From Rejection to Spectacular Success

By Joanne Guidoccio

While querying the Gilda Greco Mystery Series, I kept myself motivated by reading the success stories that started with stacks of rejection slips.

Here is one of my favorite success stories:

In 1992, teacher and motivational speaker Jack Canfield decided to compile all the stories he had shared on the self-help circuit. Intrigued, promoter and salesman Mark Victor Hansen joined this venture.

While culling his stories, Jack searched for narratives that were “inspiring, healing, motivational, and transformational.” Jack wanted to include 70 stories but was persuaded to increase the number to 101. During his years as a student ambassador in India, Mark had learned that 101 is the number of completion.

The title “Chicken Soup” appeared to Jack in a dream: The hand of God scrawled these words across a chalkboard.

Once the first volume was completed, Jack and Mark found an agent and flew to New York to meet with publishers.

They struck out.

None of the publishers could relate to these “positive yarns.”

Their agent suggested they obtain guarantees that at least 20,000 copies of the book would sell. A daunting task but one that the two men were able to accomplish within months. They placed “Commitment to Buy” forms on the chairs of every motivational conference they attended.

These inked promises from audience members persuaded Peter Vegso at HCI (a publishing house in Florida) to release the first anthology in the summer of 1993.

Since that time, more than 250 books have been published and over 500 million copies sold. In 1999, the series made its way into the Guinness Book of World Records for having the most books on the New York Times Best-Sellers List at one time.This past Tuesday, Chicken Soup for the Soul released Angels All Around: 101 Inspirational Stories of Miracles, Divine Intervention, and Answered Prayers. My essay, “Prayers and Positive Thoughts,” was selected as one of the 101 stories for this anthology.

Blurb

In this book of 101 inspirational stories, contributors share their personal angel experiences of faith, miracles, and answered prayers, which will amaze and inspire you.

More than what we experience, it’s often the memory of who we experience that lasts. And sometimes, we experience an angel. You will be awed and inspired by these true personal stories from people who are certain that there are angels right here on earth. They know this, because they’ve met them, and if you open your eyes, and your heart, you may find that angels don’t live too far away after all.

Excerpt from Prayers and Positive Thoughts

“Are you praying?”

In many circumstances, this question would be deemed intrusive and inappropriate. But considering the source—my mother—I didn’t take offense. If anything, I was embarrassed to admit that prayer was the furthest thing from my mind.

Over a month had passed since the specialist oncologist had delivered the diagnosis: Inflammatory Breast Cancer, Stage IIIB. While I had shared the stage, I had kept those first three words to myself. I didn’t want family and friends Googling IBC and discovering the seriousness of the diagnosis. In 2004, the five-year survival rate for IBC was 30 percent. As for the ten- and fifteen-year survival rates, the percentages were in the single digits and not even worth considering

Buy Links

Amazon (Canada) | Amazon (US) | Indigo | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

In Praise of Affirmations

During my cancer journey, I read Louise Hay’s book, You Can Heal Your Life, and developed an interest in affirmations.

What is an affirmation?

An affirmation states an outcome or truth you wish to impress upon your mind. While the affirmation doesn’t actually make things happen, it can raise your vibration so that you are more receptive to the desired outcome.

At first wary, I slowly warmed up to the topic and adopted several of Louise’s suggestions:

Every cell of my body radiates health.

I relax and let my body heal itself.

I lovingly do everything I can to assist my body in maintaining physical health.

I also liked using the following mantra-like affirmation from French psychologist Émile Coué de la Châtaigneraie:

Every day, in every way, I’m getting better and better.

Having experienced success with these health-based affirmations, I decided to use this technique to help achieve my writing goals. And I wanted to create my own personal affirmations rather than piggy-backing on someone else’s success.

Here are the affirmations I’ve used during the past eleven years of my writing journey:

My words flow easily.

Each day, I write with confidence and enthusiasm.

I submit a manuscript that is well received by a publishing house.

Joyful and creative, I delight in inspiring and motivating others with my written work.

Tips for Writing and Using Affirmations

1. Use the first person and the present tense.

2. Keep the affirmations brief and limited. Focus on one or two until you’ve incorporated them into your psyche.

3. Don’t sabotage yourself with an unrealistic goal. For example, “My book achieves best-seller status” is too much of a jump for an unpublished writer who is struggling with the first draft of her book.

4. Practice your affirmations each day. You can say them first thing in the morning, while looking in the mirror, or while exercising.

5. Write down your affirmations. You can stick them on your mirror or bulletin board, post them on your computer, or carry them in your purse or wallet.

Any affirmations out there? Please share.

 

Where to find Joanne Guidoccio…

Website | Amazon | Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn | Goodreads | Pinterest

 

Listen to Your Inner Critic

By Joanne Guidoccio

I realize this is contrary to all the advice that’s out there. But there is something to be gained by analyzing the selected thoughts of our inner critic and taking action.

How can you distinguish those selected thoughts?

Very simply, take note of all sentences that start with “Someone should…”

Here are some examples:

“Someone should write a letter to the editor about that issue. It’s bugging me.”

“Someone should organize an arts festival that showcases the talents of artists, artisans, musicians, and writers in our county.”

“Someone should put her name forward for an executive position on that board. We need new blood.”

“Someone should design and create clothes that fit and flatter women over fifty.”

“Someone should offer decorating services for seniors, who are moving into assisted living, retirement and nursing homes, or downsizing to a condo.”

“Someone should write a cookbook filled with nutritious, easy-to-prepare recipes for singles and couples on budgets.”

“Someone should run for mayor.”

Once you have identified your favorite “Someone should,” it’s time to…

Take action!

Entering the political arena, assuming an executive role in a non-profit organization, organizing an arts festival, writing a novel…these are all goals that can be accomplished but probably not within the immediate future.

Instead, set move-the-needle steps for the season in which you are in. These small steps will lead to larger ones, and subsequent steps will always be within your grasp

You could start by attending an information meeting, offering to help with an established arts festival, signing up for an online or offline course, joining a local writing group, or listening to a webinar. Don’t worry if certain steps don’t work out. Keep moving forward and course-correct along the way.

Good luck!

 

Where to find Joanne Guidoccio…

Website | Amazon | Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn | Goodreads | Pinterest

Will a Change of Venue Help Writer’s Block?

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Well, it’s not exactly writer’s block … sort of. In 2015, my cousin and I took a trip to Scotland to follow some family ancestry as well as for me to do some research for the fifth book in my series, “Partners, Heart of the Phoenix”. For my main character, AJ Donovan, it took years to find the Scots-Irish father he thought had abandoned him. Now a father himself for the first time, he and his wife, Quin, chose to take a trip to Scotland where Ethan Donovan and his family currently lived. AJ was excited to meet his many half siblings and introduce his son, Reilly to his grandparents.

Ethan’s landscaping business had made him quite wealthy and that wealth bought him enemies. Unfortunately, some of his enemies were within his own family. He had to determine which of his children were embezzling funds from the family business. AJ’s siblings welcomed him warmly … except one. This brother perceived AJ as a threat to his inheritance – to the point he was willing to eliminate him.

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At the RWA conference last year I roomed with a friend who was retired military and had spent much of her life in Scotland and Ireland. She pointed out several flaws in Irish-Scottish relationships that made the background for my story somewhat implausible. Changing those details would require changing background facts going back to Book I. So, I pushed the book aside and went on to other things. Not a good way to enhance a successful writing career.

So, one of the annual writing conferences I attend is “20 Books to 50K”, the focus of which is indie authors supporting indie authors. They are in Vegas every year but have also been doing conferences in Europe. This year, in July, it will be in Scotland. I was immediately interested. It’s time to go back and seek my muse. I need to work through the story issues and come back with the ideas I need to fix them. Not to mention that Edinburgh, Scotland is one of my favorite places in the world.

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I’m curious if other writers find new energy when doing research in countries where your story takes place. Do exposure and new facts make you more zealous to get back to your story?

Marketing Strategies and #CoverLove #WritingTips @jacqbiggar

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Celebrating a New Cover!

If you’re an indie author, like me, you know there’s a lot more to creating a successful marketing plan than writing the book. While an engrossing story is important, it doesn’t do you any good if no one knows about it.

Editing, beta reading and critique groups are a good start and a necessary set of steps in order to make your book baby look the best it can (on the inside.)

But what do you do after that?

GET A PROFESSIONAL COVER ARTIST!

I can’t say how many times I’ve been turned off of what could have been an award-winning story because of a weak cover.

One of the first things any potential buyer is drawn to, whether online, a library, or in a brick and mortar store is a standout cover. It is critically important that YOU, as a hard-working writer, DO NOT skip this important marketing step.

Okay, you have your masterpiece and the perfect frame for it, now what?

I recommend creating 5-6 memes that you can switch out in your social media posts. Try Canva or Covers Sell Books, both are great. Yes, you need to play nice on Facebook and Twitter 🙂

Seriously though, having a strong social media presence is crucial if you want to get the word out about your books.

Next, set up a newsletter–you’ve been building up subscribers at the same time you’re building SM contacts, right? :)–and send it out with the big news. It’s recommended not to push your sales, so take the time to be personable. Your followers want to know you, share a piece of you and they will respond, trust me!

We’re doing great!

Books are selling, reviews are trickling in, but then as time goes by the initial excitement wanes, now what?

 

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Photo by Artem Bali on Pexels.com

 

Placing your book on sale is a good marketing strategy. Not only do you regenerate interest in the product you’re promoting, but it often gains you readers for the rest of your backlist, as well.

Again, this is where your growing social media connections can count. Rather than shoving the sale in their faces though, use those pretty memes you made and share them on Twitter and Facebook group pages in your chosen genre.

I also like to book professional sites to share my sale, such as ereader News Today, Book Gorilla, and ebook Discovery, to name a few. Just make sure to decide on a budget beforehand, and stick to it. Keep in mind that while on the dace of it, your sale book may not pay out the cost of the fees, subsequent sales on all your books will continue for days or weeks after as your name moves up in Amazon (or other retailers) algorithms.

Another choice you can make is upgrading to a new cover. Maybe, for whatever reason, the old cover isn’t doing its job of catching the attention of new readers. This is a guessing game, of course, but sometimes a cover with brighter colors, or a stronger image can make all the difference.

I’ve decided to take that course of action with my 1950’s murder mystery, Missing: The Lady Said No. The title was clunky, so I dropped the Missing and added An Augustus Grant Mystery subtitle to define the series.

The original cover was dark and moody, and didn’t explain the era as well as I wanted it to.

 

Missing The Lady Said No eBook

 

The new cover is flashy, using a bright, bold color palette and an eye-catching image that does a much better job of hinting at the genre and storyline.

What do you think?

 

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Get your copy here!

 

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JACQUIE BIGGAR  is a USA Today bestselling author of Romantic Suspense who loves to write about tough, alpha males and strong, contemporary women willing to show their men that true power comes from love. 

Free reads, excerpts, author news, and contests can be found on her web site:

http://jacqbiggar.com

You can follow her on at http://Facebook.com/jacqbiggar, http://Twitter.com/jacqbiggar

Or email her via her web site. Jacquie lives on Vancouver Island with her husband and loves to hear from readers all over the world!

You can also join her street team on Facebook: Biggar’s Book Buddies

Or her exclusive Review Crew: https://jacqbiggar.com/join-my-review-crew/

And sign up for her newsletter-

http://www.subscribepage.com/jacqbiggar

How Much of Yourself is in Your Characters?

 

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My first book started as a journal of my experiences as a new EMT working on an ambulance. I wasn’t sure at first what I was going to do with those stories but I felt the need to save them. In a few years I went from EMT to Paramedic and the number of interesting experiences multiplied. I worked closely with a number of fire departments and worked in a firehouse for five years. During that time I became familiar with and close to many different firefighters, ER staff and co-workers who added color to the events. We celebrated our common successes and I was pained when one of them was sick or injured. The worst case, as you may expect, was when we would lose one, and that happened more than it should have. So, on it went through my career as it expanded to Paramedic Supervisor, Clinical Coordinator, ER tech and federal disaster worker. I’m not sure when it happened, but one day it occurred to me that these incidents and these people I cared so much about could be fictionalized in a novel. I realized I had an avid interest in letting readers know who these firefighter-paramedics really were and how the stresses of their work affected them. So, AJ Donovan was born along with his crew of colorful characters at Station 19 in Cedar Grove, California.

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Mitch, the Captain, is kind and patient even with guys like AJ who are trying at times. Mitch’s best friend, Barney, is the engineer. Barney is an old Southern boy who shares his experience and advice with younger firefighters. Kevin is a young Irish-born EMT-firefighter who is short in stature but large in passion. Then there is slovenly Craig, the epitome of laziness. His favorite game is pushing AJ’s buttons. Chris is AJ’s partner and best friend. Divorced and a father of two, Chris only wants peace and love in his life but keeping AJ out of trouble is a challenge. Then there’s AJ, a product of a Native American mother and a Scot/Irish father. His mother died suddenly when we was three then he was led to believe his father had abandoned him. He left the reservation at 18 to find his way to California where he became the best rescue technician the department had ever seen. He’s great at his job, but his personal life is a hot mess. All his relationships fail because he’s so emotionally unavailable. A third firefighter-paramedic joins the team. Quin is young, fit and naturally beautiful but her focus is to be accepted as a woman, a firefighter and a paramedic in a man’s world. Her crew is put on notice that her first rule is “no dating co-workers”. It doesn’t stop AJ or even Chris, from falling for her.

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Quin quickly impresses all of them with her confidence, talent and empathetic nature, especially Chris and AJ. Strong friendships are formed. The more she gets to know AJ, the more she discovers his issues: low self-esteem, a case of closet claustrophobia, undiagnosed PTSD and anger issues to name a few. After her first few weeks of employment a life-threatening incident puts AJ in the hospital. Quin not only saves him from a near drowning but stays by his side during a subsequent bout of pneumonia. That opens a door to trust that changes both their lives. Subsequent books follow their careers as AJ goes to medical school to become an ER doc and Quin climbs the ladder in the fire department. Later, AJ is introduced to disaster medicine and their first disaster deployment was, well, a disaster.

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So, where do I come in? As the story followed its natural course, I began to realize how much of their lives paralleled mine. That was intentional in terms of their career experiences, but not so much in their personal traits. Quin honestly cares about the guys she works with. She took intensive training in critical incident stress management after her own experience left her with PTSD. Enough said on that. AJ prefers to eat whole foods and doesn’t eat sweets. Quin wears men’s style boxer briefs at work and will stay up at night feeding chicken soup to a sick partner. Chris is the kind of guy who never quits loving even after the relationship is gone. The state of people in a disaster situation tears AJ’s heart out. He’s an empath. Captain Mitch believes the team is what’s most important and discipline should come with respect. Kevin is as loyal as they come and there’s nothing he wouldn’t do for those he considers friends. AJ is his role model. Barney is the elder, the wise, and cares deeply about the young ones. Craig is an ass. I guess we all have that side of us. So, how many of these traits are mine? I’m not telling, but all of them to some degree. Oh, I’m Scottish with a bit of Irish and was raised by a Native American.

My writing is contemporary and based on real people. Would these parallels be the same for someone who writes paranormal? What do you have in common with a vampire or dragon? I’ll bet if you dig deep enough you’ll find yourself in there somewhere. Is this a natural habit for all writers? I’d love to hear your take on this. Think about it. You might surprise yourself.

 

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What does #holidayromance mean to you? #amwriting #RSsos @jacqbiggar

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Ahh, Valentine’s Day!

Though it may be way over commercialized, Valentine’s Day still fills even the most jaded heart with thoughts of how to celebrate a day meant for love.

Candy.

Chocolate.

Flowers.

That special candlelit dinner by the bay.

It’s no wonder romance writers pick Valentine’s and June for weddings as their favorite release dates!

Which made me wonder: do you like to read holiday romances at other times of the year? For example, Christmas stories. Do you sit on a warm summer beach and read about snowbound heiresses? Or, island getaway romances in the middle of a winter storm?

Are holiday romances a limited engagement?

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It’s release day for Valentine!

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Take two humans who pretend they can’t stand each other and one matchmaking canine and the fun is nonstop!

Val Hodgins is on the road to success. His architect firm handles some of the biggest contracts along the western seaboard. He doesn’t have time to babysit his aunt’s aging house or her pain in the butt dog, but when she falls ill with pneumonia he drops everything to go to her aid.

Sierra Johnson’s dreams of owning a catering company go up in smoke thanks to a bad choice in boyfriends. Now, she’s stuck working for a tyrannical boss, care-taking an aging townhouse, and being tormented by the owner’s aggravating, caustic, way-too-attractive nephew.

Will these two get over their prejudices in time to realize love comes without a price tag?

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B078QFJH4H

Universal: https://books2read.com/Valentine

Add to TBR List: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38088692-valentine

Excerpt:

Val opened the door to the brownstone and ushered Norma Jean inside. What a fiasco. He was just glad it was over.

“Thanks for accepting my apologetic dinner. My aunt’s dog isn’t usually so…”

“Cute?” she supplied, smiling as he helped her remove her wet coat. Of course, it had to be pouring when they left the restaurant.

“Troublesome,” he corrected. Though really, he’d only been living here a week, so what did he know?

“It’s strange I never saw him here before your aunt became ill.” A horrified look crossed her pretty face. “I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean to bring up bad memories.”

He shrugged, uncomfortable. She couldn’t, he barely knew his great-aunt. “It’s fine, we aren’t that close.” He hung her jacket by the door. “Maybe next time we go out we can avoid setting off the fire alarms.”

He’d meant it as a joke, but when he turned and caught the hopeful expression in her sky-blue eyes he cursed his loose lips.

“That sounds amazing,” she sighed, then glanced down the hall. “Something smells good.”

Oh, hell. He’d left his roast slow-cooking while he took her out, but he hadn’t planned on the delay with the water sprinklers and the firemen who wanted to know what happened. He’d be lucky if it wasn’t beef jerky by now.

“Thanks,” he said. “I’m stocking the freezer for those days when I don’t want to cook after work. Do you want to join me for coffee and a sandwich?” he offered reluctantly.

She gazed longingly down the hall, but shook her head. “Maybe next time. I need to study, mid-terms are coming up soon.”

He sighed his relief. She was nice, and would make a great friend, but he wasn’t interested in anything else. He’d been burned by women enough to last a lifetime. He’d give love a pass.

“Okay, well… have a nice night,” he ventured, waiting for her to go up the stairs to her room.

She laughed softly and leaned close to brush his cheek with her cherry red lips. “Don’t try so hard,” she murmured, before sashaying away on the stilts she wore for shoes.

Val rubbed his jaw and strode down the hall. Maybe they could just be friends.

He entered the kitchen expecting smoke, and instead found himself staring at the shapely bottom of a woman bent over his oven basting his roast while the mutt who’d ruined his day sat nearby, a sloppy grin on its narrow face.

Now what?

 

Variety is the spice of life

Variety is essential in any long term writer’s career. 

When I started my writing journey at 33 years of age, eleven years ago, I fell in love with writing romantic thrillers. 

My first story was about a pair of young sisters who escape a dangerous, religious David-Koresh-type cult. The sisters run from a horrific past, looking for a new life states away from there hidden compound in rural Oklahoma.

The eldest, Lynea, falls for a college professor, bringing an element of hope and romance to the story. Lynea’s past is nightmarish and full of abuse, making her new romance difficult. 

At times the plot grows as dark and disturbing as an episode of Criminal Minds. 

This novel is called Violation of Faith.

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I loved the fast paced nature of that plot. And since you’re reading this, you probably like this suspenseful type of writing, too.

But one thing I discovered after getting published was that writing the in the same dark and intense vein for my second book didn’t appeal to me. 

I kept trying to write a sequel and couldn’t seem to make it work. But when I chose a lighter, sexier tone for a different project, I completed it quickly.

I also went from being traditionally published for my first novel to self-publishing my second project, which was a Christmas novella called A Midnight Clear. 

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It was incredibly liberating to be in complete control of my plot and editing. It left me feeling free and happy with my end product. 

My next four projects were of a whole other variety in that they were nonfiction ebooks called the Writing in my Jammies series. These were brief, easy to consume in one sitting self-help books with exercises at the end, written with spirituality and personal development in mind.

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All this variety – a dark and intense thriller novel to sexy suspenseful novella to little nonfiction ebooks – kept my creative muse very active in 2016.

In 2017, I found more inspiration in adding even more variety to my writing by creating blogs that corresponded with a recorded podcast. 

By adding the variety of audio content to my writing, I’ve discovered an entirely new audience for my writing. 

Listen to this post as a podcast

So now variety isn’t just igniting my creative sparks, it’s allowing me to use a fresh new medium to share my stories. It’s also making my listeners aware of my endeavor to serve as a Creative Inspiration Coach assisting other writers struggling with their muses. 

It’s as exciting as it is rewarding. 

Variety is a wonderful thing.

Another beautiful example of variety is the Sisterhood of Suspense. 

This amazing sisterhood of authors write everything from straight suspense to spine-tingling thrillers. Everything from traditional mysteries to supernatural romances. 

Some of the Sisterhood also write nonfiction like I do. 

This variety means we can offer our visitors, followers, and readers a uniquely wide variety of genres and voices.

That is the extraordinary gift joining together provides us as authors and you as readers. 

Variety

Variety

Not only is it the spice of life, it’s the joy of camaraderie, the combining of resources, and the ability to share individual talents and abilities with all of you.

If you’re looking for romance and mystery – or just really love Las Vegas – check out Pat Amsden.

For multiple romantic comedies featuring unique handbags, Vicki Batman is the author for you.

Want a romantic suspense with a tough alpha male or something a bit more supernatural? Look no further than Jacquie Biggar.

For emergency room romances, go to Sam Bradley writing as McKenna Sinclair. She also has her own long-running disaster podcast here.

Author Veronica Forand is where you’ll want to look for romances with thriller edges to them. 

If you like your romances to make you both laugh and cry, Claire Gem would be perfect for you. 

In the mood for a series of cozy mysteries, paranormal romances, or inspirational literature? Try Joanne Guidoccio.

Like a mix? Kathryn Jane writes novels full of mystery, suspense, adventure, psychic abilities, and romance often featuring animals. 

For contemporary romance and romantic suspense, be on the lookout for Mia Kay.

Marian Lanouette writing as Merry Holly is a multi-published author of both mystery and romance. 

Julie Mulhern writes mysteries, historical romances, and romantic suspense – including the Country Club Murders.

Want high emotional stakes balanced with a touch of humor? Check out Stephanie (S.A.) Taylor’s contemporaries and romantic suspenses. 

If you like your romantic suspense flavored with second chances at love, give Marsha West’s Second Change series a looksee.

Are stories of adventure, suspense and love your cup of tea, grab Sharon Wray’s Deadly Force series. 

I consider it a privilege to work with such a fantastic group of authors, and I know you’ll enjoy their books, as well. 

Jeannie Hall is a multi-published author, blogger, podcaster, YouTuber, and Creative Inspiration Coach specializing in helping authors reignite their creative sparks. You can find her (and her various social media links) at WritinginyourJammies.com

How A Visual Journal Led to Sharon Wray’s Every Deep Desire (and a Goodreads Giveaway!)

Vision Board for Every Deep Desire

Although I’m a published author, I wasn’t always. Once upon a time, I was a Chemical/Patent Librarian, an Art Librarian, an Archivist, and . . . a wedding gown designer. It wasn’t until I had my twins, and left my librarian and dress-making worlds behind me, that I started searching for my next creative outlet with a book by Julia Cameron called The Artists Way.

In her book, Ms. Cameron offers different exercises to help uncover “stuck” artists. I wasn’t stuck as much as shifting gears. My life had changed, and I was ready for something new. One of the exercises in the book is daily journaling which I’ve always found more of a chore than a way of freeing my mind. So instead of a diary, I bought an artist’s notebook with thick paper that could handle markers and rubber cement. Then I started my visual journal–a book where you add photos, draw pictures, etc. to the page and write around the images. It suited my need for visual representation.

Vision Board for Every Deep Desire.

After nine months, I re-read what I’d cut, pasted, and written about and realized that I wanted to be a writer. This exercise of visual journaling gave me a literal vision of a potential future. The only problem was I’d no idea how to write anything other than grant requests and thank you notes. I’d always told stories to myself, and to others, but since I didn’t know how to write a book, I thought I’d bring the ideas in my head to life visually.  So I swallowed my fear and kept up the visual journal. If this is what I was supposed to do, then I figured my muse would meet me half-way.

Visual Journal for Every Deep Desire

Then the learning years started. I was still unsure about what I should write about and where to find the creative well for this endeavor. Writing was so different than designing and sewing, and I was lost. One day, as I was in a writing craft session taught by Jenny Crusie, she mentioned her “Girls in the Basement”, aka muses, and how when she needed to contact them, she’d build a collage.  Remembering my visual journal, I thought “I’ll contact my muse visually too!” So I bought posterboard and more rubber cement and magazines and made collages of all of the books in my head. It helped me figure out what I really wanted to write about. Too bad I still didn’t know how!

Visual Journal for Every Deep Desire

As the years went on, I kept learning and writing. I wrote a new manuscript every year followed by more rejections. Then a friend of mine mentioned Pinterest and how it was digital version of my visual journals and my collages. Intrigued, I joined Pinterest and rebuilt my collages for all of my books, keeping my new boards secret, of course.

More years went on and, twelve and a half years after I started writing, I sold three books to Sourcebooks in my Deadly Force Romantic Suspense series. My first book, Every Deep Desire, comes out March 6 (in a few weeks!) and I just turned in revisions on book 2. And one of my marketing/promo things on my to-do list was to clean up my Pinterest board.

As I was getting ready to make the board public, I pulled out my old visual journal and collage for this story and was shocked at how many similarities there were between the original themes, colors, and ideas that ended up in the finished book–a book that was revised many, many times. Even though I’ve been working on this series for years, my “Girls in the Basement” were busy guiding me even though I’d no idea at the time what the end product would be. If I’d known, maybe I wouldn’t have spent so much time worrying.

Then again, maybe not. LOL.

Vision Board for Book 2 in the Deadly Forces Series (Title TBD)

Every Deep Desire is a contemporary Romantic Suspense re-telling and redemption of Romeo and Juliet. After a metaphorical death–the demise of Rafe and Juliet’s young marriage–the lovers are held apart not just by their families, but by a vicious arms dealer, a secret army of assassins who speak in Shakespearean verse, and a group of ex-Green Berets who believe the hero is a traitor.

Rafe Montfort is taking it all back
His honor, his freedom, and the woman he loves

Rafe Montfort was a decorated Green Beret, the best of the best, until a disastrous mission and an unforgivable betrayal destroyed his life. Now, this deadly soldier has returned to the sultry Georgia swamps to reunite with his brothers, and take back all he lost. But Juliet must never know the truth behind what he’s done…or the dangerous secret that threatens to take him from her forever.

It took Juliet Capel eight long years to put her life back together after her husband was taken from her. Now Rafe is back, determined to protect her at any cost, and it’s not just her heart that’s in danger. The swamps hold a secret long buried and far deadlier than either of them could have imagined…

So just in time for my debut in a few weeks, here is a link to my Every Deep Desire Pinterest Board.

 

There’s also a Goodreads Giveaway for a free copy of Every Deep Desire going on until the book’s release.


Sharon Wray is a librarian who once studied dress design in the couture houses of Paris and now writes novels of suspense, adventure, and love. The author of the Romantic Suspense Deadly Force Series, her debut book Every Deep Desire releases on March 6, 2018 and is still available for pre-order.

It’s available for pre-order on Amazon and Barnes and Noble and iBooks.  And adding it to your Goodreads TBR list is also always appreciated!

Writing Process- as Individual as a You Are

by Veronica Forand

Quantity over quality. That is the debate. To write a million words or several brilliant words.

In this market, even the top authors who had been getting by with one book a year are feeling the cry of their readers for more. Some writers have mastered the art of writing fast. Their brains are wired to spew words onto the page with relative ease, or they have the discipline to sit their asses in their chairs for long stretches of time and meet their wordcount goals nearly every day. And the results are solid, and in some cases great.

Then there is me.

I can not spew. I obsess, cross-out, obsess some more, and then somewhere in the middle of the night gain inspiration and type three thousand words in one sitting. The next day, instead of forging forward, I obsess over the words I wrote and usually re-write them. My pace on a good week produces two thousand words per day. On bad weeks, about two hundred words. Overall, I need three months to create something I want my name on. For some, that schedule seems fast. For others, I’m driving in the slow lane. It doesn’t matter. That is my method. It may evolve over time, but for now. I’m content with that pace.

Last year, all writing stopped while I dealt with life issues. It left me with four weeks to draft an 80,000 word novel. I did it. I’m a total people pleaser and wouldn’t have missed the deadline for pretty much anything. The result? The worst book I ever wrote. As a thriller writer, logic needs to be immaculate in my books. This book, however, didn’t just defy logic, it mocked it. The result was confusing, and the language was basic, as there was no time to add complexity. Jane didn’t heave open the door, punching a perfect circle into the drywall from the doorknob. Jane opened the door.

The problem was not only that the story lost flavor and heart, but I had stopped enjoying the process when I rushed. I love spending an afternoon playing with words, placing the perfect verb in a sentence or rephrasing something that sounds ordinary and adding something special to it. A unique metaphor or one of those fancy literary devices I can never pronounce.

After a well-deserved rejection by my editor, I tried to fix the book with two rushed rewrites neither of which were much better than the original because again, I didn’t spend time on creativity and art. In fact, writing had become such a chore, that impatience was woven into my words. Readers, however, are adept at knowing when an author writes with heart, and when they aren’t.

My goal is to never create a story that lacks my passion for the story again, even if that means writing a few fewer books. I spent months fixing my story. The same characters are more fully developed and the plot is complex and intriguing. It’s a book I’m proud to send out into the world.

So the moral of the story? Try different methods, but when the story begins to suffer, go back to your own process, no matter how slow or crazy it may seem to others. Stories need heart and whatever your process, never lose that one key ingredient.

 

Veronica Forand … romantic  thrillers to keep you up at night.