Four Lessons I Learned From Giving My Novel Away

A Writer's Path

by J.U. Scribe

My free book promotion for Before the Legend is officially over as of this week. What was supposed to be a “Free Promo Week” turned more into a month long promo filled with free print giveaways, author interviews, guest spotlights, and of course free eBooks! It was encouraging seeing a significant jump in readers adding my books to their virtual shelves in Goodreads, to new reviews being added on Goodreads and Amazon.

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Creative Writing vs Writing as Therapy

A Writer's Path

by Sara Kopeczky

I had a rough childhood and adolescence (but hey, who hadn’t?), and often times found consolation in making up stories. I would write short, gothic stories with monsters and witches that helped me cope with my everyday issues. Later on, when I became more serious about my writing, I realized that creative writing is so different from writing to soothe your soul, because you have a responsibility towards your readers (and towards yourself) to deliver something a bit more concise than fumbling notes about how your dad doesn’t love you and all the other kids are stupid. Here are some of the main differences between creative writing and therapeutic writing:

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No More


Marriage Cert


52-Week Writing Challenge: Week 24
Scene from an ongoing WIP and continues on from Good Morning, Mother. Quinn Landon stumbles upon a long-held secret of still more betrayal by Oscar and plans to use the information to end her husband’s endless delays to their divorce.

“If you grip that pen any tighter, it’ll break.”

Quinn looked up at her attorney, not missing the concerned look in his eyes.

“I guess I am a bit keyed up, huh?” She exhaled heavily. “This day has seemed out of my reach for far too long. You have no idea what it means to me to sign these documents.”

Morris Dabney chuckled easily. “Did you forget who you’re talking to?”

The young woman bit her lip, heat flooding her face.

“Sorry, Morris. I forgot… you’ve been through this too.”

“Been through it? My dear, four divorces make me an expert at divorce, my profession notwithstanding.”

Quinn signed her name one last time with a marked flourish.

“Done!” She slid the papers across the table. “And you’re just too easily distracted by a pretty face, Morris. You can’t marry all the pretty women.”

“Yes, they were all attractive, but they also were able to make me believe they truly cared about me… loved me.”

Quinn’s heart broke at the sadness in his eyes.

Morris smacked the conference table and grabbed the signed documents. “Fortunately for you, and all my other clients, I’m a far better litigator than I am a judge of women allegedly interested in me.”

He stood and walked to his desk, adding the documents to a file folder. “I know you’re relieved to at last sign dissolution documents for the filing, Quinn. But you know at this point, it still isn’t a done deal, right? Oscar can still contest the divorce and drag this out for some time.”

Quinn Smirked.

“He can try.”

Morris considered her remark, eyebrow raised. He retook his seat across from her.

“This is the third time we’ve been here, Quinn. The first two times, you seemed more fragile, more broken. Your emotions were all over the place.”

“The first time was so hard for me. Finding out that the man you love with all your heart and soul is cheating on you is a real confidence killer. Then to have him get on his knees and beg for forgiveness and another chance… well, it’s the stuff romance novels are full of. I believed him because I wanted to believe IN him.” She shook her head slowly. “Things were okay for a while… a short while. I began to have female problems, and it only took a visit to my doctor to find out I had a serious STD… courtesy of my husband.”

“And yet, you didn’t go through with the divorce proceedings either time, Quinn.”

Nodding her head, this time it was Quinn who stood. She walked over to the large office window overlooking the river.

“I know, I know. I was so confused. I knew I had the right to divorce Oscar. But our families, especially our parents, they just… kept at me. All their ‘marriage is for a lifetime’, ‘it’s sanctioned by God’, and my personal favorite, ‘for better or for worse’.”

“I’m sorry, Quinn. I didn’t know of your religious beliefs.”

“Religious beliefs? Please. Religion has nothing to do with it. During one of my mother’s pseudo-religious rants, I interrupted to remind her that committing adultery was breaking one of the Ten Commandments… and she called me JUDGMENTAL!”

Folding her arms across her chest, Quinn paced. “You know what the Clark/Butler family prides itself in, Morris? Longevity. And not just longevity of life… but of marriages. Do you know my mother has photos of her parents and grandparents hanging in her family room? And the common denominator is not that they’re family, it’s that the photos were taken after each couple celebrated at least fifty years of marriage.”

Morris’ eyes widened.

Quinn waved away his surprise. “Dad’s family was the same way. His grandparents were married for sixty-four years before my great-grandmother died of respiratory failure.”

“I don’t know what to say…”

“There’s nothing to say, Morris. I’m sorry I didn’t share all of this with you before. I was just too ashamed and embarrassed to admit I’d allowed myself to be bullied and too terrified to stand up for myself. I didn’t want to go against our families.”

“I’m your attorney, Quinn. I look out for your best interests.”

“Yes, you do, Morris, and I’m more grateful than you know. Not many attorneys would be bothered with a crazy lady who kept changing her mind about getting a divorce.”

“Getting a divorce is a major decision. Everyone second guesses themselves at some point. It’s normal. But tell me. You changed your mind twice, yet here we are a few months later with signed papers. Care to share?”

Quinn’s smirk returned with an eerie malevolent tinge.

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“But now… in this moment, she understood what it meant to hate someone.”


Free, a Novella cover


“Free, a Novella” by Felicia Denise

#99cents #KindleUnlimited #NewRelease

Amazon US – bit.ly/LindenLane
Amazon UK – bit.ly/LindenLaneUK
Amazon CA – bit.ly/LindenLaneCA
Amazon AU – bit.ly/LindenLaneAU

Goodreads – bit.ly/FreeANovella

Snippet

Lennie leaned down, kissed his forehead and placed the napkin across her father’s lap. Just as she got it in place, Burt looked up at her. Lenore was gutted. More pieces of her already broken heart fell away. His ashen skin, mottling and in different shades of brown and gray unsettled her. His slack jaw and visible body tremors made Lennie shudder. His eyes were her undoing. The mischievous gleam responsible for so much laughter, which had helped to comfort, console, and encourage her… was gone.

Father and daughter were still eye-to-eye, the reality of the situation holding Lennie in place when she felt his frail hand cover hers.

“Thank… you, baby girl.”

Lennie smiled and kissed his cheek, comforted with the knowledge she made her father happy. “You’re welcome, Daddy… always.”

Before Lennie could retrieve his dinner plate, Linda Kelimore was already cutting the meat into tiny portioreadersofins with this, Lenore. Take the other plate for yourself.”

“But that’s yours, mom.”

“It will be cold before I get to it. Go on, eat. I know you’ve been on your feet since the lunch rush.”

Just like that, Lennie was twelve years old again, doing as she was told.

Picking at her food, she tried not to stare at her parents. But Lennie couldn’t help but be mesmerized. Watching as her mother fussed and cooed in loving tones at Burt to take his time and chew each tiny bite of food. Linda caressed his cheek between bites. Burt rested his hand on her knee, never taking his eyes off Linda’s face.

Feeling like an intruder on a private moment, Lennie did force herself to look away.

Anyone who knew Burt and Linda Kelimore knew they were totally devoted to each other.  More than half a century had passed since the day they each ran into a mechanic’s shop in need of quick repairs. Though they were both on their way to meet other people, a thirty-minute conversation changed their plans for the evening and the rest of their lives.

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Throwback Thursday: How to Write a Novel That Will Actually Be Worthy of Publishing

A Writer's Path

Throwback Thursday is a series where we take a look back at some of AWP’s most popular posts. Enjoy!

by Michael Cristiano

So, you say you have a dream, Mr. Martin Luther King Jr. of prospective fiction (or nonfiction) writer. Well, so do I, and so do millions of others around the world. That is to write a book, but not just any damn book: a book that will be good enough to publish.

Seems like a pretty simple goal, right? In today’s day and age, there are a billion ways to see your work published: paperback, hardcover, ebook, literary magazine, traditional publishing, self-publishing, hybrid publishing, serialization, writing your novel on your arm and reciting it in the subway (okay, maybe not that one…)

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Lies Told By Small Presses

A Writer's Path

by Steven Capps

Like many of my posts, this stems from something I saw in an online writer’s group. Essentially, someone who has been traditionally published from a small press was putting down people who self-publish. Personally, I have my own problems with self-publishing that I discuss in my “Why I’ll Never Self-Publish” post, but that is besides the point. At this point, I’d like to formally begin my rant against small presses.

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“Free, a Novella” by Felicia Denise #NewRelease


Free, a Novella cover


“Free, a Novella” by Felicia Denise

#99cents #KindleUnlimited #NewRelease

Amazon US – bit.ly/LindenLane
Amazon UK – bit.ly/LindenLaneUK
Amazon CA – bit.ly/LindenLaneCA
Amazon AU – bit.ly/LindenLaneAU

Goodreads – bit.ly/FreeANovella

Snippet

Lennie leaned down, kissed his forehead and placed the napkin across her father’s lap. Just as she got it in place, Burt looked up at her.

Lenore was gutted.

More pieces of her already broken heart fell away.

His ashen skin, mottling and in different shades of brown and gray unsettled her. His slack jaw and visible body tremors made Lennie shudder. His eyes were her undoing. The mischievous gleam responsible for so much laughter, which had helped to comfort, console, and encourage her… was gone.

Father and daughter were still eye-to-eye, the reality of the situation holding Lennie in place when she felt his frail hand cover hers.

“Thank… you, baby girl.”

Lennie smiled and kissed his cheek, comforted with the knowledge she made her father happy. “You’re welcome, Daddy… always.”

Before Lennie could retrieve his dinner plate, Linda Kelimore was already cutting the meat into tiny portioreadersofins with this, Lenore. Take the other plate for yourself.”

“But that’s yours, mom.”

“It will be cold before I get to it. Go on, eat. I know you’ve been on your feet since the lunch rush.”

Just like that, Lennie was twelve years old again, doing as she was told.

Picking at her food, she tried not to stare at her parents. But Lennie couldn’t help but be mesmerized. Watching as her mother fussed and cooed in loving tones at Burt to take his time and chew each tiny bite of food. Linda caressed his cheek between bites. Burt rested his hand on her knee, never taking his eyes off Linda’s face.

Feeling like an intruder on a private moment, Lennie did force herself to look away.

Anyone who knew Burt and Linda Kelimore knew they were totally devoted to each other.  More than half a century had passed since the day they each ran into a mechanic’s shop in need of quick repairs. Though they were both on their way to meet other people, a thirty-minute conversation changed their plans for the evening and the rest of their lives.

 

It’s NaNoWriMo Time… Again


NaNoWriMo Banner


Are you planning, plotting, and strategizing for NaNoWriMo? No, not for November… for July, NaNoWriMo’s second yearly camp.

Yes, I know we’re only two months out from the last camp in April. I participated in that one too. I’ve just completed my book Bible setup for July,  and I have a project on the boards for November.

Do you see a pattern here?

My mister insists I’m addicted to NaNoWriMo. While we don’t generally agree on anything—because that’s how marriage works—he might be on to something. Although I don’t believe it’s NaNo itself which draws me in. There are plenty of writing challenges, write-ins, and contests monthly to take part in. But, I have yet to find one which offers the structure, discipline, and challenge of NaNoWriMo.

Beginning with the premise of writing a fifty-thousand-word novel in thirty days, NaNoWriMo has become much more than a simple writing challenge. It fosters creativity, ingenuity, and confidence while crossing ethnic and gender lines and international borders. NaNoWriMo opens up the literary world for children allowing them to write unhindered by judgment. It shuns the perfection of writing in favor of the creation of unique stories.

NaNo does all this and more by trying to put… and keep the needed processes and people in place to support writers. Participants can also learn from each other as well. It was a NaNoWriMo buddy whose outlining process I copied and still use, and another who first told me about Scrivener and explained some of its features.

Everyone succeeds in an event which puts so much time and effort into their success, right?

Wrong.

With the exception of those who experience the unexpected (but ever-present) interruptions of LIFE, most participants who are not successful in completing the challenge had no structure; they didn’t think it through… there was no plan.

Pantsers everywhere scream out in horror.

As a reformed pantser, I cannot stress enough the benefit and necessity of some type of outline or planning for a NaNoWriMo project. Lack of planning is what caused my brain to seize up in 2013 and 2014… because obviously, I didn’t learn from my mistakes the first time.

With twenty days left until NaNoWriMo begins, there’s more than enough time to get a writing project together. The beauty… and fun of April and July NaNo camps is you determine the project and its parameters! A Novella of twenty-thousand words? Fifteen scenes for a screenplay? Twenty-five pages of research for an upcoming project? Camp NaNoWriMo is whatever you want it to be.

As an aside, the NaNoWriMo organization is currently fundraising to design a new site that will help people go further with their writing—with new and improved tools to support NaNoWriMo’s inspiration and community year-round.

That’s a win-win situation for writers! Donate today!

Good Morning, Mother

Breakfast Tray

52-Week Writing Challenge: Week 23

A scene from an ongoing WIP. Much to the horror of her family, Quinn Landon has filed for divorce from her adulterous husband. Her family doesn’t miss an opportunity to bully and berate her for ending a “sacred” union, and the number one bully is her mother.


Feeling rejuvenated after a good night’s sleep, Quinn danced around the kitchen to her favorite playlist while making herself a quick breakfast.

Today was the end of the work-week for Phero’s staff since Friday was a company holiday — the founder’s birthday.

Ronan Gaetan decided if countries could celebrate long-dead presidents, document signings, and wars, why couldn’t the company he started from the ground up celebrate his birthday as a paid holiday? For twenty-four years, Phero’s four sites in the U.S., Italy, and France honored their founder by not working on the date of his birth.

Quinn knew it was a concept American corporations would never embrace.

She planned to spend her day off at the Veteran’s Outreach Center. Quinn found volunteering there for the past five years personally rewarding, and it had given Quinn perspective.

Her current situation was not ideal, but helping others get back into the mainstream of living made Quinn realize how fortunate she was. Work kept her from volunteering for several weeks, and now she was anxious to reconnect with the men and women whose trust she’d earned.

Pouring her first cup of coffee, Quinn headed to her breakfast nook to go over her calendar for the day when her phone rang. Swearing under her breath, she reached for the cell, knowing only one person on the planet would call her before six in the morning.

“Good morning, mother.” She could hear Katherine Clark chuff over the phone.

“You sound awfully pleasant this morning. I’m at a loss at why you’re so chipper when you’re breaking your husband’s heart.”

And there it was… again.

“I’m doing great, mom… thanks for asking. How are you and daddy doing?”

“Don’t be flippant with me, young lady!”

“Wouldn’t dream of it, mom. Give me a blindfold and a cigarette at dawn if I’m ever flippant.”

“Where did I go wrong with you? Honestly, I believe you’re being stubborn just to defy me.”

Quinn inhaled slowly… her anger building.

“Yes, mother. This is all about you. I’m divorcing my lying, cheating, low-down snake of a husband just to spite you.”

“Quinn Avery! Do not speak to me in that manner.”

“What do you want, mother? I mean, besides for me to stop the divorce proceedings, which is never going to happen. What do you want?”

“I want you to be reasonable, dear, and think this through. No good can come of a divorce. It will only leave you both bitter and disillusioned.”

“Too late, mom. I got over the bitterness after Oscar’s THIRD affair… you know… FOUR affairs back? But the disillusionment? That’s still hanging around. Mostly because I cannot understand why MY family paints me as the villain when it was Oscar who mocked his wedding vows and disrespected our marriage.”

“You’re still young dear, and learning about the little indiscretions of men.”

Quinn had enough.

“I’ll let you get away with saying one affair is an indiscretion, mom, but seven? That’s just an unfaithful, disrespectful jerk. And I’m three years away from forty, mom — hardly a child. While some women may feel it’s okay for men to stray, I’m not in that club. I hold everyone to the same standards — honesty, fidelity, trust. I no longer have any of those with Oscar. Way past time to end our farce of marriage.”

“Marriage is for a lifetime, dear… and ordained by God.”

Ding, ding, ding! Katherine Clark was hitting all the markers today.

“The union of marriage is ordained by God, mother, but if God didn’t bring two people together, why is He used to keep them together? And, correct me if I’m wrong here, but isn’t adultery the only acceptable reason for divorce in the Bible? And isn’t it listed in the Big Ten?”

Katherine Clark was silent.

“Oscar has been to church only a handful of times since we were married — you don’t get to play the God-card with me, mom.”

“People in our family do not get divorced, Quinn. You know this.”

Quinn chuckled.

“Yes, I do know, mom. I’ve seen the photos of long dead relatives who would rather have had their tongues cut out than divorce.”

“Quinn-…”

“I watch my brothers and their wives, barely able to be in the same room with each other, but too afraid of upsetting you, so they languish in marriages that should never have been. I do not intend to spend my life that way. I’m not stopping the divorce.”

“Your brothers are all happily married!”

“No, mother. YOU are happy they’re married. Myron and Aaron both never smile anymore. They bring their families for Sunday dinner to appease you and daddy, but always look like they’d rather be somewhere else.”

“You do not know everything, young lady. Aaron and Cecelia are talking about having another baby. They’re very much in love.”

“Oh mother, please! They’re talking about it because you suggested it. Cecelia is just as unhappy as Aaron and wants to be closer to her family back east.”

“Cecelia has loving family right here.”

“No, she has you and daddy, always butting in trying to run their marriage.”

“Quinn Avery! How dare you? I will not tolerate your disrespectful attitude!”

“Then we should end this call, mom, because I’m just being honest. I refuse to live in your fairy tale. Enjoy your day, mom.” Quinn ended the call, gripping the phone tightly. She took a couple of deeps breaths, then gently placed the cell on the counter.

Quinn emptied her now-cold coffee down the drain, and poured a fresh cup. A faint smile graced her lips. She’d endured one of her mother’s self-serving phone calls and was already mentally moving past it — all in less than twenty minutes.

Quinn remembered times when the same phone call would have thrown her off her game and ruined her entire day.

Not this time.

Things were definitely looking up.

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