12 Writing Tips For 2012

281317_10152376913075601_2032062248_nHo Ho Ho, Readers!!! What!? There’s a baby with a finger stuck in her nose on my blog!? What in the-!? How in the-!?

Yes…that would be my lovely daughter Scarlett with her finger shoved up her nose. She’s cute even when doing that! How am I ever supposed to discipline such cuteness!?

I digress.

In light of the ending year, I figured I would share 12 writing tips I gathered in 2012. This past year has been one crazy ride. I quit my job of five years to stay at home with my kids, I started up an art business with my best friend, and most importantly, my first novel ever written, was published by 48fourteen.

To say that I’ve obtained a lot of knowledge in a short amount of time is an understatement. It’s funny how much we change in a year. A life lesson can be found in every action we make. But a wise person recognizes this and grows because of it.

Any who, let’s get to the tips, shall we? Now, keep in mind that they aren’t anything that will change your life. They are only things that stand out to me as I reflect on this past year.

  1. The only way to see a novel through is to simply write it. Sounds easy right? Well it’s not. Distractions surround us…especially writers who have access to internet and social media. But if I’ve learned one thing from this insight, it’s self-discipline. Only I can make it happen.
  2. Editors are a must! You know that saying, “It takes a village to raise a child”? Well, our novels are our children. One person simply cannot do it alone. There is no shame in that either. If you are planning on self-publishing, please invest in an editor. I can’t tell you how much my editor has taught and helped me with both of my novels. Sometimes being so close to the project blinds you from the truth.
  3. If you stumble on a scene that doesn’t sit well with you in your novel, trust your gut. Don’t overlook it because it’s the easiest thing to do. Yes it’s hard to delete your work, but if the scene was they way you wanted it, then you wouldn’t have had that feeling in the first place. I experienced this with a couple of scenes in Born in Flames that ended up being pointed out by my editor. I left them because I wasn’t sure, when I should have just went with my gut in the first place and deleted/fixed them.
  4. Criticism is not always a bad thing. Although you do find those who bash just to bash, try to find the good in every remark. Criticism keeps you humble and it gives you insight into what readers are looking for in that particular genre. They might also bring to light something that wasn’t caught in editing.
  5. Marketing is very time-consuming, but necessary. The key to success is to use what’s available. Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, ect. Also, Google blogs that read your genre and ask them if they’d be willing to review your copy. Every blog has followers and this is how you will expand your audience. Any exposure is good exposure.
  6. You must give yourself time away from your projects or you will burn out.
  7. Any idea, no matter how anemic it may seem, can be turned into something magnificent if you want it bad enough. All you have to do is believe in yourself.
  8. Publication takes time. Lot’s of time. Editing, cover art, more editing, formatting, more editing…don’t rush it. Let things fall how they are meant to fall. But also, for those who have never published, understand that it does take up to a year. Don’t get discouraged!
  9. Success doesn’t happen over night. It happens with word of mouth and plenty of time. Patience (the one thing I have worked on as my new years resolution last year) is the only thing that will get you through it. And marketing.
  10. Not everyone will like/understand your work. Writing is like coffee. Taste buds vary.
  11. READ! Read as much and as often as you can. Reading is a writer’s food for thought.
  12. Don’t give up. When you feel down, alone, lost, confused, discouraged, worthless, not-good-enough…just take a deep breath. We all go through these emotions. Even the best of them do. It’s human nature to question yourself. It keeps you humble. But no matter how bad the emotion, don’t give up. Keep the fighting fire within you alive.

So that’s it. I know…it’s nothing spectacular or grand. It probably won’t change your life, but they are my lesson’s learned this year. I can only imagine what I will learn in 2013. Maybe my dream of being insanely successful will come true…lol. One can dream, right?

I finished approving my editors edits a week ago, so hopefully the cover art will be next. I am very excited about Embracing the Flames. I built up a whole new world with a bunch of different races, while letting Aurora simply…be. I can’t wait to share it with the world. I am only a quarter of the way through on From the Embers. I kind of slacked off during NaNo and then through the holidays.

That will be a New Years Resolution for me.

Any way, I hope everyone has a safe and happy New Year!!! Be sure to put a coin on your doorstep before midnight and then pick it up after midnight. It is said to bring you good fortune through the year. You won’t go a day without a dollar in your pocket.

Echelon out ♥

Aurora’s Journal

Journal Entry Day Three:

 

Dear Journal,

Have you ever felt like life sneaks up on you? Like it waits around a dark corner, hoping that you will innocently walk by, and then it strikes, leaving you lost and confused? For instance, I woke up this morning thinking that it was just another dull, boring day. I showered, made evil faces at Fenn because I’m not a morning person, walked to the bus stop and fought with the driver, and I worked…just like any other night. How could I have known that today would be the start of my new life? How could I know as I brushed my teeth, that when I stepped foot out of my front door, a world of possibilities would open up for me?

That’s right, I couldn’t have known. Unless I were a psychic or something (of which I am not). The future is always going to be there, waiting to pull the rug out from under you. Waiting for that perfect moment of when you least expect things. When it rains it pours…yadda yadda.

After the encounter with the creepy guy, Fenn and I had a huge fight. I couldn’t explain earlier because he walked up on me at the bus stop, but he’s passed out now on the couch. He’s a deep sleeper. But anyway, I was so angry with him for hiding the fact that he has powers. Well, let me correct myself, super strength.

Yes, I said that correctly. After we had a huge argument about him lying to me and not wanting me to pursue the creepy guy for more answers, we went home where he decided to explain everything. It seems that he has always known he was different, just like I did. He just opted not to be honest with me about it because he felt that he was protecting me. Does that make any sense? Umm…of course t doesn’t. But a lot of things he does, doesn’t make sense to me. I suppose it’s the whole “opposite sex” thing.

I was really happy that he decided to be honest with me though. Even under the “forced” circumstances. It makes me feel more connected to him. And since you’re my journal…and I’m supposed to be able to tell you everything…then I guess I should tell you what happened right after he told me the truth. To say that I have never “noticed” Fenn before, would be a lie. I have always been attracted to him. But I’ve never really paid attention to my feelings. I guess I’ve never been interested in being in a relationship.

But tonight, something clicked inside my head. Realizing that I’m not alone and that Fenn has always been there beside me…just like me…it opened something up inside of my heart. I heard the strangest lullaby while staring into his charming, endless blue eyes. I’m not sure if he heard it or what it even was, but I felt the sound in the deepest part of me. It was like my entire soul was vibrating with recognition.

I know…it sounds weird. Even as I write this I can’t help but feel cynical to what it could mean. Fenn is my soul mate. No…I can’t think like that. I would ruin anything that I tried with him. If my parents left me so easily, then I must not be good enough. He is my best friend…the only friend I have. I have to keep that in mind.

I’m getting sleepy now. I wonder what tomorrow will bring.

A.

Blog Of The Year!!

Blog of the Year Award 2 star jpegHello once again, Readers!!!! How was your holiday? Santa snuck in and ate the cookies my kids baked. He even took the note my son left for him! This is the only time of year we promote breaking-and-entering as acceptable…lol

But really, we are very fortunate and grateful for our family and friends and the love that is shared between everyone. I couldn’t ask for better people to share these special moments in time with.

But enough about all the boring-ness of my life…:)

I am still in the first year of starting this blog and I can’t believe all that has changed for me. My book was finally published in September with the second on the way, I’ve had over 8K views, and I’m one subscriber away from 500! What!?

The sad thing is, I have severely slacked on my posts in the last few months (something I am making a new years resolution about). But even with all the craziness and my late absence, I have still been nominated for Blog of the Year 2012! Not once, but twice!! I know right! AWESOMENESS!!

I was nominated by the lovely Andrew Toynbee who wrote ‘A Construct of Angels’ which I read and loved and also did an interview for, and the magnificent Pat who has always been kind and has a great talent for writing. She also loves to cook! You MUST check them out and say hello!

Any who, let me give my nominations before I explain the rules:

  1. Sonya Loveday - Because she is my very best bestie and I love her!
  2. 40 is the new 13 - Because you always have a neat outlook on life that makes me think and laugh.
  3. Phillip McCollum - Because he is extremely talented and awesome!
  4. Cassandra Giovanni - Because we are in the same boat in the world of being published!
  5. Cramped Writing - Because you are going places and I enjoy your posts!
  6. Ignore the Buckles on My Jacket - Because you are hilarious!
  7. Patricia Awapara - Because she can paint like the Greats. She inspires me!
  8. James Calbraith - Because his books are AWESOME and he is a talented writer!
  9. ZB’s Blog of Awesomeness - Because she is a good friend and fellow author of 48fourteen!
  10. The Bishop Review - Because if you ever need the “know” on what to watch-he’s your guy!
  11. Jason Alan - Because you are kind and talented!!

I know…that’s a lot of people. There are so many more that are great and talented and keep up with their blogs better than I ever could! I am very grateful to everyone that I have met and learned from since being on here.

But I digress. It’s rule time!

Do you know a blog that deserves an award?

Do you have special blogs that you love to read?

Which blogs do you bookmark and follow?

Would you like to give them an award this year?

Then the ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award is for you!

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The ‘rules’ for this award are simple:

1 Select the blog(s) you think deserve the ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award

2 Write a blog post and tell us about the blog(s) you have chosen – there’s no minimum or maximum number of blogs required – and ‘present’ them with their award.

3 Please include a link back to this page

‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award – http://thethoughtpalette.co.uk/our-awards/blog-of-the-year-2012-award/   

and include these ‘rules’ in your post (please don’t alter the rules or the badges!)

4 Let the blog(s) you have chosen know that you have given them this award and share the ‘rules’ with them

5 You can now also join our Facebook group – click ‘like’ on this page

‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award Facebook group 

and then you can share your blog with an even wider audience

6 As a winner of the award – please add a link back to the blog that presented you with the award – and then proudly display the award on your blog and sidebar … and start collecting stars…

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Yes – that’s right – there are stars to collect!

Unlike other awards which you can only add to your blog once – this award is different!

When you begin you will receive the ‘1 star’ award – and every time you are given the award by another blog – you can add another star!

There are a total of 6 stars to collect.

Which means that you can check out your favourite blogs – and even if they have already been given the award by someone else – you can still bestow it on them again and help them to reach the maximum 6 stars!

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Blog of the Year 2012’ Award Badges

Here are the six badges for you to collect – you can either ‘swop’ your badge for the next one each time you are given the award – or even proudly display all six badges if you are lucky enough to be presented with the award six times!

 

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Blog of the Year Award 6 star jpeg

 

 

 

 

 

 

Need to know more? Check out our FAQ page

And Congratulations! on being chosen for the ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award!

Thanks everyone!!!

Echelon out ♥

Fenn’s Journal

- Day 2

Aurora found out about me tonight. About my secret I mean. That creep came around again and ruined everything. He showed up at the diner today and as we were locking up, he spoke of a prophecy that we are a part of. He’s opened her eyes. This is exactly what I feared would happen. I can already feel her slipping away from me.

He knows things about us and it scares the crap out of me. The sad thing is, I’m not sure why. I should feel relieved to have this weight off my chest. To have this secret disintegrate between us. But I’m not happy about it. Rory was so upset with me. The look in her eyes, well, it hurt worse than any knife could. I can’t blame her for feeling that way either. I did it to myself. I knew I should have been honest with her. But what’s worse is knowing this guy has gotten inside her head.

I tried to pull her away from him, to keep her from hearing the truth, but she never listens to me! She can be so freaking hard-headed. And she blows everything out of proportion. Just like tonight. Rather than listening to me, she cut me off which only fueled the argument between us and pushed her further away. She actually wanted to hear what this guy had to say. He could be a danger to her! Why doesn’t she understand that? If he is from somewhere else, somewhere where Aurora and I came from, then what if he is an enemy?

I just want to shake some sense into her!

But then I remember what she’s going through. She doesn’t know why she is the way she is. I’m talking about her power over fire. All this time she thought she was alone in this, when she wasn’t. I could have easily told her about my powers and made her feel better about herself, but I didn’t. And now she knows the truth. I kept a huge secret from her. So what right do I have going off on her for the way she acts? I’m just as guilty. I’ve stirred this pot just as much.

I honestly thought I was helping her by keeping her in the dark. Apparently I was wrong, because now she doesn’t trust me anymore than she trusts this creepy guy. I can only imagine what she must be feeling. Oh well. The only thing I can do now is be honest with her. I’ve gone so long with keeping my thoughts locked up…it’s not going to be easy.

I’m going to tell her tonight. I’m going to sit her down and tell her everything. It’s the least I could do.

Later,

Fenn

How To Create A Button For Your Blog

ZombieHello once again, Readers!!! Like the picture?? Me too! I love The Walking Dead!!! The series just keeps getting better and better. Do you watch it? If not, you definitely should. If you do watch it, then you know what Rick is talking about lol.

But I digress.

So for most of you that have no idea what a button is, here is a quick definition. If you look to the right of my blog, you will see a picture of my cover and wording right below it that says “Grab my button”. That is what a button is. It is something that represents your blog that someone else can post onto theirs for promotion or just because they are freaking awesomely nice. Neat right?

I thought so too which is why I created one! If any of you are Authors, it’s a good idea to have one for your readers who blog. It gives them a way to represent your book. You’ll be surprised by just how easy it is too. I sure was.

Let’s dive in to the details, shall we?

  1. Find an image that best represents your blog. If it’s your book, use your cover.
  2. Go to Pixlr. This is a site that allows you to edit your image using a plethora of tools. The most important thing though is it allows you to size the image.
  3. Now that you’re on Pixlr, click browse. This will open your files on your computer. Find the image and select okay.
  4. Now your image is open and ready! You have six main options here. Adjustment (which is all the little details like overlapping images, shading, doodling, downsizing, ect), effect (which allows you to change the color of your photo), overlay (this has free images and effects that you can overlap onto your photo), border, sticker, and font. Neat right?
  5. Once you’re finished playing around with it and you have your image how you want it, you need to size it. A standard button should be 125×125, but you can play around to make it whatever you want. Just remember that this is something for other people to put on their blogs so don’t make it too big.
  6. Now you click save!

Easy right? But that’s just for the image. Now you have to create a code for it that will enable others to actually “grab” it.

  1. This is your basic code: <a href=”YourSiteURL“><img src=”YourButtonImageURL” /></a>
  2. Replace the bold lettering with your information. To find your button image URL, upload the image into your media and then copy the image url is assigns you. That is what you will insert into that part.

The code is created! Now you have to add it to your blog!

  1. Go to appearance and then widgets. Take a text box and place it on the sidebar where you want it displayed.
  2. Add the image URL.
  3. Add the following code to the box, replacing all bold with your information: <img src=”YourButtonImageURL” alt=”YourSiteTitle” />
    123px; height: 125px; overflow: auto; border: 1px solid #666666;”><a href=”

    YourSiteURL” target=”_blank”><img src=”YourButtonImageURL” alt=”YourSiteTitle” width=”125″ height=”125″ /&gt;&lt;/a&gt;</div>

Now you should have a successful button! Woot! Who knew!? I hope this was helpful to you! If not, you can find other sites that have more in-depth step-by-step instructions. This is just a quick version. I also used Pixlr to create my mock book cover for NaNo. I love that site.

Any who, thanks for hanging in there! Hope you have a happy and safe Christmas!

Echelon out ♥