterly workshops, and the Moms Who Rise conference hosted twice a year.

Read our interview here.

The Digital Maddy Show

Mithyl Dave interviewed me recently on The Digital Maddy Show, talking about how to become an author. The show, which is available in podcast and YouTube formats, features topics including video creation, digital marketing, email marketing, affiliate marketing, content creation, and storytelling. As a writer, I fit into the storytelling category, if you haven’t already guessed! Between promoting my books and running Shortcuts for Writers, I do a lot of marketing also.

If you’ve always wanted to write a book, give the interview a listen. Watch it on YouTube or listen to The Digital Maddy Show on your favorite podcast app. (May 30th, 2020 episode)⁠

Behind The Rewrite With Suzanne Jefferies: Fleshing Out A Scene @suzannjefferies

Behind The Rewrite With Suzanne Jefferies: Fleshing Out A Scene @suzannjefferies

fleshing out a scene

Do you ever have a tendency to underwrite the scenes in your first draft and realize that you need to do some fleshing out in your rewrites? In today’s Behind The Rewrite, romance author Suzanne Jefferies talks about exactly that situation and shares a before and after except from her novel The Ex Factor.

Suzanne’s Behind The Rewrite

Revising, rewriting, and polishing all seem like dirty words to the writer who wants to write, write, write. But, the editing and rewriting process makes all difference between a not-quite-there manuscript and a finished one.

I have a tendency to underwrite rather than overwrite, meaning that I always have to go back and flesh out actions, settings and dialogue. In this passage, during the writing process, I knew what it was I wanted to say, but my ‘shorthand’ first draft would leave a reader completely confused.

These were the major edits to this extract from The Ex-Factor:

1. Sylvie became Sylvia

2. I elaborated where necessary (underwriting’s inevitable outcome). So, in the first line of description, I’ve added “as she stretched,” otherwise, why is her back arched? Unless, she sits like that normally…!

3. I switched the entire manuscript from third person to first person. You can see where I missed one in the line, “I poured himself a coffee.”

4. The paragraph that starts, “She looked at me from under her false eyelashes…” was too long winded and verged on whiny. He and his wife were still friends, but I didn’t want him to sound bitter. I switched the verb tense from present participles to infinitives which clipped the writing tighter. Also, I edited out the ‘woe is me’ explanation.

5. Sylvia’s dialogue has changed to be more in keeping with her go-getter personality. The addition of “I’m busy, you’re busy. Saturday is just another day to bring home the big ones. Besides, I thought you’d like to see how our baby is doing,” lets the reader know she’s there to talk about business with her ex-husband, even if it’s a Saturday morning.But, I left in the line “C’mon, Jackles, you know you want to,” because she is flirty with him. As it read in the ‘before’, she just sounds flirty which was the wrong vibe altogether.

6. I added the thought, “Was it too early for a shot of whisky with that?” to further elaborate that although he didn’t relish the barging in on his wife, he wasn’t angry. The last thing I wanted my reader to think was that he had unresolved issues with his ex-wife (because that’s not what the story’s about!)

developing a scene in a book

Original Scene

Sylvie arched her back upwards, revealing the perfect curves of her breasts. Once upon a time that move would have rendered me as ravenous as a rabid dog for her. Not anymore. I was older and I sure as heck was wiser.

“I thought we could have a look and see how our baby was doing.”

She looked up at me from under her false eyelashes. I could almost see the glue holding them in place. How long did she use to take putting those lashes on, straightening her hair, pouring on body lotion, and how little time did she take listening to anything I said, providing the support I needed as I battled away night after night trying to build the career I had? “C’mon Jackles, you know you want to.”

I knew no such thing. “You could have called first.”

“Evidently. You two? I had no idea. Is it serious?”

“We’ll see.” I poured himself a coffee.

Rewritten Scene

Sylvia arched her back upwards, revealing the perfect curves of her breasts as she stretched. Once upon a time that move would have rendered me as ravenous as a rabid dog for her. Not any more. I was older and I sure as heck was wiser. “I’m busy, you’re busy. Saturday is just another day to bring home the big ones. Besides, I thought you’d like to see how our baby is doing.” She looked up at me from under her false eyelashes. I could almost see the glue holding them in place. How well I remembered the time it took to put those lashes on. And to straighten the hair, and to apply the body lotion, and to touch up her nails…and how little time she took to actually listen to anything I’d said. “C’mon Jackles, you know you want to.”

I knew no such thing. “You could have called first.”

“Evidently. You two? I had no idea. Is it serious?”

“We’ll see.” I poured myself some coffee. Was it too early for a shot of whisky with that?

Want To Read The Rest Of The Book?

The Ex Factor by Suzanne Jefferies (The Jozi Series, Book 3) – He’s a six pack. She’s fine champagne. He’s the race track. She’s the theatre. But, Jacques past is Madge’s present – can they see a future together?

Madge Everson, a committed commitment-phobe has an elaborate series of rules and regulations around dating, all designed to keep Mr. Right far, far away. But she didn’t bank on Jacques de Villiers, a supposed playboy who keeps her on her toes, negotiating her emotional barbed wire. Just when she thought it was safe to trust again, she finds out that he has an ex in his closet…not only a woman she knows but a woman she strives to be.

More About Suzanne

Suzanne Jefferies loves to write romance from contemporary to the downright blush-worthy. Her novel, The Joy of Comfort Eating won the 2016 ROSA Imbali Award for excellence in romance writing, and she won the 2011 Mills & Boon Voice of Africa competition.

Join her Facebook group Suzanne’s Sinners, Saints & Lovers, follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, or visit her at www.suzannejefferies.com.

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 Name Your Characters: Tips Every Fiction Writer Should Know – Check out this extensive post on naming your characters, an informative video tour of 7 character-naming sites, and a free PDF guide that summarizes all the information.

Book Editing Blueprint: A Step-By-Step Plan to Making Your Novels Publishable – Learn how to streamline the editing process in this affordable, self-paced online course that will empower beginner and intermediate writers to think like an editor so they can save time and money. A steppingstone to hiring an editor.

Free Workshop: 13 Steps to Realizing Your Published Author Dream

Free Workshop: 13 Steps to Realizing Your Published Author Dream

publishing dreams

If you could use some motivation to pursue your writing dreams, then you will love the free workshop 13 Steps to Realizing Your Published Author Dream, which will be held June 18 at 1 p.m. EST in the Shortcuts for Writers Facebook group.

I asked one of our longtime group members, Ann C.K. Nickell, to present this workshop as I noticed her inspirational and informative blog posts on social media and knew the group could benefit from her wisdom.

Here is a description of the workshop:

Do you want to become a published author but haven’t yet realized that dream? What’s holding you back? This workshop will inspire you and help you define your “why,” recognize the obstacles in your way, beat writer’s block, and finally claim the title of Published Author! Now is the time to realize your dream!

published author dream

More About Ann

Ann is an author, blogger, coach and survivor who founded Wonderfully Worthy to use her stories to help others overcome their obstacles, find their passion and purpose, realize their dreams, and live beautiful lives.

The workshop is pre-recorded and Ann will be available during the premiere to answer questions in the comments. If you can’t attend live, it will be archived in the group’s Units section with other guest workshops.

She is the author of books including the poetry collection Triumph and Tribulation.

publishing dreams

In life, there is tribulation, but there is also triumph, as light always overcomes the darkness. These poems will take you on a journey of love, loss, hope, fear, courage, despair, and faith.

Buy it on Amazon.

You can learn more about Ann at the below links:
AnnCKNickell.com
WonderfullyWorthy.com

 

Behind The Rewrite: Editing A Short Story @Emerald_theGLD

Behind The Rewrite: Editing A Short Story @Emerald_theGLD

how to edit a short story

Today’s Behind the Rewrite gives some unique insight into editing a short story. I apprecate the detail that the author, Emerald, went into describing why she decided to cut the below scene from her short story “Winter,” part of her collection, Initiative: Tales of Erotic Boldness.

Emerald’s Behind The Rewrite

My book is fundamentally different from most youll read about on this site, as it is a collection of short stories rather than a novel. I have been writing short fiction for around two decades and have published a number of short stories in multi-author anthologies. I have also written three collections of my own, the latest of which was released May 1.

Thus, the deleted scene I am about to expound upon was deleted from a short story rather than a novel. This of course has different implications, but there are also ways that choosing to delete (or not include) a scene and how it can affect a work as a whole are universal in writing.

My story Winteris one of the longer ones in my latest book, Initiative: Tales of Erotic Boldness, as well as one of the four previously unpublished stories I wrote specifically for the collection. Its a very sense-oriented story, and one where I could visualize the scenery and perceive the solitude, slowness, and silence of the environment vividly. There is interaction between the main character and other characters, but it is minimaland that, ultimately, is one of the reasons the scene below was cut.

I loved this scene because I did a lot of research on the Northern Lights as part of the landscape of winter in Alaska, and I had viewed so many photos and videos of them that I wanted to put a description of them in writing. However, just because something is so beautiful it begs description in words doesn’t mean inserting said description into a work in progress is always in service to the story. (Incidentally, dont let that keep you from writing it! You could always use it for something else, and even if you dont, if you feel compelled to write something, I am all for doing so. All Im recommending here is to ensure it propels the narrative youre offering rather than just existing as a description of something lovely.)

Ultimately, I was so focused on the scenic description of the Northern Lights and Sherrys response to them that it didnt feel forthcoming to also try to increase and emphasize sexual tension, which, with the limited interaction Sherry has with this character, it was important to do with every one of their interactions. More subtly, the character who speaks to her in this scene is very unobtrusive in her solitary experience in Alaska, and this scene didnt illustrate that well (on the contrary, he speaks to her before she knows hes there and startles her). Overall, as much as I loved writing about the Northern Lights, the scene just did not display what I wanted to about either the male character or the developing interactions between him and Sherry. (A few of the lines/descriptions from it about her experience did end up in other scenes of the story.)

editing a short story

DELETED FROM WINTERIN INITIATIVE: TALES OF EROTIC BOLDNESS

She wandered across the snow, her eyes on the silent phenomenon dazzling the night sky. Phosphorescent green streaks drifted over blackness like an understated version of the movie Fantasia. It didnt look like the vibrant, multicolored light show shed seen in postcard-like photos of the Northern Lights online. But in the dark, freezing night, it did look magical.

Sherry couldnt remember ever feeling more solitary than she did at that moment, though there was nothing disquieting about the sensation. On the contrary, if shed had to choose one word to describe what she felt right then, it would be connected.

Quite the vision, huh?

Sherry jumped, whirling to find the man who had spoken to her the night before standing about twenty feet behind her. Two of his friends were with him, looking up at the sky.

Im sorry,he said immediately. I didnt mean to startle you.Sherry sensed sincerity in his voice, and she relaxed and returned his smile.

Thats okay,she said, clearing her throat. It felt like a long time since she had spoken out loud. I was justabsorbed.

Yeah.The man nodded, looking back up at the sky. This is one of the reasons to come to Alaska in winter.

Sherry turned somewhat awkwardly back around. Despite the effortless connectedness shed felt moments before, the actual exchange of words with someone had felt slightly jolting. Nonetheless, she directed her gaze upward and resumed her sky-watching.

When she glanced back several moments later, two more of his friends had silently joined the group, and all five men stood in a cluster, looking up and murmuring occasionally to one another. Soon after, she heard their muted voices retreating, and when she turned again, they were headed back to the building. Sherry let her breath out as she watched them file through the back door.

Want To Read The Book?

Initiative: Tales of Erotic BoldnessFrom audacious proposals to first-time exploits to newfound inner confidence, taking initiative delves into the risqué in these thirteen smoldering tales. An accidental catalyst invokes a bold move in Fulfillment,while the brassiness in Shift Changebelongs entirely to narrator Stacey. Whos on Top?sees a meeting between fans of rival baseball teams turn into a game of chance and wits, and The Beast Withinoffers a present-day Beauty and the Beastrendition that puts a twist on ugliness, beauty, pain, and pleasureand the surprising ways they can intertwine.

Sometimes brazen, sometimes subtle, the initiatives between these pages always showcase the erotic and how it can both inspire and evoke our most emboldened selves.

More About Emerald

Emerald is an erotic fiction author interested in elevating discussion of and attention to authentic sexual experience. Her short fiction has been featured in more than thirty multi-author anthologies in the genre, and her book Safe: A Collection of Erotic Stories won the bronze IPPY in the Erotica category of the 2016 Independent Publisher Book Awards. The majority of her wardrobe incorporates glitter in some capacity.

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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.

How To Name Your Characters: Tips Every Fiction Writer Should Know – Check out this extensive post on naming your characters, an informative video tour of 7 character-naming sites, and a free PDF guide that summarizes all the information.

Book Editing Blueprint: A Step-By-Step Plan to Making Your Novels Publishable – Learn how to streamline the editing process in this affordable, self-paced online course that will empower beginner and intermediate writers to think like an editor so they can save time and money. A steppingstone to hiring an editor.

Writing Tips From A Successful Author Podcast Episode

Writing Tips From A Successful Author Podcast Episode

successful author
Recently I did an interview on the Women Entrepreneur Success Network Podcast in an episode titled Writing Tips From A Successful Author.

Marketing strategy coach Anna Paszkiet hosts the podcast. In episode 24, I share insight on the pros and cons of indie vs. traditional publishing, tips for creating characters and conflict, and discuss why hiring an editor too early can make you use up your editing budget—fast!

Past episodes focus on topics such as building an email list, choosing your target audience, using Pinterest, making excuses, setting goals, and much more.

Learn more about Anna:

Author Interview On The Jesse Lewis Show

Author Interview On The Jesse Lewis Show

I hope you enjoy this short Facebook Live interview that I did on The Jesse Lewis Show, talking about the writing life.

Jesse likes to do fun silly interviews with entertainers, artists, speakers, and interesting people from all over the world. I was honored to be a guest and discuss the inspiration for a few of my books, the publishing industry, and even my favorite sandwich.

Check out Jesse’s other interviews on his Facebook page.

 

Overcome The Fear Of Writing A Book And Map Out Your Success

Overcome The Fear Of Writing A Book And Map Out Your Success

fear of writing a bookMany new writers are afraid of pursuing their dream of writing a book. Even experienced authors may feel afraid when switching genres or starting a new project. If you’ve ever felt fear regarding your writing career, then you’ll relate to this helpful post from Willow Green on mapping out your success. 

By the way, Willow will be doing a live workshop in the Shortcuts for Writers Facebook Group on June 4 at 7:30 p.m. EST, sharing how to set yourself up for success and feel like your book wrote itself. You can find more information here. To participate, request membership in the Shortcuts for Writers Facebook group. The presentation will be archived in the Units section.

Willow’s Insight On Fear

Writing a book was a dream for 20 years before becoming a reality. Once I wrote one, I wrote another. And now I am in the process of book three. I allowed my fear of the process to stop me from accomplishing my goal. Fear; it can be paralyzing and often times is the only thing separating you from what you want the most.

So what is this fear? What are you really afraid of? When I ask that question, the funny thing is most people don’t really know. It’s the fear of the unknown.

How many times have you procrastinated, telling yourself “I don’t know how”, or asking yourself “Will anyone actually want to read my story?”

These are some of the ways fears manifest into our reality. The stories we tell ourselves when we are unsure of the next move. You’re stuck, that’ all. Everyone gets stuck, it’s a natural part of life. The only question is how long are you willing to stay there?

There are so many ways to get unstuck and set yourself up for success. First, ask yourself if you really want to write. If yes, then let’s map the journey for success!

Mapping Out Your Success

It doesn’t matter what you want to write, the process can work for anyone who is committed to the journey.

Writing a book is a journey, not a destination. You will learn so much about yourself along the way. Just like the plot of your story, you will face hardships, adversity, and challenges that make you want to quit. You will also experience extreme highs, breakthroughs, and surprise yourself. You will read your first drafts, shake your head and ask, “did I really write that?” You will vacillate between disbelief and confusion about your words, and other times be impressed at how amazing a writer you truly are. It’s all included! You get to experience everything and it will unlock parts of yourself that you didn’t know existed. So enjoy the journey!

Set yourself up for success. Create a plan before you even start, a map. Your legend will be your reader, your voice, your message, the intention behind the journey. Then map out the steps, planning on unforeseen obstacles and hidden treasures. Have an accountability and support team to cheer you on and motivate you through the challenges, as well as be there to celebrate the wins with you.

Once I created my map, both books flowed through me. I was prepared and able to navigate the emotional storms with ease and grace. I knew exactly what I wanted the reader to experience and was clear with my intention. I followed the map I created. It kept me on course and allowed me to go back, rewrite and edit without getting lost in my own story.

Clarity on the direction and steps will guide you swiftly from dream to reality! What are you waiting for?

overcoming fear of writing

More About Willow

Willow Green 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 has lived with and trained with several spiritual guides. She has a very unique and diverse set of gifts that allow clients to see exactly what they need to empower themselves and thrive. She is the author of:

I’m Sober, Now What? Moving through the fear, anxiety and humility of LIFE on Life’s terms

Rewriting Your Reality, You Have a Choice. A Path to Enlightenment

Inside the Mind of an Addict

The Story Behind the Story (Video Series)

A New Perspective on Life (Video)

If you would like help defining your message or creating your map, apply for a discovery call at  www.GroovyWillowGreen.com.

Rewriting Your Reality Book

Rewriting Your Reality by Willow Green – Rewrite your new reality starting today. If you can imagine it, you can experience it. What if you could let go of everything you thought you knew and in the process gain more than you ever imagined? Who would you be? What would that look like? What do you desire? More money? A better job? Love? A new home? Travel? Anything is possible if you believe. Every thought, every choice, every action creates your reality. You have the power to rewrite it as many times as you wish, refining your choices each time. Offers poignant reflective exercises and questions to usher in new ways of being.

Here is an interview that Willow and I did on her YouTube channel, where we chatted about writing and book publishing.

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:

Website

YouTube

Facebook

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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.

How To Name Your Characters: Tips Every Fiction Writer Should Know – Check out this extensive post on naming your characters, an informative video tour of 7 character-naming sites, and a free PDF guide that summarizes all the information.

Book Editing Blueprint: A Step-By-Step Plan to Making Your Novels Publishable – Learn how to streamline the editing process in this affordable, self-paced online course that will empower beginner and intermediate writers to think like an editor so they can save time and money. A steppingstone to hiring an editor.

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