The Restarting Point (Chammont Point #1) by Marci Bolden
Publication date: April 27th 2021
Genres: Women’s Fiction
Synopsis: Marketing executive and mother of two, Jade Kelly can now add cancer survivor to her list of successes. But while her life looks good on paper, four months out of treatment, Jade realizes she hardly knows her college-age children and she and her husband Nick are little more than housemates.
Determined to start over, Jade schedules a family vacation to a lakefront cabin. When her kids bail and Nick stays home to handle a last minute work crisis, Jade heads to Chammont Point alone, determined to dust herself off and figure out what to do with the rest of her life.
While she’s away, the life she thought she had unravels. Secrets, lies, and old wounds drive Jade into new adventures and new relationships. With the help of family and new found friends, Jade learns starting over sometimes means finding a brand new restarting point.
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As a teen, Marci Bolden skipped over young adult books and jumped right into reading women's fiction and romance novels.
Marci lives in the Midwest with her husband, two kiddos, and numerous rescue pets. If she had an ounce of will power, Marci would embrace healthy living but until cupcakes and wine are no longer available at the local grocery store, she'll put that ambition on hold and appease her guilt by reading self-help books and promising to join a gym "soon."
Author links: Website ~ Facebook ~ Instagram ~ Pinterest ~ Newsletter ~ Twitter ~ Goodreads ~
Blitz-wide giveaway (INT)
This grand prize giveaway - ends Apr 29th:
A September to Remember: Searching for Culinary Pleasures at the Italian Table (Book Three) – Lombardy, Tuscany, Campania, Apulia, and Lazio (Roma) (Savoring the Olde Ways Series, 3) by Carole Bumpus
Publisher: She Writes Press (April 27, 2021)
Category: Culinary/Travel Memoir & Non-Fiction
Tour dates: April 12-May 31, 2021
ISBN: 978-1631527272 ~ Available in Print and ebook, 245 pages
This culinary travel memoir is an invitation to join in on a month-long trek through Italy, all in the search of the true Italian experience. Sprinkled with unforgettable characters, you will sup on sumptuous traditional foods, sip regional wines, and enjoy vast panoramas of extraordinary beauty. You may find yourself dancing at harvest festivals, climbing through Etruscan tombs, traipsing among Roman ruins, or bathing in ancient Roman termes (hot springs).
You may also enjoy climbing to the heights of wonder in Capri or to the top of St. Peter’s Basilica. Or delight in soaking up the ancient and cultural history in Milan, Firenze (Florence), Amalfi, Pompeii, Lecce and Rome. You can bask in the sun and rugged beauty of the Tyrrhenian Sea, the Adriatic Sea, or the gorgeous Amalfi Coast. Or you can chat for hours over family meals while collecting a compendium of regional and traditional recipes (cucina povera), while you capture a rare glimpse inside the secrets to the Mediterranean psyche. It is truly a trip of a lifetime.Buy Links: Amazon ~ Barnes&Noble ~ IndieBound ~
In what ways has writing affected other aspects of your life?
When I retired as a family therapist, my husband whisked me away to Italy for a month of rest and relaxation. It was a marvelous respite, but also a mind-opening experience. Everywhere we traveled I was captivated by the people we met and curious about their lives, loves, pasts, and triumphs. I wanted to know what they ate, how they raised their children and especially what brought them together at the family table. I wanted to know what it would be like to live in the very village in which they lived. Obviously, I hadn’t left the family therapist in me at home.
My training as a therapist, in fact, began to crop into every day travel notes. I jotted down conversations with locals; names of traditional foods and recipes; and when we were fortunate enough to be invited into family homes, I found myself enchanted by the familial stories shared along with the wonderful traditional dishes.
So, what did I want to do with these notes? I realized if I wanted to continue my interviews, I needed to create a method to my ‘madness’. Travel writing, I thought. Even though I had never taken a writing class before, this might be an option . . . with a focus on families and their favorite foods and traditional values.
After returning home, I began taking both writing and cooking classes. Again, good fortune smiled on me, as I was invited to travel to Provençe on a gourmet cooking tour. Led by my cooking instructor, this experience again opened my heart, eyes, and palate to a world of heady inspiration in France. My notes became short stories, then blog posts and my writing ‘career’ began to take off.
Having developed a good friendship with my culinary instructor, I was asked to accompany her back to France and Italy. Her goal was to establish future culinary tours as well as collect traditional recipes for a cookbook she was writing. I found I could assist her while continuing my research on the families from many different regions of both countries. I knew if I wanted to better understand European families, I needed to meet them in their own villages, in their homes, and at their kitchen tables.
It was at that time I created the idea for a series of books called Savoring the Olde Ways. It was a celebration of generational gifts. “What were your favorite foods as a child?” I would ask. “What dishes did you learn from your grandmother? What were your family favorites? What brings your family to the table each day?” You see, everyone has a favorite dish they love to share, and an easy way for people to relax and share their stories, is to ask them about favorite foods.
So, in short order, I was ushered into the kitchen, asked to sit down, and given a glass of wine. As I pulled out my notepad, my host would shuffle through her recipe cards to be certain I was given her absolute favorites. (Yes, they were written in either French or Italian of which I didn’t know, but not to worry. I would jump off that bridge when I got to it.) Amidst the laughter and camaraderie, I became the beneficiary of some of the most incredible meals and heart-warming stories, I’ve ever encountered.
So, I began to write and write some more. And when I finally compiled my notes, I was surprised to have filled 950-pages – an entire tome. During the next twelve years, I pulled these stories together, continued my research and took more writing classes. Out of the five books which I completed, the first is an historical novel, the second a companion cookbook to the novel, and the last three are culinary travel memoirs. Yes, my Savoring the Olde Ways series Yes, my Savoring the Olde Ways series finally came to fruition—almost exactly twenty years later.
In what ways has writing affected other aspects of your life? Writing has overtaken almost every waking hour. I fill my days writing, editing, rewriting, promoting, setting up ads and Zooming events, speaking at bookstores, and hosting cooking demonstrations. Oh my! At this point, there is no end in sight! Ah, but I do make time for more travel, as writing has added a whole new outlook and purpose for all my trips. And I’m just getting started.
A Cup of Redemption, an historical novel, published October 2014; Recipes for Redemption: A Companion Cookbook to A Cup of Redemption, published August 2015; Books One and Two of my series, Searching for Family and Traditions at the French Table, published in August 2019 and 2020; and Book Three, A September to Remember: Searching for Culinary Pleasures at the Italian Table will be published April 27, 2021.
About Carole Bumpus
Multi award winning author, Carole Bumpus is a retired family therapist, who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. She began writing about food and travel when she stumbled upon the amazing stories of women and war in France. Her historical novel, A Cup of Redemption, was published in October 2014, and her unique companion cookbook, Recipes for Redemption: A Companion Cookbook to A Cup of Redemption, was released in August 2015.
Books One and Two of her Savoring the Olde Ways series, Searching for Family and Traditions at the French Table, were published in August 2019 and 2020; her third book in the series, A September to Remember: Searching for Culinary Pleasures at the Italian Table is due out April 27, 2021. All five books have been published by She Writes Press which is part of SparkPoint Studio, LLC.
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Giveaway for print or eBook of September to Remember (3 Winners) This giveaway is open to Canada and the U.S. only and ends on June 1, 2021. Entries are accepted via Rafflecopter only.
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Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus Apr 12 Kickoff & Interview
Jas International Book Promotion Apr 13 Review
Lu Ann Rockin’ Book Reviews Apr 14 Guest Post
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Lisa’s Writopia Apr 21 Review
Lisa’s Writopia Apr 23 Guest Post
Sherry My Journey Back Apr 26 Review & Excerpt
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Sol Celticlady’s Reviews May 10 Review & Excerpt
Lu Ann Rockin; Book Reviews May 12 Review
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Sage Nor Bound 4 Escape May 17 Review
Bee Book Pleasures May 18 Review & Interview
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Sarah Amazon May 27 Review
Betty Toot’s Book Reviews May 28 Review & Excerpt
Amber M. Amazon May 31 Review
Book Title: Blood of the Dragonfly ( The Moccasin Hollow Mystery Series - Book V)
Author: Hawk MacKinney
Category: Adult Fiction (18+), 227 pages
Publisher: Sage Words Publishing
Release date: Feb 2021
Formats Available for review: print (USA and Canada), ebook (Gifted Kindle, PDF)
Tour dates: Apr 12 to Apr 30, 2021
Content Rating: PG. There are graphic death scenes.
While dangling a fishing hook from his flat bottom skiff before dawn, former SEAL-turned-PI Craige Ingram spots grey-black smoke coiling above the treetops across the river in the direction of the Georgia bayous and Corpsewood Manor. Bayou or bogs, fire in the uncut cypress and pines bodes a sense that the river is no barrier to the fire that threatens his ancestral home, Moccasin Hollow. Neither are the bodies later found in the burned mansion of Corpsewood Manor. Craige wastes no time in helping his ex-SEAL buddy Lt. Graysen MacGerald who is now Head of Buckingham Homicide Investigations by unofficially investigating the bodies and an exquisite dragonfly brooch found in the mansion with a reputation for evil, hauntings, and mystery.
Buy the Book:
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The Discipline of Writing
Writing every day IS the schedule! Even if it seems that a writer is only shuffling bits and bones of scattered scribbled notes. It nurtures the imagination and planning the writer has jotted into notes and is the beginning of the framework skeleton that will become a rough-rough draft. Notes and scribbles are jotted anywhere – at this point it’s the ideas that are critical, not the where. That changes when the writer begins stitching together the rough lumps that will intrigue readers. Self-editing is critical. Friends and family that care for you will tell you what will make you happy. Productive positive critique is invaluable and all writing needs it. I especially value and treasure the professional critiques I receive because inevitably it leads to successful marketing for my work. Trusted editors are essential and not friends or family.
Marketing is another tale that extends beyond the final draft wrapped in an enticing cover –your book. Crowing about your work, showing it to others, spreading the word is fine and can be nurturing food for one’e ego, but keep that ego in check. It can mislead. Determined, thorough trusted editing and re-editing is an absolute and an essential contribution to quality work. I actually enjoy editing my work. After a minimum of 5 to 20 edits, hunkering down with the nitty gritty guts-and-plumbing of final drafts, I seem to fit the ageless definition of what a writer is: a loner by oneself, in a room with stacks and jumbles of papers and folders, not to be disturbed by any electronic junk or toys or gossip or social media. Quite simply, a writer writes.
Hawk MacKinney - www.hawkmackinneyauthor.com
Here is the tour schedule.
Meet the Author:
Hawk MacKinney began writing mysteries for his school newspaper, served in the US Navy for over 20 years, earned two postgraduate degrees with studies in languages and history, taught postgraduate courses in the United States and Jerusalem, authored professional articles and chordate embryology texts on fetal and adult anatomy, and is well known for his works of fiction. Moccasin Trace, a historical novel, was nominated for the prestigious Michael Shaara Award for Excellence in Civil War Fiction and the Writers Notes Book Award. Both his CAIRNS OF SANCTUARIE science fiction series and the MOCCASIN HOLLOW MYSTERY series have received worldwide recognition.
Connect with the Author: website
$25 Amazon Gift Card courtesy of the author of BLOOD OF THE DRAGONFLY
(1 winner) (open to Amazon.com customers)
(ends May 7)
A Marriage of Inconvenience (Stop the Wedding! #3)
By Amy Vastine
Contemporary Romance ~ Paperback & ebook, 213 Pages
April 1, 2021 by Harlequin Heartwarming
She’s met the perfect man…
But he’s engaged!
Wedding planner Sophia Reed never imagined she’d meet her perfect man during a bank robbery. Evan Anderson is handsome and funny and makes Sophia believe in love at first sight. There’s only one small hitch—he’s engaged to someone else, and Sophia is planning his wedding! But Evan’s wedding is purely a business arrangement…and true love might just turn this almost-perfect wedding into a beautiful catastrophe!
USA TODAY Bestselling Author
Stop the Wedding!
Book 1: A Bridesmaid to Remember
Book 2: His Brother’s Bride
Book 3: A Marriage of Inconvenience
(Affiliate links included.)
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REVIEW by LAWonder10:
When Wedding Planner, Sophie Reed, stops at the bank to do business, she is traumatized by being there when the bank is robbed! A pleasant, comforting "man of her dreams" is in line behind her and saves the day! It is love at first site! The obly problem is, her "bubble is popped" when he arrives at her shop the next day, along with her client, his Fiance'.
After a few bad experiences in relationships, he agreed to help his best friend out of a family crises by agreeing to marry her. Little did he realize he'd meet the "girl of his dreams" shortly later. With his personal situation and his vow to his best friend, there was no way out of it. It was causing him many sleepless nights. There is no way this new girl would agree to waiting several years, until he could get released from his commitment, to marry him. It was all doomed, with no way out!
This is a bitter-sweet, entertaining novel of adventures and romance.
The characters are, mostly, delightful. They are well-portrayed and feel real. The scenes are easily visualized and it is a very hard book to put down. t is totally a "clean" read.
The only negative I felt is at times it was slightly dragged out but that doesn't affect my rating.
I offer a Five stars rating.
*This book was gifted me with no pressure for a positive review. This is my honest review.
OTHER BOOKS in the SERIES:
About the Author
Amy Vastine has been plotting stories in her head for as long as she can remember. An eternal optimist, she studied social work, hoping to teach others how to find their silver lining. Now, she enjoys creating happily ever afters for all to read. Amy lives outside Chicago with her high school sweetheart husband, three teenagers who keep her on her toes, and their two sweet but mischievous pups.
Website | Goodreads | BookBub | Facebook | Pinterest | Twitter
Tour Giveaway !
One winner will receive (US only):
- $25 Amazon gift card
- “I love you to the bookstore and back” book bag filled with several of my favorite Heartwarming books
- Blackwell Sisters cleaning cloth
* Three additional winners will receive an ebook of the first book in the Stop the Wedding Series, A Bridesmaid to Remember (open internationally)
Ends April 28, 2021... ENTER by COMPLETING THE RAFFLECOPTER BELOW.
SINS OF OUR MOTHERS by Nicole Souza
◊ Genre: Dystopian Novel
◊ Publisher: WiDo Publishing (August 25, 2020)
◊ Print & eBooks ◊ Paperback: 338 pages
◊ ISBN-10: 1947966391 ◊ ISBN-13: 978-1947966390
It has been fifteen hundred years since the solar flare devastation of the Global Catastrophe. Due to the radioactivity in the harvesting fields, society dismisses its defective children as nothing more than flawed products of the malfunctioned seeds in the field.
But Lyratelle, a hyper-observant musical prodigy, believes these “defects” are intelligent, particularly her own sibling, the youngest child of her impervious mother. Abandoning her dream career, Lyratelle climbs the bureaucratic ladder to run the Defect Research Center, where she can safeguard the child.
With an underground team of women who share her uncertainties, Lyratelle unearths the Old History truth that womankind’s survival actually hinges on the existence of these defects.
When General Sarah Love, the city’s most powerful advocate against the defects, detects Lyratelle’s sympathy toward the creatures, she threatens the life of Lyratelle’s sibling.
Now Lyratelle’s desperate attempt to save this child endangers everyone she loves—her team, her family, even the existence of the defects themselves.
SINS OF OUR MOTHERS is available at AMAZON * Barnes & Noble * WiDo Publishing. Also, be sure to add it to your TBR List on Goodreads.
REVIEW by LAWonder10:
Lyratelle, was a very talented, intelligent young girl. He future as a top musician was "set". After the "defect", causing her youngest sibling to be taken away, she shocked everyone by switching her college degree from a musician to a medical doctor. She became very successful... a success which would cause her to question life as she thought it to be.
Sins of Our Mothers is a "catchy" Title for an action-packed, Dystopian book.
At first it was difficult to "get into" but that didn't last long. The suspense and intrigue grew with each chapter. It soon became a book I couldn't put down until the very last page
The key characters were very endearing and others, very infuriating. The scenes and characters were easily visualized and felt real.
The novel was about a distant future where women ruled and deceived the majority of the population. Families existed of only women. Their thinking was truly distorted.
So many times in women's literature, men are depicted as evil or insignificant. The sad fact is, although some men are evil and most men can be "jerks" at times, women are nt exempt from these character flaws, either. Women can also be brutal and cruel.
Some sensitive topics are addressed in this book, but otherwise, it is very "clean".
I offer a Four and a Half Stars rating.
* This book e=was gifted me with no pressure for a positive review. This is my honest review.
10 Things I Wish I Knew About Being an Author I Didn’t Know Before
If I could go back in time and start my writing journey over, would I?
Absolutely not! It’s been way too strenuous a trek.
I’m happy with where I’m at now, having learned the hard way over nearly a decade, and still picking up tricks and new ideas every time I write. I’ve learned that what we call mistakes are really steps in the right direction. I embrace my limitations as a writer and enjoy the challenge of maximizing my abilities.
That’s not to say, however, there aren’t some things I wish I knew before embarking on this journey. Would I go back in time to give my younger self some advice? Absolutely! (I’d just get out of there as fast as possible.)
Here’s to hoping these tips will reach someone who can benefit. I present to you, the ten things I wish I knew about being an author I didn’t know before:
1. The First Draft is Just Verbal Vomit; Editing is the True Art-form
Authors are not good writers; we’re determined, dedicated editors. Much like a large chunk of stone before being masterfully carved, a first draft is rarely more than a massive glob of words, ideas, notes, and concepts that over time, and with a lot of agonizing patience and strenuous mental labor, is whittled into artwork in the form of storytelling.
Editing is akin to clay sculpting; just as your project begins to take shape, you’ll add another handful of verbal clay to thicken or reshape what’s there. There’s no counting how many times an author edits a manuscript to half its size only to add back nearly the amount removed with new content, then commence construction anew, chiseling away at excess words, cliches, and lazy writing.
Don’t worry about making your first draft sound good. If you have the perfect word chosen for a scene, throw it in. If it’s truly the perfect word, it’ll make the final cut. If not, it’ll be chipped off, like countless other words once part of the original boulder. Making the final cut does not bestow value upon words. Like clay scraps, words sacrificed for the sake of the story are not wasted. Just get your ideas written down. Allow your brain to vomit, as it were, and once it’s all there, make it beautiful.
2. Whenever Possible, Use Live Beta Readers:
Quite possibly, the most valuable thing I’ve ever done for myself as an author, is sit with a group of readers, and listen to them read my story out loud. What an awakening! I’m fortunate enough to have a group of beta readers that are able to do full, single-day readings. We did this several times, each session following a thorough edit.
Readers’ voices can be broken up by paragraph, page, or chapter. Whatever way you choose, rotate the reader frequently to hear your story read in many voices. This allows you to gauge how the story will be interpreted and processed from other perspectives. Unless writing a screenplay, don’t assign readers a character. Listen to entire passages in the same reader’s voice to assess the flow of your writing.
Request that your beta readers give live feedback, both good and bad. If something is confusing, cheesy, predictable, cliché, boring, moving, inspiring, shocking, or if they have a suggestion or question, have them voice it the moment they experience it. Don’t dwell on it unless specific feedback requires attention. A simple, “That passage wasn’t clear,” or “Grace is awesome! She’s my favorite character so far,” or “I hate that Grace said that; it’s not like her,” is plenty for the author. Be ready to take good notes! This is also great for grammar and punctuation errors.
Beta readers can be expensive, and most writers can’t afford such luxuries. So, do what I do: invite your book-loving family members and friends (who won’t sugarcoat their reactions!) to spend the day reading your book together. Good food is usually enough payment for such people. And hey, it’s not like you’re asking them to help you move, right? (Maybe mention that.) Shoot for a minimum of three, maximum of twelve readers.
3. Your Book Reads Differently in Different Formats; Test Them All
This one’s simple. Read your story on your phone, tablet, and other devices, in addition to the one used to write and edit. Print a chapter to read as a hard copy. Scrolling and page-turning are different. There’s a distinct feel to reading when you can see the shape of the paragraphs on two full pages at once as opposed to half a paragraph on a small screen.
Recording yourself reading a chapter then listening to it while doing dishes or laundry provides a fresh perspective as well. Will your writing style translate well to an audio book? You won’t know unless you’ve heard it recorded.
4. The Story Often Writes Itself; Don’t Let Go of the Reigns
Many pre-imagined scenes will be altered as your characters develop. They’ll come alive on the page and often take the story down unexpected paths. This is especially true when writing dialogue. While such occurrences are magical and elevate your writing, stay true to your ultimate message. Of course, be flexible in changing up details that don’t alter the heart of the story, just don’t let changes diminish what you’re saying.
It’s a tough balance!
This isn’t to say you won’t learn new things and expand personal opinions along your writing journey. Allow growth in both your story and yourself. However, the original idea for your story was probably sparked by a message you wish the world could hear. Is that message coming across? Or was it lost in development?
5. Your Characters Really Do Keep You Up at Night
Characters of untold stories are demanding! The story wants to be told, and, for whatever reason, you’re the only one who can tell it.
Before really dedicating myself to authorship, I assumed other writers were overly dramatic, speaking of their characters as if real people and insisting they’re kept awake in mental dialogue with them. Now, as someone who can’t shower without talking to a character or crying over their pain (yes—I know I created it, but did I? Didn’t those details write themselves?), or even listen to music without assessing how it would make a character feel, I recognize how wrongly I judged my fellow authors.
We’re all nuts. Embrace it!
You will suffer restless nights and unprecedented stress at work knowing you should be writing instead of building a career that actually generates money. It’s exhausting living between the real world and the fictional. But keep going! It is, indeed, part of the process.\
6. Be Mindful of Your Physical Health:
This may be the point I most wish I knew before diving into the wonderful world of writing. Often, after a productive writing session, I’d stand only to discover the regular feeling in my body was replaced by terrible aches in my back, shoulders, neck, and wrists. Carpal tunnel is no joke! I even got plantar fasciitis as I sat, unaware, with my feet curled in weird positions for hours at a time.
“Quick bathroom breaks” become whole experiences when limping on cramped feet.
Only in retrospect did I learn that when writing, I completely leave my body behind. I sit motionless, except for my hands, experiencing solely the fictional world, unaware of what’s happening around me physically. It’s incredibly unhealthy, especially several days at a time.
I was shocked to step on the scale one day and discover I’d gained fifteen pounds in two weeks because every spare second was spent writing without any consideration for my overall wellbeing. A deep writing session could last eighteen hours overnight with zero sleep, no stretching, and no walking breaks. The worst part was I was continuously stuffing my face with quick, easy junk food to disallow hunger to distract me.
Now, having suffered those consequences, I set alarms reminding me to take a walk, stretch, and check in with my body. I strive to plan healthy meals and eat before writing. When I do get hungry, I take a break to focus on my food and get some fresh air. It’s infinitely better to write with a clear mind. Seven hours of healthy writing are ultimately more productive than fifteen hours of focused writing but physical misery.
Plan ahead. What position will your body be in while you write? How’s your posture? Are your feet getting good blood flow? Are you tensing your wrists while you type? Is your neck strained? Try out many arrangements and don’t settle until you know it won’t cause issues for your body. A standing or treadmill desk may be your thing. Perhaps an exercise ball encouraging movement in your hips. Maybe you need to set a timer to change positions every half hour. Or maybe frequent breaks will be enough. Just be good to your precious body!
7. Write Down Every Good Idea—Even in the Middle of the Night
My memory is unreliable. I’ve lost grand ideas for my stories due to sleepiness, laziness, or basic unwillingness to stop what I’m doing and write them down. I’m not naturally organized so planners, physical and digital, do me no good. In order to preserve my rare and precious moments of genius, I’ve had to learn (painstakingly) to work with my personality and all its flaws. Hopefully my method proves useful to other poor souls who self-identify as creative sloths.
When random inspiration strikes, I text myself. That simple! Reading my solo text thread to recall a 3:00 a.m. epiphany is like opening a little gift from my past self. I’m always grateful to that lazy lass for taking the time to type it out; I know how hard it was for her.
I also use an audio recording app to save a quick idea when on the road or in a position where it’s hard to text.
Find a system that’s easy for you. As long as you get your great ideas recorded where you’ll know to find them later, the method matters not.
8. Get Feedback (aka Data) from Professionals and Straightforward Active Consumers:
Your doting aunt’s praise is important for you as a person because everyone needs encouragement and to know who’s in their corner. However, it’s useless for your writing. Get feedback from agents and editors as you pitch your work.
Also helpful are your seemingly anti-social, entertainment-obsessed (more often than not manga-loving) acquaintances. See how social they become when invited to scrutinize a story unfiltered. If your story sucks, your writing is lazy, or a character needs work, they’ll tell you. An active consumer’s perspective is invaluable to authors.
Remember, your story has an audience. It’s not for everyone. Consumers have preferred medias and genres within those medias. The more readers, the better. Within reason, of course. It still needs to be your story. As long as you keep it your own, feedback is helpful.
Don’t take negative feedback as an attack to your talent or intelligence. It’s just data: process, assess, and apply what’s relevant. You’ll improve by non-emotionally allowing people to tear your writing to shreds. Using criticism constructively is a talent of its own.
9. For Character Development, Create Your Own SPEMPARFS:
For me, character development is the most fun, yet daunting, aspect of storytelling. To assist my chaotic brain, I developed a system I call SPEMPARFS, an acronym for:
This is in order of importance as I like to get to know my characters in a certain way. That doesn’t mean I don’t sometimes know a character’s physical traits or financial status first, it just means when fleshing out a character, this works best for me.
I encourage all writers to create their own program for developing characters and am happy to share SPEMPARFS as a starting point for anyone struggling to get theirs going.
I begin with a character’s spirituality because it will tell me more about them than anything else. What are their beliefs? Were they raised in those beliefs or did they come by them later in life? Is their spiritual journey part of the story I’m telling, or did they have unwavering beliefs before the story begins? Do their beliefs affect the story? Are they relevant for the reader? Or are those details out of place in this story? Either way, the author needs to know them in order to write the character.
Physical appearance is important early on because I want to picture the character as I write, and make sure the reader is able to do so as well. A character’s physical state also tells me what their body is capable of. If a character is overweight whether from genetics, a sedentary lifestyle, or overeating, I need to remember that when they’re required to ascend twenty flights of stairs. If a character is obsessed with health and fitness, I want to show that with scenes involving more physical activity.
The emotional makeup of a character will determine their reactions and speech patterns, which will assist with dialogue and decision making.
And the list goes on.
10. Utilize the Miracle of Music
I must preface by saying I never, ever listen to music while I’m writing. What an unbearable distraction! It’s impossible for me to write with sound, strong smells, bright lights, anything that pulls me out of my characters’ world. Music does, however, heavily impact my stories. When away from the screen, I do a lot of music-inspired plotting and mental adjusting to my stories.
Though I don’t like the term “writer’s block” I relate to being stuck not knowing exactly how to structure a scene or guide it to its main point. What helps most is listening to music that has the feel I want for that scene. Often, I’ll take my dogs to the park and, with headphones on full volume, find the right song on my playlist then listen on repeat. Immersing myself in the feeling of the scene allows me to picture it, facilitating construction.
If this exercise works well for you, take it to the next level. What song would work for a trailer for your story? While listening to that song, what scenes would be highlighted in the trailer? Do those scenes as currently written in your manuscript portray the importance they bear to your story? Or do they need work?
There’s really no end to the impact music can have on your craft. The right words for a character’s expression in a crucial moment may come to you via Mozart’s brilliance.
While writers experience similar challenges and joys, every writer’s journey is unique. Be mindful of yourself, your mental and physical health, and overall wellbeing, including your real-world relationships. It’s a marathon. Pace yourself. Be good to yourself. More than anything, enjoy this fantastic ride!
Meet the Author
As the third of eight siblings, Nicole has always been surrounded by people. Among her immediate family are spoken seven languages. Her favorite thing is hearing her nieces and nephews speak French, Tongan, or Mandarin. It’s no surprise she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Languages, as language is one of her greatest passions, topped only by music and Beat Saber.
Nicole minored in Women Studies and continues to take a particular interest in both women’s history and their individual stories. She’s grateful for her ancestors and other women who paved the way for her to pursue her dream of publishing stories and strives to create new avenues for the coming generations to pursue their dreams.
Though she’s lived-in various states in the U.S. and Brazil, Nicole considers Utah “home base” and continuously finds herself returning, even when previous moves were intended to be permanent. She attributes her love of Utah to the beauty of the Wasatch Mountains and the incredible people who make it feel like home, even when she’s been away for long periods of time. Recently, however, after visiting her sister’s family overseas, she’s been dreaming of a quiet beach house in Taiwan.
Connect with Nicole on her Website ~ Facebook ~ Instagram ~
One Winner will receive a
$25. Gift Card from Amazon!
Birth of a Unicorn: Six Basic Steps To Success by Heather Wilde
Publisher: Sunbury Press, Inc (November 11, 2020)
Category: Business: Women & Business, Entrepreneurship, Personal Finance, Self-Help/Motivational, Non-Fiction
Tour dates: April-May, 2021
Available in Print 158 pages and ebook 184 pages
Birth of a Unicorn: Six Basic Steps to Success is the story of what it takes to found a billion-dollar company — also known as a unicorn. It’s told from the perspective of a founding employee, and shows the years and years of emotional strain, stress and dedication that building a successful company takes — and a framework to follow if you’d like to try it yourself.
In this book, you’ll find the true story behind one of Silicon Valley’s famous companies on its rise to the top. Peek behind the curtain as you see the highs and lows from an insider perspective, on the roller coaster that is the start-up life. What emerges is a lasting friendship, a billion-dollar company, and an understandable framework of success for you to replicate.Buy Birth of a Unicorn by Heather Wilde: Amazon ~ Barnes&Noble ~ IndieBound ~
How to Write Nonfiction Like A Pro
The world is full of nonfiction books. Walk into any bookstore in the country, and you'll find shelves upon shelves of them: "How to" books on every conceivable topic. But how do you write a non-fiction book?
In this post, we will talk about what it takes to write a non-fiction book that sells well, the process that authors go through before they start writing their first draft, and how to revise your work before publishing it.
1. Research: Writing a non-fiction book is a huge task that requires lots of preparation and hard work. It can take years to collect enough information and write all the necessary chapters for your book.
This will help you find the right facts and statistics for your manuscript. It will also give you time to reflect on what you want to write about because some topics might be controversial, and you might not feel comfortable writing about them.
2. Outlining: Once you know what you are writing about, it is time to develop the outline. An outline will let you know what topics are covered in your book and in which order they need to be presented. You will use it as a guide so that you don't forget any important points while writing the manuscript.
3. Audience: It is always important to understand your audience before you write a non-fiction book. This will help you make sure that your book meets the expectations of your readers. If your audience would like to read an academic style book, write it that way as well.
Do you need to answer a question that is in everyone's mind? Is your book addressing an issue that needs to be discussed? Or are you writing a memoir? Although these are all totally different types of books, as an author you can use the same process of following these steps to write them all.
4. Vocabulary: Most people don't think about the quality of their words when they are trying to write a non-fiction book. This is a big mistake, because it can make or break your work. Many times, people will write a manuscript and hand it over to an editor only to find out that their manuscript has grammatical errors that don't make sense.
You need to be meticulous when you are writing. Take the time to choose the words that will best represent your work.
5. Writing: Now that you have your outline and reviewed it several times, it is time to write the manuscript of your book. The manuscript of your book is the first draft that is created by you and reviewed by your editor.
6. Introductions: The introduction is very important because this is where you hook your reader; get him excited about the topic of your book. But don't get carried away. Keep your introduction short and let it introduce the concepts that will be developed in the body of your book.
If you have a strong opinion about something that is discussed in your book, you can also write a separate conclusion for it. This is important for every book because it allows the reader to see where you stand when you finish your book.
7. Editing: The next step is to have your manuscript edited. This stage of the writing process will require some advice from an editor who knows how to provide constructive criticism. An editor will read through the manuscript, identify inconsistencies, and find grammatical errors. It is crucial that you take every comment into consideration and make the necessary changes to avoid making mistakes in the published version of your book.
8. Querying: Book publishing is no different than any other type of business. You need to know how to find a good publisher (or publisher's rep) who will help you market your book once it's finished. The market for non-fiction books is very large, so you can choose from many options when finding the right publisher for your manuscript.
9. Publishing: The final step in writing your non-fiction book is to publish it. This means you will have to send your manuscript to the publisher and wait for them to review it. After they review your work, they will make the necessary changes and send the final version back to you (at least once). You must then copyedit your book one last time before the publisher prints copies and starts promoting it through various platforms such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc.
Writing a non-fiction book requires a lot of work, but if you are passionate about the topic you are writing about, it will be worth it. Remember, the greatest benefit any non-fiction author can receive is to help others by sharing your knowledge and experience.
About Heather Wilde:
Heather Wilde was the eighth employee of Evernote, where she oversaw the company’s growth from thousands to 100 million customers. She has published popular games, trained Fortune 500 brands, advised hundreds of start-ups, and managed some major non-profit programs. At her non-profit, Serenze Global, and as a fractional CTO through her company ROCeteer, her award-winning work keeps the Unicorn Whisperer constantly traveling across the globe to find the next unicorn.
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Giveaway Birth of a Unicorn by Heather Wilde
This giveaway is open worldwide for print or eBook (Ends on May 22, 2021,midnight pacific time.) Entries are accepted via Rafflecopter only.
NOTE: According to the National Cancer Institute, "In 2020, an estimated 1,806,590 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in the United States and 606,520 people will die from the disease." It is impossible to meet someone who has not been touched by this disease in some manner, whether it be physically or emotionally.
There are many types of cancer--so many that each month of the year is dedicated to promoting awareness of a different type. Just as cancer comes in various forms, it touches different people in various ways.
When a writer is touched by this disease, the natural reaction is to take pen to paper--or rather fingers to keyboard.
The results will surprise you! The stories are as diverse as the disease.
During the month of April, iRead Book Tours and others are featuring some tremendous titles written by or inspired by cancer survivors!
"This no-nonsense debut memoir recalls Corrigan's two-time battle with cancer and takes a pragmatic approach toward guiding other patients. Candid, sagacious writing on illness and adaptation." --Kirkus Reviews
Again: Surviving Cancer Twice with Love and Lists
Author: Christine Shields Corrigan
Category: Adult Non-Fiction (18+), 256 pages
Genre: Memoir ~ Tour dates: May 10 to May 28, 2021
Publisher: Koehler Books ~ Release date: Oct 2020
Content Rating: PG-13. My book has some profanity and one non-explicit sex scene with my husband.
A breast cancer diagnosis at forty-nine forces Christine Shields Corrigan, a wife, mom, and meticulous list-maker, to confront her deepest fears of illness, death, and loss of control as she struggles to face cancer again. From the discovery of a “junky” cyst, to chemotherapy and surgery, sleepless nights filled with rosaries and “what ifs,” and shifting family dynamics, her adult experience mirrors her teen bout with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, with one exception—she no longer has parents keeping her in the dark.
With the ghosts of cancer past hovering around her, Chris falls into the same overprotective traps her taciturn Irish-Catholic parents created, striving to keep her family’s life “normal,” when it is anything but, and soldiering through on her own, until a neighbor’s unexpected advice and gift move her to accept others’ help. With fierce honesty, poignant reflection, and good humor, Chris shares a journey filled with sorrow, grace, forgiveness, and resilience, as she winds her way through cancer for the second time. Again offers practical guidance and hope to individuals that they have the strength to forge a path beyond a diagnosis.
Buy the Book: Amazon ~ B&N ~ BAM ~ Book Depository ~ IndieBound ~ Add to Goodreads
FLYING AGAINST THE ODDS: One Man's Journey to New Ways of Healing by Jean-Jacques Trochon with Heather Whitehall-Trochon
Category: Adult Non-Fiction (18+), 249 pages
Genre: Memoir ~ Tour dates: May 17 to June 4, 2021
Publisher: Ikhaya Publishing ~ Release date: November 2020
Content Rating: G. Memoir for General Audience.
“IT TAKES A DIFFERENT KIND OF THINKING TO SOLVE A PROBLEM THAN THE KIND OF THINKING THAT PRODUCED THE PROBLEM.” —Albert Einstein
Jean-Jacque (JJ) had a devastating problem.
At age fifty-one, he was diagnosed with stage four cancer and given three years to live. Rather than accept that outcome, JJ did what he always does: he set out to find a solution.
Desiring to look beyond traditional treatments and their often harmful side effects, he put his unconventionally wired mind to work. JJ was relentless as he investigated alternative therapies and pursued global trailblazers in cancer research. Moving from the role of patient to patient-researcher, he became a trailblazer in his own right, being sought after for his latest findings.
Ultimately, JJ brought together the most innovative in ternational minds at the Rethinking Cancer 2017 conference in Paris. Together, they found common ground, and they continue to create integrative, synergistic approaches to treatment.
Today, almost a decade after his diagnosis, JJ has defied the odds and is cancer-free. Recently retired from his career as a commercial airline captain on the Airbus A380, he now devotes himself to sharing his ongoing research with scientists and patients. JJ’s story illustrates how looking at things differently often enables us to see them in a whole new light.
Buy the Book: Amazon ~ Book Depository ~ add to Goodreads
"Readers of all ages who look for ethereal, haunting stories of recovery and courage will find Caroline & Mordecai the Gand may hold the trappings of a fantasy adventure; but inside there is so much more. Make the right decision, to read this!" - D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review
Caroline & Mordecai the Gand by Jeff Gunhus
Category: Middle-Grade Fiction (Ages 8-12), 186 pages
Genre: Fantasy, Literary ~ Tour dates: Mar 31 to May 11, 2021
Publisher: Seven Guns Press ~ Release date: March 31, 2021
Content Rating: PG: The language is G. There is one scene with the main character punches a bully resulting in a bloody nose. The emotional treatment of grief and the death of a loved one can be somewhat intense.
"Caroline’s story is profoundly sad, and yet hopeful, magical, and yet rooted in reality. There is magic, mystery, and daring adventure." - BooksCoffee
This novella was written by USA Today bestselling author Jeff Gunhus after he received a devastating diagnosis of state 3 cancer. The story is a message to his five children on how to deal with grief and a plea for them to grasp onto joy and love even in the darkest of times.
Caroline loses her spark. It takes a great adventure for her to find it again.
Caroline loses her father in a car accident for which she feels responsible. Consumed by grief, she has a difficult time readjusting to a world that has changed so dramatically for her. On the anniversary of her father’s death, a strange window opens in the middle of the small lake behind her house. She climbs up an old oak to peer inside, but falls out of the tree and discovers that the window also serves as a door into a different world.
Enter Mordecai the Gand, a mysterious traveler who befriends Caroline and promises to help her find a way back home since the window she fell through has disappeared. The two set out on a series of adventures that include visiting a tree village populated by a tribe known for eating travelers, running into a witch under a spell of her own making, hiding in a cave with a dragon encased in a wall of ice (prone to melting by campfire), all the while being pursued by a mysterious entity call the Creach which promises to devour Caroline and trap her in an eternity of despair.
As they navigate these adventures and this new world, Caroline slowly discovers that she is meant to help each of the characters she meets. As she battles internally whether to stay or return home to the sadness and grief waiting for her there, she must regain perspective and open her heart to the act of caring and to the joy of love itself. In the end, she must demonstrate great courage, loyalty, and caring as the plot unfolds, becoming the active hero of her own story.
Buy the Book: Amazon ~ Audible ~ Add the Goodreads
Marvellous Macey, The Delightful Days by Caitlin Bangsund
Category: Children's Fiction (Ages 3-8), 40 pages
Genre: Children's Picture Book ~
Publisher: Caitlin E. Bangsund ~ Release date: March 2021
Tour dates: Mar 1 to mar 28, 2021
Content Rating: G. This children's book is for everyone.
Can you va va voom? Do you light up the room? Marvellous Macey does! She may not quite fit the mould, but she is living delightful days. Embrace Macey's world of imagination and ability to love and accept everyone. Life may not be perfect and some things might be hard, but Macey shows us how to live in the moment and find the delight! Be inspired by Macey to make everyday the BEST day.
Caitlin Bangsund is the author of Marvellous Macey, The Delightful Days. It is the first in a series based on true life. Caitlin knows the trial and trauma of childhood cancer, childhood disability, and the fear of almost losing her daughter — the star of the series — Macey. She encourages readers to look for the treasures that hide in the rubble and gloom. Life is beautiful chaos and her message is to press on and conquer. Read her stories and help create a world that is full of kindness and acceptance.
BUY THE BOOK: Author's Website ~ Amazon~ add to Goodreads
MC Plays Hide and Seek: An Empowering Story for Healthy Children Who Care About a Person Living with Cancer by Eva Grayzel
Category: Children's Fiction (Ages 3-7), 64 pages
Genre: Children's Picture Book ~ Tour dates: Jan 5 to Feb 1, 2021
Publisher: Mascot Books ~ Release date: Jan 5, 2021
Content Rating: G for everyone.
When asked about her motivation for writing her children's picture book about cancer, author Eva Grayzel explains:
My children were 5 and 7 when I was diagnosed with stage IV oral cancer. It’s a disease that cannot be hidden under clothing. My caregivers were so consumed with me, we didn’t addressthe feelings of our children. I regret not seeking professional attention for them during that time, but we didn’t think of it. If my healthcare providers had recommended it, we would have followed through.
Since my voice was compromised during treatment, finding a book about understanding cancer would have been an easy solution. However, I could not find one to help start the conversation with our children.
Months after my recovery, my daughter still wouldn’t kiss me. She was intuitive, afraid of losing me and didn’t want to commit to another day of loving me. My son was shopping with his grandma for a birthday card and he found a Get Well card. “Let’s buy this for Mom.” Grandma had to tell him that I wasn’t sick anymore.
When I reached my 10 year cancer-free anniversary, I had to mark it. There was no better way than filling the void for a children’s book to minimize fear and promote dialogue about cancer. ‘M.C. Plays Hide & Seek’ emphasizes feelings children experience and ways to address their emotions in a healthy, comfortable way. It’s everything I wished I had for my children. And, I hope it will be everything you need for yours.
Buy the Book: Amazon.com ~ Eva Grayzel ~ B&N
Three Makes a Family (City by the Bay Stories #7) By Cari Lynn Webb
Contemporary Romance ~ Paperback & ebook, 223 Pages
April 1, 2021 by Harlequin Heartwarming
Can love for a child… Make them a family?
Lawyer Molly McKinney needs to be the best—now more than ever. Relocating to San Francisco means a chance to provide a stable income and home for her nine-month-old daughter. And defending former rival Drew Harrington against charges of witness tampering will boost her reputation. As they work to clear Drew’s name, their feelings grow. But does Molly have room in her life for love?
USA TODAY Bestselling Author
(Affiliate links included.)
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REVIEW By LAWonder10:
Cari Lynn Webb has, once again, created a fun, captivating Contemporary Romance winner!
Molly went against her own instincts and fell into an "in office" romance with a colleague. When a unexpected pregnancy occurred, she was devastated to discover what she thought the relationship meant and what her boyfriend viewed it to be was very different. She did not want marriage or to be a dad.
Molly accepted a challenge from an old college friend's parents to represent him in a charge which would disbar him if he is proved guilty. This gave her a reason to move and re-establish herself. She didn't need a man in her life to be a success in her career or as a good mother. He little daughter means everything to her.
Drew went over everything he could to discover who was framer him and how can he prove it without proof. He was bombarded when he discovered his parent went behind his back and hired his old college mate. He would just have to un-hire her. She was his friend and was in a bind. The least he could do was arrange to aid her in finding a decent apartment. A close friend of his had a vacancy. Little did he realize how this one gesture would endear her to his whole family!
This is a very cute story including an adorable baby girl who will sure endear the reader to her, as well as those in the story community. In fact, most of the character's are a strongly endearing family unit. It is easy for the reader to feel he/she is living as part of this compelling story.
In addition to realistic characters and events, the baby girl on the Cover Image is a perfect depiction! The Title is very well chosen, also. The only thing I found disconcerting is the tumultuous relationship was slightly dragged out. I prefer a faster paced story.
I offer a Four and a Half Stars rating.
*This book was gifted me with no pressure to post a positive review. This is my honest review.
OTHER BOOKS in the Series:
City by the Bay Stories:
Book 1: The Charm Offensive
Book 2: The Doctor’s Recovery
Book 3: Ava’s Prize
Book 4: Single Dad to the Rescue
Book 5: In Love by Christmas
Book 6: Her Surprise Engagement
Book 7: Three Makes a Family
About the Author
Cari Lynn Webb lives in South Carolina with her husband, daughters and assorted four-legged family members. She's been blessed to see the power of true love in her grandparent's 70 year marriage and her parent's marriage of over 50 years. She knows love isn't always sweet and perfect, it can be challenging, complicated and risky. But she believes happily-ever-afters are worth fighting for. She loves to connect with readers. Visit her at her website.
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FOR TOUR SCHEDULE, Click on HERE.
$50 Amazon gift card, complete set of the 5 Blackwell Sisters books and spring assortment of candy (US only) Ends April 14, 2021
In Your Eyes (Seasons of Love #2) By Jayne Townsley
Contemporary Romance ~ Paperback & ebook, 127 Pages
January 5, 2021
Crystal Davis got her wish for the Crew’s long-awaited post-graduation trip. Sun and fun before focusing on her new career as a pediatric RN at St. Francis’ Children’s Hospital in Tulsa, Oklahoma, was just what she needed. Bonus? She met Troy Bennett, and she realized she wanted less frivolity in her life and a little more serious.
Troy Bennett is a man fighting the demons who tell him he is worthless every day of his life. Demons his mother conjured. He quiets them with alcohol and casual relationships, never allowing any woman to get close enough to him so he will never have to disappoint one. Then on the spur of the moment trip to Panama City Beach with his Ranger buddies, he sees the future he’s always been afraid to pursue exit a Jeep Wrangler at a local donut shop.
Just as Troy and Crystal are finding their footing, she gets the call she never thought she would earn: Crystal Davis is going to Hollywood to be a contestant on America’s Next Chart Topper. What started as a way to honor her murdered friend has now become her dream. Chasing her dream means leaving Troy behind for a bit, and she wonders if her absence will cause what they’ve built so far to come crashing down.
Chasing her dream also means she’s put herself in a place where she’s vulnerable to the side of Hollywood that no one wants to acknowledge. A place where people only care about her and Troy’s story for the audience while behind the scenes, evil, selfish people work to tear them apart.
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— Grab the ebook on SALE for $0.99! --
Crystal and Troy’s FIVE FAVORITE places:
1. Claremore Lake in Claremore, Oklahoma, is important to the CRASH Crew and becomes important to the men in their lives. https://www.claremorecity.com/217/Claremore-Lake-Park
2. Thomas’ in Panama City Beach, Florida, is where Crystal and Troy first saw one another. http://thomasdonutandsnackshop.com/
3. Tulsa’s Linde Oktoberfest: https://tulsaoktoberfest.org/
4. Troy’s home in the historic Owen Park neighborhood in Tulsa, OK. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Owen_Park,_Tulsa
5. 320 on Main in Claremore, Oklahoma is where they finally dropped the “L” word. https://www.320onmain.com
OTHER BOOKS in the SERIES:
ABOUT the AUTHOR:
Jayne Townsley lives with her multi-generational family in Northeast Oklahoma's aptly named Green Country. A transplanted Okie from the Chicago suburbs, she has grown to love this state and its people with a passion, happily calling it home for the past 15 years.
Jayne shares her home with a rescued Shollie named Maui and two cats called Gamora and Nebula.
Jayne enjoys old-fashioned road trips and is in the process of planning one to tour Oklahoma's Route 66.
She is also something of a Disney World addict.
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underneath the covers
One winner will receive their choice of $15 in products from the Solid Rock Soap Company and a signed paperback copy of In Your Eyes (US only)
Ends April 14, 2021
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.