Are you a Part-Time Writer Looking for Inspiration for 2014? You’ve Come to the ‘Write’ Place!

I’m starting of the year with a guest post from Nikolas Baron, from Grammarly.com. Have you heard of them? It’s a great site for writer’s who need help proofreading their work. From blog posts to essays, they’ve got the tools you need! But first, get inspired to start 2014 off the ‘write’ way!

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The Part-Time Writer

part_time_writerBeing a writer is, for many, a lifelong dream. Writing for payment is a thrilling accomplishment, but it’s usually soon followed by the realization that most writers do not make a living from writing alone. In fact, many writers pursue a separate, unrelated career while writing part-time, whether as a hobby or as a secondary source of income. For the part-time writer facing deadlines, a quality online spelling, grammar, and plagiarism checker can be a valuable tool. Saving time is just one aspect of creating success as a writer, however. Writing takes dedication, patience, and a willingness to learn the craft.

Being a writer is an admirable goal, but it’s not a realistic one. How does one become “a writer”? There is no pill, no bottled potion to be ingested, that will magically bring about the transformation. Becoming a writer begins with picking up a pen; but, having taken that first crucial step, the aspiring writer will discover that the journey has just begun. First, the writer must decide what type of writing he or she wants to do. Fiction or nonfiction? Short stories?

Articles? Novels? Each type of writing requires a unique skill set, and there is a distinct path to follow to the individual definition of success for every writer. It’s important to study the craft and read within and outside the genre to become a well-rounded reader and a better writer. Wanting to be a writer isn’t enough. It’s important to decide upon a genre and a style that best suits the writer’s individual dream. Becoming a writer is a dream. Transforming an abstract desire into a concrete success takes deeper thought.

Once the budding writer has decided upon writing mystery novels, for example, the next step is to set some goals. Novices may want to keep the goals reasonable, setting themselves to the task of writing for a set amount of time per day or obtaining a certain word count, depending on the time that can be found in between other obligations. Some professionals suggest that writing every day is critical to success, while others claim that a certain amount of time must be invested. The truth is somewhere in the middle. Time and discipline are important, but the definition of success is an individual one that only the writers themselves can create. Goals create personal milestones, giving the writer a measuring stick against which to check progress. Setting the goals is entirely up to the writers themselves.

Time can be a precious commodity in our fast-paced world. Between work, family obligations, hobbies, volunteer work, and other commitments, the idea of finding time to write might seem out of reach. However, it can be done. It may be necessary to write out a simple schedule, noting work, family obligations, and other time constraints, and then consider the blocks of time that are not already committed to other pursuits. Television viewing might have to be sacrificed. Getting up a little earlier in the morning, for a morning person, or staying up a little later in the evening, for a night owl, might be an option as well. Moreover, a shorter lunch break might provide some time to indulge the muse.

Time, however, is not always the only consideration. Many writers need to “warm up” to the page, to shift gears from their day jobs into the mental work of writing. It is necessary not only to find time to scribble a few words on a page but also to find long enough blocks of uninterrupted time suitable for writing. Indeed, protecting the quality of one’s writing time is as important as finding time to write in the first place. If writing is not a priority and if the commitment is not as firm as the Saturday-morning golf game or the monthly martini lunch with the girls, it will never get off the ground.Marjorie Facklam, author of numerous children’s books, began writing while raising her five children, with several still in diapers. If a harried mother of five can find time to research and write rhyming science picture books like Bugs for Lunch while chasing toddlers and maintaining a household, any writer can find time in their schedule. Often, the question isn’t one of time, but of commitment.

Connect with  Nikolas Baron on Google+      Plagiarism Checker

nick-Grammerly Guest posterAbout the Author:

Nikolas discovered his love for the written word in Elementary School, where he started spending his afternoons sprawled across the living room floor devouring one Marc Brown childrens’ novel after the other and writing short stories about daring pirate adventures. After acquiring some experience in various marketing, business development, and hiring roles at internet startups in a few different countries, he decided to re-unite his professional life with his childhood passions by joining Grammarly’s marketing team in San Francisco. He has the pleasure of being tasked with talking to writers, bloggers, teachers, and others about how they use Grammarly’s online proofreading application to improve their writing. His free time is spent biking, travelling, and reading.

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Thank you for stopping by! I love to make new friends. Got questions or comments? Leave a comment, or connect with me online!  If you’ve enjoyed this post, sign up for the monthly newsletter and follow this blog!

MJ

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SORMAG Online Conference 2013- Readers and Writers, will you be there?

On the panel add

Have you heard about the SORMAG Online Conference ?

If not, you have to check it out!

SORMAG (Shades of Romance Magazine) is hosting its annual conference which gives authors the opportunity to learn from one another. Readers, here’s a chance to talk to some of your favorite authors! The event last November 1-3rd!!!

Workshops will be held online as well as by phone.  Each day will have a theme:

November 1st: New Writers

November 2nd: Readers

November 3rd: Published Authors

I’m excited to say that I am not only attending, I’m also on several panels! You will find me on the Social Media and Readers panel on November 2nd, and the Marketing panel on November 3rd. Both are live phone panels, so stop by and say hi!

Follow this link to learn more about the conference topics and what authors will be participating!

Register

Have you ever attended a conference without leaving your home?
Register for SORMAG’s Online Conference for readers and writers. Learn from published authors, network with fellow writers. Pitch your manuscript. Mix and mingle with avid readers. Win a few door prizes and never leave the comforts of your home.

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Thank you for stopping by! I love to make new friends. Got questions or comments? Leave a comment, or connect with me online!  If you’ve enjoyed this post, sign up for the monthly newsletter by following this blog!

MJ

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Page Turner Book Tours Celebrates it’s First Year of Service!

page turner cover

PTBT opened their doors a year ago and has grown from strength to strength working with some amazing authors along the way. This year the official .com site was opened, a dedicated team of graphics designers joined the team and PTBT became the official host for all tours under 5 Prince Publishing.

The story doesn’t stop there…

There are already plans for further improvements and many more tours to be held in the future along with further charity work.

We hope that you will check them out at this link: http://pageturnerbooktours.com

During July PTBT are offering the following discounts:

1 week tour – 1 additional day

2 week tour – $63.75 – 2 additional days

3 week tour – $85 – 3 additional days

4 week tour – $170 – 4 additional days

These discounts are good for a year AS LONG AS the tour is booked and paid for in July 2013.

Working for Page Turner Book Tours has been amazing. I have met some amazing people, worked with some fantastic books and been privileged to be part of some amazing journeys. I know there will be great things to come for PTBT and I am excited to meet every request, author and to discover the wonderful books that I work with. Thank you to everyone on the past year who has worked with PTBT you are all amazing and I am so have been part of your journey. Here’s to the next fantastic year!” ~ Kate, Owner/Tour Coordinator PTBT

 I have been blessed to have had a long professional relationship with Kate and Page Turner Book Tours. Her organization of the tours and cover launches has always exceeded our expectations. She is thorough and knows what she’s doing. I believed enough in the company that Page Turner Book Tours is the official coordinator for 5 Prince Publishing. Kate sets up tours for our cover/book launches, for each of our authors, as well as book tours. Her prices are very fair and that helps individuals and small businesses. I give Kate and Page Turner Book Tours 5 STARS, for their consistently good service, well managed tours, and comfort level when working with them. If you are looking to promote yourself or your book I highly recommend Page Turner Book Tours.” – Bernadette Soehner, CEO, 5 Prince Publishing, Lost And Found Tour Details

 I enjoyed working with Page Turner Book Tours in 2012 for my second Lash Series Book, Shadow Man. Kate was able to arrange far more stops than I’d initially hoped for, and also garnered my book several five star reviews! The spreadsheet she gave me to work from had all the relevant contact information to write tailored engaging posts for each site, and she fulfilled every part of the agreement to create and deliver signature prizes for the tour. She tried her very best to make my tour the best it could be. The best recommendation is that I will be using her services again this summer to promote another coauthored work!

 Service: At least half of service is value for the money spent. Kate gives great packages and I feel I got a very good value for the money I spent with her. She was knowledgeable and answered my questions in a timely fashion. I especially appreciated the reviews as part of the package, of which almost all were favorable.

 Communication: the other half of service for this type of promotion is communication, and Kate was very good in that aspect as well. For my tour, I had a total of 5 interviews to complete, along with 12 guest posts. She got me info for topics and interview questions as soon as she had them, which helped me stay ahead and on time with my side of the tour.

 Overall tour running: 5 starsTara Fox Hall, Author, Lash Tour Details

I have had the pleasure of working with Page Turner Book Tours for just a few short months. When I first contacted Kate and told her what I was looking for, she helped walk me through everything that they could do, what it would entail on my part as well as what was to be expected from her and Page Turner Book Tours.

Every time I have any questions Kate is sure to replay quickly. I have not encountered many problems while working with Page Turner Book Tours other than a few Bloggers did not follow through on their end. Which, I by no means, hold against Page Turner Book Tours.

Kate does a wonderful job communicating what is needed by all her bloggers, if you are interested then you just let her know and she does the rest. All you have to do as a blogger is set it up to go on your scheduled date.

Overall I think Kate and Page Turner Book Tours do a wonderful job with their Press Releases, Interviews, Book reviews and scheduling who needs to be where and what time.  I would give Page Turner Book Tours 5 out of 5 stars!” ~ Marie, 5 Prince Publishing

 Page Turner Book Tours is a great resource for authors and I have personally found Kate and her tour company to be worth their weight in gold! I have worked with Kate on book tours for myself and I have even joined book tours for other authors as a host. Each time I have found Kate to be absolutely wonderful to work with. With many tours running consecutively Kate is adept and masterful as she customizes each tour to the specific author and his/her book.

 Kate is a marvelous coordinator and I can’t wait to work with her in the future on a book tour.  If you are looking for a company to schedule a tour, than I recommend working with Kate at Page Turner Book Tours. She will customize a tour specifically for you and work with book bloggers making your tour run as easy as possible leaving you with a sense of satisfaction and a great tour experience!

 Page Turner Book tours is definitely a five star company!” M.M. Shelley, Murder On Mars Tour Details

 Click here for more information! 

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Thank you for stopping by! I love to make new friends. Got questions or comments? Leave a comment, or connect with me online!

MJ

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Book Reviews: The Good, the Bad, and the WTH???

Attractive Woman with Her Books

Book reviews. Every author wants them. Every author fears them. They can be the shining star used to promote your work, or the one thing holding readers back from deciding to one-click and add to their growing collection. Over the last week, both of my books have received reviews: a 3, a 4 and a 5 Star review, and each has seen the dreaded 1 and 2 Star reviews. Each reviewer has had something different to say and it made me think…

What good can a review do for the author? How can you read through the lines? And when do you ignore them?

The first rule to any book review is: everyone is entitled to their opinion.

Easier said than done sometimes, right?

The fact of the matter is, no matter how well your book is written, no matter how clean you edits are, or how many people sing your books praises, somebody out there is going to hate it.

What’s that old saying, “You can’t please everybody?” No truer words have been spoken.

Above all things you must remember readers have different taste, like different types of storytelling, or crave a certain type of drama, fantasy, or escape from reality. If your book doesn’t hit the mark for them, chances are they will not like it. A good example of this is the romance genre. There are many ‘heat’ levels out there. Everything from Hard core BDSM, to the tame ‘bedroom door shuts in your face’, and where I fall, somewhere in between…not erotica, but definitely erotic. (I recently had a reader tell me my scenes made her blush, lol, and they are in no way close to what makes me blush!)

The flip side to this is if your book is intentionally written to draw on a readers emotions – depending on their personality type – they may dislike your characters because they cannot or do not sympathize with your characters decisions. They get so upset they are personally offended or pissed off and no longer read the full story.  They base their opinions on the characters actions and what they feel should have happened, thus the bad review.

As an author, what can you take from this?

For starters, learn to read between the lines. Once the emotional sting is gone and the tears have dried, or you stop using the ‘f’ word, whichever comes first, try to decipher what the reader is trying to say. Did they dislike the character, the plot, or the writing? Was the character unrealistic or did the decisions they make just piss them off? As the author, only you know what motivates your characters and what emotions you want to draw from the reader. So the questions you must ask yourself are:

  • Did I do too much or too little?
  • Was enough back ground information given?
  • Was the scene or reason behind the decisions made explained clearly?
  • Were questions/goals asked, defined, and reached?
  • Were there enough unanswered questions to keep the reader interested without boring them?
  • How well thought out was the plot?
  • Are there gaps in the story that leave the plot line open?
  • Was a resolution found and satisfying?
  • What about the pacing? Too fast, too slow, or just plain boring? (you’ll know the answer to this if a majority of your reviews say the same thing)
  • What can I take from this review to make my next project better?

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Some characters are meant to piss people off, but you want your main characters to pull the reader in, keep their attention and have them rooting for them to reach their goal. One of the most important things to remember, no matter what genre you write, pleasing the masses (lovers of your genre) is the key, not the people who don’t or won’t agree.  In other words, if you write Sci-Fi Erotica, don’t expect a Historical Romance lover to go crazy about your book. That’s not to say readers won’t cross over to different genres, but some are more comfortable with what they know.
  • If your book is getting an influx of negative reviews, pay attention to the market your promoting to. If book lovers of your genre continue to say the same thing, you may need to step back, re-evaluate your style of writing, learn more about storyline structure, and find honest beta readers or a writing group to help you find out what went wrong. Revamp, rewrite, try again!
  • Like TV shows and movies, there are various book genres that have a different style of pacing. Some readers want the satisfaction of a full ride that has them hanging on from the beginning to the end with no breaks. (Think roller coaster ride, 0-60 in 2 seconds). They want if fast, hard, and with a sudden stop. Other readers like the slow walk on the beach, long conversations, the romance, staring off at the sunset, and a satisfactory ending. And then there’s the in-between reader who likes the road trip. They want to leave the house doing the city speed limit, but when they hit the highway, they cruise with the traffic, enjoying the twists and turns and the fast pace. They like to visit the rest stop and stretch their legs before merging with the flow of traffic again. A well written story has the mixed pace of fast, slow, and cruise control to keep the ride interesting.

What does all of this mean?

As writers, we know what our comfort zone is when it comes to telling our stories. We know what our intentions are and what we want our character to see, think, and feel. We view our work as our babies and it’s often hard to put down the laptop and share it with the world. Will we ever be able to win over the masses? No, because there are too many genres which means readers what different things. If your book doesn’t deliver for them, chances are it’s not your story, but your style of writing or vice versa. Either way, don’t let a bad review get you down. See it as a learning tool. If you can find room for improvement, make it! If it’s more of a personal issue for the reviewer, ignore it and move on! In the end, YOU, the writer, know how much time, effort, and work you put in to make your ideas hit paper. Don’t let the negative stop you! As a good friend and fellow author says, ‘you have to put on your big girl panties and get over it!’ – Carmen DeSousa

5 Prince Publishing New Release- Matchamakers- Book 1 of the Matchmaker Series by Bernadette Marie!

Congratulation to Bernadette Marie and her new release! Check it out!

Book 1

Cellist Sophia Burkhalter thought ten years in Europe performing with an exclusive ensemble would have made it clear that she wasn’t a candidate for her grandmother’s matchmaking. After all, she’d walked away from the man she loved, leaving him back home in Kansas City.

David Kendal had fallen in love with Sophia, a match orchestrated by her grandmother and his aunt. However, the unexpected appearance of the daughter he never knew he had—and Sophia’s sudden, subsequent departure for Europe—thrust him into the role of single father.

Carissa Kendal has only ever wanted the best for her father. It doesn’t take long for her to realize that the very woman who broke her father’s heart might be the one to make them a real family.

Can Carissa and the women who originally played matchmaker to the duo convince them that love is worth a second try? Or will careers and past mistakes tear them apart forever before they have a chance to reconcile?

Amazon     5 Prince Publishing

Excerpt:

Sophia filed off the airplane along with the other groggy passengers. The red-eye flight to Kansas City had knotted up her stomach. What in the hell was she doing back here?

Perfect persuasion and just the right amount of guilt had gotten her on that plane. Perhaps the tightening of her stomach wasn’t the flying—it could very well be that she’d returned to the very place she’d run from ten years ago.

She’d run from a man and shattered the hearts of people she loved. The guilt stung a little deeper. She should have come home years earlier.

Sophia followed a small group of women from the plane into the ladies’ room. Exhaustion weighed down her shoulders. Within the hour, she’d be at her grandmother’s house, tucked into her childhood bed, and asleep. In the meantime, she splashed cool water on her face to keep herself alert.

She dried her face and hands and adjusted the scarf at her neck to ensure it hid the secret she kept from the world. She picked up the carry-on luggage at her feet and headed toward baggage claim.

“Sophia.”

The husky voice was soft and male and made her knees weak when she heard it. She knew that voice as well as she knew her own. The knot in her stomach returned, but this time it was like a fist in her gut.

She turned to see him standing there in his pilot’s uniform with his suitcase at his side—David Kendal, the very man she’d run from so many years ago.

He took his pilot’s hat off and revealed the dark, wavy hair that she’d once run her fingers through. It was now speckled with hints of sophisticated silver. His uniform was striking on him—just as it had always been. Even in the early morning hour, she felt her skin tingle when she looked at his broad shoulders and knew what it was like to rest her head against his chest.

“David.” His name floated from her lips in a sigh. Ten years had passed since she’d last laid eyes on him, and now he was as large as life standing before her.

“I thought that was you on the plane.” He was walking closer to her, and her trembling knees wouldn’t allow her to run the other direction.

The scent of his cologne washed over her. His dark eyes were smoky and wide as she watched him take in the sight of her.

“You look wonderful.” He stepped closer, and Sophia gripped her bag tighter and tried to swallow the ball of fear that had lodged in her throat. He gripped his hat tighter. “I’ve been following your career.”

“Really?” The muscles in her shoulders tensed. “Why?”

“Why?” He chuckled and took one more step closer, and her throat constricted. “Sophia, you’re…” He shrugged as though brushing off a thought. “You’re very talented.”

Sophia shook her head, trying desperately to remove all thoughts of him from before—of what she’d lost. She sighed. “David, it was nice to see you. I really need to get my luggage.”

She turned from him, head up, shoulders back, and strode toward the elevator, stepping in as the door closed. She leaned her head against the back wall and closed her eyes.

How was it possible that after ten years he could stir such feelings in her? Sophia took inventory of what she was feeling. There was a surge of attraction between them. Then the anger she’d felt for years accompanied the thought of him. She’d walked out on him. His betrayal was much stronger than the attraction. It had given her purpose to make something of herself. Her success as a concert cellist sprang as much from her desire to succeed as it did from a need to escape her feelings for David.

Sophia opened her eyes when she heard the elevator doors open. The small group of others who had been aboard the plane with her stood watching the empty luggage carousel go around. Sophia waited for her cello case to arrive in the oversized luggage. It killed her to have to check the instrument, but there were no other choices. It was times like this she wondered why she didn’t play the violin. She could carry that onto the plane.

Relief flooded her as a man brought her the case. She quickly opened it and examined the instrument to assure herself it had arrived in one piece.

Her trip was to last two weeks. She’d wanted to pack only one bag, but against her better judgment, she’d packed two. When the two suitcases dropped to the carousel, she pulled them off and stacked them. One hung from the other, and she slung her carry-on over her shoulder. With a grunt, she hoisted her cello to her side. She started toward the curb to collect a cab.

Footsteps clattered on the tile floor behind her.

“Sophia.”

She wouldn’t let herself turn to see him hurrying to her.

“Let me help you.”

“I travel like this all the time. I do not need your assistance.” Her voice was cold.

“I wouldn’t be a gentleman if I didn’t offer to help a lady in need.”

“A gentleman?” He’d already taken her suitcases from her and wheeled them out to the sidewalk. “Mr. Kendal, I assure you I do not need you.”

“No, you made that perfectly clear when you disappeared and left your engagement ring in the sink.” He kept walking, forcing her to follow.

“Where are you going?” She tried to keep up with him, but his long stride kept him a hefty distance ahead of her.

He pointed off into the parking garage. “My car is parked just over here.”

“Your car?” She trotted to catch up with him. “I’m taking a cab.”

“I don’t want you in a cab in the middle of the night,” he said, unwavering from his path.

She grunted and quickened her step again.

“I don’t care what you think—”

“I know.” He darted a stare in her direction.

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5 Prince Publishing Launch Day for Bernadette Marie!

About the Author: 

Bernadette Marie has been an avid writer since the early age of 13, when she’d fill notebook after notebook with stories that she’d share with her friends.  Her journey into novel writing started the summer before eighth grade when her father gave her an old typewriter.  At all times of the day and night you would find her on the back porch penning her first work, which she would continue to write for the next 22 years.

In 2007 – after marriage, filling her chronic entrepreneurial needs, and having five children – Bernadette began to write seriously with the goal of being published.  That year she wrote 12 books.  In 2009 she was contracted for her first trilogy and the published author was born.  In 2011 she (being the entrepreneur that she is) opened her own publishing house, 5 Prince Publishing, and has released contemporary titles and began the process of taking on other authors in other genres.

In 2012 Bernadette Marie found herself on the bestsellers lists of iTunes and Amazon to name a few.  Her office wall is lined with colorful PostIt notes with the titles of books she will be releasing in the very near future, with hope that they too will grace the bestsellers lists.

Bernadette spends most of her free time driving her kids to their many events—usually hockey.  She is also an accomplished martial artist with a second degree black belt in Tang Soo Do.  An avid reader, she enjoys contemporary romances with humor and happily ever afters.

Facebook     Twitter     Website     Blog     Email

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Thank you for stopping by! I love to make new friends. Got questions or comments? Leave a comment, or connect with me online!

MJ

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#FeatureFriday: Just a Little Bit More an Erotic Elixir by Erotic Kookie

just a little bit more cover final

Together five years, Kerisse and her fiancé Orlando lived the picture perfect life. After noticing a great change in Orlando and calling off the wedding two years prior, Kerisse was needing something more. With Orlando’s spontaneous trips back and forth to Florida, Kerisse suspects there is someone else. Separating herself from Orlando’s unwanted advances, Kerisse builds herself a secret oasis which allows her to tap into a fantasy world she never wants to escape. One night, Kerisse decides to bring her fantasy to life! After entering into a diner she sees him. Although she has the courage to make her fantasy a reality, the outcome turns out to be more than she could imagine. Will her fantasy remain a fantasy or will her one night stand become her true REALITY?

Buy your copy today! 

Amazon     Barnes & Noble     One Karma Publishing     Authorgraph

Picture of meKLTAbout the Author:

I began writing poetry when I was a little girl, Poetry gave me a voice and allowed

self-expression through the power of word play. As I grew older, I began writing short stories and noticed that adding just the right touch of spice awakened the senses; mind, body, soul, and spirit. Romance, Sexuality, Sensuality, Love, Fantasy, Imagination and Reality, infused and fertilized the seed that help birth my erotic altered-ego EroticKookie.

I soon branched off into writing novels and loved how I became the character. I would even find myself sipping wine and even wearing different hats or clothing to fit the scene. I would often challenge myself by finding more ways of turning things up a notch. I love to push the envelope.

The imagination allows you to escape into a world of fantasy and fulfill your inner most desires, before returning to reality. No judgment, no hold barred; just let it all go, giving you a little bit to touch taste feel and remember.

We must learn to Dream with our eyes open, for dreaming with your eyes closed will only allow it to disappear with the blink of an eye.

Don’t just live life, experience life! ~EK

Twitter     Facebook     Goodreads     Blog/Website     Email

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Thank you for stopping by! I love to make new friends. Got questions or comments? Leave a comment, or connect with me online!

MJ

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Deciding what genre you write should not be this difficult!!!!

Finding the Correct Genre For Your ProseOkay, admit it, we’ve all been there. You get an idea; invest time, tears, aggravation, and determination to write it all down. Then you struggle with letting it go long enough for a friend or relative to read it. You gird yourself emotionally (or at least you try to) while you listen to their feedback, then cry when in private. Despite however many edits it takes to tell your tale, one of the first questions asked by your reader is, “What genre do you write?”

You would think it would be easy to say, (fill in the blank), but not these days. Genres no longer carry the simple tags of Romance, Mystery, Suspense, Drama, and Sci-Fi. There are sub-genres to these popular book categories that muddy the waters when it comes to deciding exactly where your manuscript fits in. Not to mention, new categories seem to pop up every day. Ever heard of Science Fiction/Alternative History? Me neither, but it is out there!

So, how do you find out if your manuscript fits into one, or more, of these sub-genres?

Well let’s start with defining what a fiction genre is. Visit this link, Exploring Different Types of Genre, which is found on the For Dummies website.

To summarize, here are the two main types of literal and commercial fiction:

Commercial fiction: Attracts a broad audience and may also fall into any sub-genre such as mystery, romance, legal thriller, western, science fiction, and more. (Example: The Bridges of Madison County by Robert James Waller. Popular authors in this genre include John Grisham, Sidney Sheldon, Danielle Steele, and Jackie Collins.)

Literary fiction: Appeals to a smaller, more intellectual audience. Works in this genre can fall into the above listed genres. The difference is the qualities it contains: excellent writing, originality of thought and style. These qualities raise it above the level of ordinary written works. (Examples: Cold Mountain by Frazier. Popular authors in this genre include Toni Morrison, Barbara Kingsover, John LeCarre, and Saul Bellow. )

The article goes on to describe the main genres, as well as list the sub-genres and its most popular authors. Visiting this link provides valuable information to help you discover where you fit in, as well as where to best promote your work when it’s published.  The site also provides links to the Writers of America website for each genre for more detailed descriptions and the accepted rules.

For those of you on a time crunch who don’t have time to read the full article, but want to find our more information about your genre, here are the links:

Mystery Writers of America        Romance Writers of America

Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America      Western Writers of America

So, where does my writing fit in? While I writer Romance, because I ‘break the rules’, the stories I tell fall into several categories.

The settings are modern day which puts me in Contemporary Romance.

Though I write from the female and male point of view, the stores are mostly about women’s issues and the ability to overcome, which places me in Women’s Fiction.

My characters are not all from one race. The heroines in the first three novels of The Butterfly Memoirs are an African-American, Caucasian-African-American, and Caucasian. The heroes are Caucasian, African-American, and Hispanic. This puts me in the Interracial Romance category. Unfortunately, this is a relatively new category that is just now being acknowledged by the publishing industry. (Here’s a great blog post written by a fellow author on this topic: Interracial Romance: The Most Popular Genre No One’s Heard About.)

And last but not least, because I am an African-American author, anything I write, regardless of the topics, writing style, or genre, I am automatically placed in the African-American genre before anything else is considered.

So, where does YOUR story fit? Good luck with figuring it out!

MJ

Thursday Feature: Never Again No More by Untamed

Book cover

Contemporary Fiction/Teens

Born and raised in Atlanta, Lucinda, LaMeka, Charice, and Trinity are best friends with very similar backgrounds. They have all fallen victim to the perils of teen pregnancy. After each one becomes love struck to the bitter end; they realize that their dreams, ambitions, and planned future must be put on hold. While they struggle to find themselves, each one tries to survive in the game called life. Once they find out that their consequences are a little costlier then they imagined, it’s the decisions they’ve made that creates their troubles.

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Untamed author pic

Abour the Author

Untamed is an urban fiction author working for One Karma Publishing Company. She lives in her home state of Georgia with her devoted husband of twelve glorious years, three beautiful and spirited children, and an insanely loveable dog named Rocky.

Untamed first found a love of writing as a young child through her love of reading. It was the novel entitled, Coming of Age by Lorri Hewitt that truly inspired Untamed and became the flame that ignited her introduction to the pen and pad.

Untamed’s writing journey began twenty years ago at thirteen years old with poetry, spoken word and short stories. Throughout her high school and college years, she received many accolades for her writing ability to include the Coca-Cola Young Writers Award and honorable mention in the Sandhills Writers’ Conference.

Later, she began to develop her writing talents as a novelist due to her own personal life experiences. Best known for her gritty yet flavorful language, she embraced urban literature to bring about knowledge and support through real life, every day stories with highly animated and lifelike characters. Her powerful words and straight up, no-chaser verbiage delivers punches that will leave you screaming for more.

Writing is a passion to Untamed, believing that everyone has a story to tell, she proudly writes stories that not only entertain but relates to the readers on a very personal level.

Connect with Untamed on the following social sites:

Twitter     Facebook

Look for my interview with Untamed next month!

MJ

#WriterWednesday- Interview with Chicki Brown!

This week I am happy to introduce you guys to one of my writing mentors, Chicki Brown! I met Chicki at Writer’s Workshop that was held at my local library in 2010 when I started writing. Chicki was kind enough to take me under her wing and bring me into her critique group, introducing me to several other very talented women. She guided me as I floundered around, trying to find my writing voice and style. This was just about the time she self-published her first book, Have You Seen Her? I’ve had the privileged of watching Chicki continue to grow as an author, friend, and mentor. So grab that cup of coffee and take a few moments to get to know Chicki Brown!

My Author Photo 

What inspired you to write?

Honestly, it was pure boredom. At the time I worked on a job that was so slow that I was desperate to find something to do to keep myself awake. When I’m bored, my mind wanders, and the idea for a short story about an interracial couple popped into my head. I hadn’t written anything in two decades, but once I started I couldn’t stop. That short story turned into a four-hundred-page manuscript I entitled, Lyrics. I never published the story, because it required too much work to make it publisher-ready.

What genre do you write? Did you choose it, or did it choose you?

I write contemporary romance, women’s fiction, and inspirational romance. There are the genres I read, so I suppose they chose me.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

 I get up around six AM, make a cup of tea and go through my e-mail and check my online sales numbers for the previous day. Next, I go to my social networks and respond to messages, retweet for followers and post book promos for the day. That all usually takes about two hours. Around eight o’clock, I’ll shut everything down, make my second cup of tea, read my Bible or daily devotionals and pray before I start writing.

For the rest of the morning I write/research, break for lunch then write until I have to break to fix dinner. After dinner I watch TV or read until I crash, because by then my brain is so fried I’m useless.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

This probably isn’t all that interesting, but I have to work with music. Complete quiet stifles my creativity. Vocals are distracting when I’m writing, so I listen to smooth jazz, New Age or classical instrumentals. When I work out in a public place, my headphones are standard equipment.

Are you a pantser or a plotter?

I am definitely a plotter. My normal process when I begin writing a new book is to start with a general outline, fill out character profiles for each of my main characters, find photos that represent what the characters look like, where they live, what they drive, etc. and create a collage. This helps me to keep everything fresh in my mind. Recently I even purchased a copy of Scrivener, a well-known writing software program to help me with my plotting ways.

MJ: I must say thank you again, Chicki, for staying on me about the panster thing! I remember numerous conversations on the phone and in your car about why I should stop flying by the seat of my pants and plot it out! When I did, I really did see a difference. Now I can’t write any other way!  J

Are your stories based on experiences or someone you know, or are events in your own life reflected in the character/stories you write? Can you share an example?

I have included some childhood memories in my stories and have thrown in a character or two based on someone famous. For instance, in Have You Seen Her? Dani Reynolds recalls happy days as a young girl with her family in Atlantic City, one of my father’s favorite places to take our family when I was young. In Hot Fun in the Summertime, Kinnik was loosely patterned after an infamous former video dancer who made a name for herself by sleeping with famous rappers and music moguls.

Do you have any suggestions to help new authors become better writers? If so, what are they?

I talk to a lot of aspiring authors online, and the main point I always try to stress is that being a published author is a business and it is a LOT of work, particularly when you are self-published. They will need to learn how to go from creative mode to analytical mode, from artist to businessperson in order to do the necessary e-book formatting, marketing, promoting, accounting tasks. As authors we thrive when we’re in the creative zone, but the business tasks can’t be ignored.

Getting the story down on paper is only the start. They need to learn as much about the craft and about the industry before they jump out there. Things are changing in the publishing industry at the speed of light, and if they don’t know what’s going on, someone will inevitably take advantage of them.

If they understand the basics of their genre and sub-genre and the basics of how the publishing business works, they will have a much better chance at success.

MJ: Great advice! Yes, being aware that being an author is more than just writing, it’s about marketing and selling your product (yes, once it’s published, it’s a product!) and time management – and that’s before you add in real-life responsibilities – is something every aspiring author needs to know. Learning that too late can make the dream of becoming a published author turn into a quick nightmare! Thanks for the warning! J

Are you self-pubbed, indie pubbed, or traditionally pubbed?

After trying to go the traditional route for almost ten years, I made the decision to self-publish. Back in 2008-2009 I had been following the rise of electronic publishing and was fascinated by author Joe Konrath’s Great E-book Experiment (http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/2009/08/great-ebook-experiment.html.)  The more I learned about his success, the more I wanted to try it for myself. I released Have You Seen Her? which was actually the sixth book I’d written, onto Kindle in 2010. It became my bestselling book up until the release of Ain’t Too Proud to Beg.

What are your current projects?

 I had an idea about writing a family story about a large family with several sons. As I began searching online for pictures that represented my idea of each of the sons, I ended up with eight men that looked similar enough to be related. Eight was too many, so I cut it back to six and decided that each brother would have his own story.
The patriarch of the Stafford Family is a successful doctor who wanted all of his sons to follow in his footsteps. Three of them went into medicine. The youngest has just finished college with an undergraduate degree focusing on pre-med courses, but is still undecided about making medicine his life. Only two of them went against the grain – Greg, who became an on-air television host and Marc, who went as far from traditional medicine as he possibly could.

A Woman’s Worth, the first book in the series, is Marc Stafford’s book. He is a personal trainer and raw vegan who lives in Las Vegas.

AWW REVISED COVER

When Marc comes home to Atlanta for the first time in four years for a family celebration, he meets Gianne Marvray, a woman who hijacks his heart. He soon discovers she’s recovering from a catastrophic illness and that she is his father’s patient. I can’t tell you too much more without giving spoilers. J I anticipate a late summer release

Where can readers find you online?

Blog      Twitter     Facebook     Amazon Central Author Page     Pinterest

Thank you so much for stopping by!

MJ

Support and Sacrifice in a Relationship: When Dreams Are Not Your Own

(This was originally posted on The Butterfly Memoirs Blog on 8/7/12)

I found this article the other day and had to share: (for the full article, click the link below)

‘One of the key components of a relationship is the support that two people provide for each other, yet it is typically one of the most overlooked aspects of choosing the perfect mate. A relationship that is built upon mutual support will overcome just about any obstacles that two individuals encounter along the way.

Lack of support in a relationship can surface in many ways. It can be something as simple as a failure to be sympathetic when a mate has had a bad day at work, to the major support that is required when embarking on a new business endeavor or during life changing events. 

Support can take on many forms, but in the broadest sense, it is the willingness of two people in a relationship to lift and encourage each other to be the best that they can be. It is also the willingness for each of the individuals to be there for each other through both good and bad times.’ (For the rest of this article, visit WorldVilliage)

Looks. Personality. Goals. Sexual Attraction. All are important during the beginning stages of a relationship.

Over time, personalities clash, good looks fade, and the intense sexual attraction experienced in the beginning can simmer.

In A Heart Not Easily Broken, finding a supportive relationship is one of the key things that aids Ebony’s decision to ignore the color of Brian’s skin and focus on building a relationship.

“He’s persistent, that’s for sure. He kept after me even when I told him no. And he is a hard worker, not a slacker at all. He doesn’t use his love of music as an excuse not to work in the meantime. He’s very realistic about what he wants and is supportive of my dreams. That’s what I love most about him.”– Ebony Campbell when talking about her boyfriend, Brian Young.

It is because of this supportive and loving relationship, the two of them are able to make it through the tough trial they face.

So, do you support your significant other?

Do you go out of your way to help them reach their dreams? How important is it to you that your mate support your life goals? Be it a new job, a life changing career, or the decision to move away from their family and closer to yours. How important is it to you that you have their support in return?

MJ