The fastest way to write a novel

Over the last three years I have struggled with producing novels at regular intervals. Some authors I’ve talked to can pump out half a dozen full-length novels a year; I’m lucky if I can finish one 80,000 word novel, that’s not including the revisions and editing.

So I got to thinking, “How can I cut my writing time in half?”

I have a full time job, 2 blogs, 2 facebook pages, 2 writing groups, and an online writing school I manage and provide content for on top of writing my fantasy novels. That’s not including taking care of my son, husband, 4 dogs, and home. I’m a busy woman. There just aren’t enough hours in my week to get everything done and it shows.

Normally, I write when inspiration strikes; ignoring all planning and diving right into the nitty-gritty. I blame it on poor time management skills and the fact that I never had to schedule writing into my life while I was a stay at home mom.

With my time being limited I decided that I needed to approach the art of writing from a different angle.

What doesn’t work:

Writing when the mood strikes.

It’s  great when it happens but you won’t get much done. In a single week using this method I was able to write 3 whole pages. That’s it. Inspiration doesn’t strike as often as I’d like, even when I go back and try to get inspiration from things that usually get my juices flowing.

What does work:

Outlines. They help you see what will happen to your character and how they will get from point A to point B. A good outline leads to a cohesive story that flows more freely and has less gaps to fill when you finish the rough draft.

What works best for me:

Short descriptions!

These work because you get to see everything that happens to your characters, how they feel and react toward other characters without having to go into too much detail.

I found that when I wrote a short description on a chapter based off of my outline, I was able to write an entire 10 page chapter in a few hours and I didn’t have to edit as much.

So how do you outline a chapter?

If you took English class you should know how to do this.  It’s pretty simple.

  • This is chapter one
  1. This is Amy
  2. Something happens to her
  3. This is how she respond to the issue
  • This is chapter two
  1. Amy goes to see Prue
  2. This is what Prue tells Amy to do about the issue
  3. This is the dilemma that Amy faces
  4. This is what she plans on doing

Ect… You fill in the blanks.

Honestly, the fun part is writing the short descriptions. Here’s how you do that.

-Chapter 1:Amy awakes from a deep slumber to find a dark figure standing above her. At first she is confused until she realizes its a ghost at which point she screams -and since she is an avid supernatural fan- she leaps from her bed and grabs an iron poker from in front of the fireplace and disperses the old man’s ghost with it. Being too shaken to sleep or stay in the apartment, she grabs her things and heads to her Aunt Prue’s…a Gipsy palm reader. She never believed in her aunts ramblings but after seeing the ghost she believes that there may be some truth to Aunt Prues stories.-

-Chapter 2: Amy pulls her old beat up dodge  into one of the the 3 spots in the small parking lot behind a small brick building that houses her aunts shop. A bright neon sign that looks like a hand hangs in the window at the back of the building and a large sign that reads “Prue’s Premonitions” hangs above the old oak door…-

You can make your short descriptions as long or short, bland or detailed as you want them. The more details you put into the short description, the easier and faster it will be to turn it into a fully detailed and polished chapter/book later.

Using short descriptions I effectively tripled my daily writing and I’m sure with time I will get faster.



Kindle Select: Is it worth it to be exclusive?

Publishing a book is hard. There are so many decisions to be made on a daily basis. But the most important decision you will ever make is whether you will go the traditional or self published route.

As you may have guessed, this post is for those who are considering self publishing.

For most self published authors, Amazon is a treasure trove of possibilities. They have an easy to use platform, it’s free topublish through them, and they get over 70% of the world’s books sales through Kindle. If that wasn’t enough to convince you to go with KDP then consider the fact that they have programs designed specifically for authors like ACX audio book production platform, Createspace for physical book copies, Kindle Scout, KDP Select, and they allow you to choose your royalties based on your books purchase price (either 35% for books price $0.99 and up or 70% for books price $2.99 – $9.99).

All of these features are completely free to use for authors which is why Amazon is leading the ebook revolution and other platforms are struggling to compete. 

KDP Select is probably the most popular Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) feature for authors. It allows authors to drop the price of their books for a limited time (5 days per 90 day commitment) to boost book sales and exposure.

Authors have a choice to either offer their book for free for up to 5 days (they don’t have to be consecutive) or drop their price to $0.99 and let it slowly rise over the next 5 days until it’s back to the normal price.

Sounds amazing huh? 

But wait..there’s a catch! When you enroll in KDP Select you sign a 90 day agreement as mentioned above. For those 90 days KDP has exclusive publishing rights to your ebook. This means that while enrolled in KDP Select you can’t offer your eBook for sale on any other online platform until your 90 days are up.

This agreement only applies to eBooks. You can still sell physical and audio book copies anywhere where you want.

So what if you only have one book and you are trying to grow your email list by offering a free copy of your book? The good news is that this is perfectly fine.

According to Amazon, you are allowed to give away free ebook copies or ARC’s via your website or email so there is no need to worry if you already have this offer set up and are considering going with KDP.

KDP Select is a great feature for new authors. In addition to Kindle free days and Countdown days, being in KDP Select also puts your book in Kindle Unlimited which allows thousands of new readers to read your book for free.

I know alot of new authors who’s majority of royalties come from pages read through Kindle Unlimited (mine included).

So what’s the downside?

There isn’t really a huge downside. If your a new author and have no following or fans I highly suggest enrolling in KDP Select and utilizing all of the other features as well until you have a big enough fan base that you can stand on your own two feet. You definitely aren’t going to be hitting the USA Today Bestsellers List with your first book anyway.

Another downside is that if you do end up putting listing your ebook on another site you loose access to KDP Select for 1 year. This also means that if your book happened to be pirated and posted onto a torrent site and amazon finds it you may have your account closed and your books pulled from the online store until the situation is resolved. I suggest setting up a account and monitoring you book title/S. It’s free for the first keyword but you have to pay for others. You should also set up Google alerts for as many keywords as you want. The service is far slower than and it doesn’t monitor many of the social media sites for those keywords like mention does, but at least it’s free.

If your a veteran author who wants to shoot for the USA Today Bestseller List I suggest going wide. Since your book has to be on at least 2 separate platforms to be considered for the list, being KDP exclusive won’t help you achieve that goal.

There are some authors who bash KDP Select and say Amazon is monopolizing the industry, others say that the Kindle Unlimited is destroying the market and a waste of time, but ultimately it comes down to you and what’s best for your career.

Each author must weigh the pros and cons of each service. Only you can decide if KDP Select is the best choice for where you want to go with your career. Do your research. There is tons of information about the program online. Ask other authors about their experience with KDP Select, visit the Kboards and read all of the comments and questions, and make the decision that’s right for you.

Want to learn more about becoming an author? Visit my Aspiring Authors page.



The Dirt On Free Book Requests and How To Respond To Them

One of the most common questions I come across is how to respond to a readers query for a free book.

Why do authors get them and how are we supposed to respond?


There are usually two main reasons for these requests; they want to read the book and review it or they are down on their luck and can’t afford to buy a copy themselves.

The Read And Review Request

As an author the first reason is extremely enticing. We all want reviews. That’s how we get our names and our books out their to new readers. New readers look for those reviews to confirm that our books are worth purchasing. But is it worth giving away your livelihood in exchange for a review that may never be posted?

Some authors say yes, it absolutely is and I somewhat agree. If the reader requesting a copy is from a popular review blog, website, or company then send away. Send them a signed copy by all means. But if the reader who requests a copy doesn’t even have a goodreads profile don’t expect a thank you much less a review.

The Hardship (.a.k.a. sob story) Request

Let’s face it, everybody goes through difficult times in their life and we, as humans, are programed to empathise with others in tough times. It’s engraved into our very Souls from the moment we are born. You see someone crying in the corner and your heart breaks for them because you know they’re in pain. You cry when your favorite character gets their heart broken. Someone tells you their family member died and you say “I’m sorry for your loss” and try to finally a way to ease their pain.

It’s only natural to want to help someone out when they are in need and if a copy of your book can help them through this difficult time then you’ll have done your part. But you can’t help everyone, especially if your struggling to get by yourself.

We all know the cold hard truth about what we do. Being an author isn’t exactly living a life of luxury. Granted, their are a select few  who have gotten lucky and struck gold with their stories. Unfortunately, the vast majority of us have to keep our day jobs because our royalties don’t exactly pay the bills.

If you can afford to do so, giving away a few copies of your book a year is fine. It actually helps your reputation as an author because people talk. But it could also invite others to see you as an easy target and the requests for free books will start pouring in.

So what should you do if you get a request for a free copy of your book?

Ignore Them-

This is one of the most common answers I hear. It’s a viable option but not one I agree with and here’s why.

These people are your readers. They look up to you, idolize you because you are a published author. If you see your favorite actor or singer in public what do you do? You want to take your picture with them, shake their hand, get their autograph, or just plain old interaction! That’s what you want and that’s what your readers want. The more you interact with them the happier they are.

If they are your true fans they will be thrilled that you answered them at all, even if you send them a polite rejection letter.

If you ignore them they may loose faith in you and look elsewhere for that interaction!

Offer to send a copy to their local liabrary-

This is actually a very good idea…if you have a paperback verson. Donating copies of your books is an excellent way to reach alot of readers and help the liabrary out in a small way.

The only problem that you might encounter is that the liabrary won’t add your book to its shelf. Libraries have limited space and if your book isn’t in demand by the locals then the liabrary will remove it from the shelves to make room for books that the community does want.

I suggest donating to your local libraries anyway. Sometimes they will make a special exception for local authors and keep your book on display to show support.

Offering a book for free in exchange for an email sign up-

This is by far one of the best options and alot of authors are utilizing this method without realizing how significant it is.

A mailing list is a lifeline for most authors. It’s the best way for us to contact our true fans when we release a new book which leads to sales. It’s also a great way to weed out requesters who are just looking for a free book with no strings attached.

It takes 2.2 seconds to sign up for your email list. If they aren’t willing spend 2 seconds agreeing to receive occasional emails from you then they most likely aren’t willing to take the time to leave a review. They probably won’t be willing to actually spend money on any of your other books either.

Setting up an email list with Mailchimp is free up to 2000 subscribers and super simple as long as you have a landing page which you can also get for free with Having one might keep some of the less devoted readers from requesting free books.

Adding a notice to your site and social media-

If you have a website or a social media account it’s easy to add a notice that you don’t offer free books in exchange for reviews unless they sign up for your email list or get them from amazon when you offer them for free. You can post it in the header, footer, on your FAQ page, or Contact page. You could add it to your Bio on facebook, pin it in a post, or a pinned tweet.

The polite rejection letter-

I use a simple and polite rejection letter asking them to sign up to my email list where I already offer a free book for signing up. I also explain that they will receive an email when I offer my other books for free or at a discounted price through Amazon. Here is what the letter looks like.


Dear [reader],

Thank you for taking the time to contact me. I always love hearing from fans and avid readers. (If aplicable add “I’m sorry to hear that your [insert reason for hardship here])

I regret to inform you that I do not give copies of [name of book] out for free via email. I do however offer [name of free book] to subscribers of my email list which you can sign up for here [insert link to your subscription form] and receive a notice when [name of Book requested] is on sale or offered free on Amazon. 

Wishing you well,

[IInsert your signature]


Please share this with other authors who could benefit from it.

How do you deal with free book requests? Leave your answer in the comments below and don’t forget to subscribe and follow my blog for more great tips.

What’s New on and What’s to Come

Over the last week I have been working on this site adding new content.

If you look in the menu section you will see a few new additions to the site. My goal is to continue adding new content to the site over the next month or so.

So what’s New?

Aspiring Authors– I was an aspiring author not too long ago. I understand the confusion and unbelievable amount of information you have to learn when first starting out. I created this page to compile all of the information and resources I have found useful into one easily accessible place for anybody who aspires to someday become a published author.

Downloads– This page is a sub-page for aspiring authors. Here you will find handy printables to help you on your journey to publication. You will find everything from fill-in-the-blank Outline Sheets for your next project to help make your ideas flow smoothly, to checklists, and even printable Book Promotion Site Lists. I will continue adding new printables to the page as time goes on so check back regularly or sign up to my email list to be notified when there are updates made.

Winners Circle– This page is dedicated to my giveaways and the winners of the giveaways. Each time I host a giveaway I will post an announcement on the welcome page, blog, as well as in the Winners Circle. If I have multiple giveaways going at the same time they will all be listed in the Winners Circle together.

Store- You will notice that the store tab has moved but is still live so if you want to make purchases you still can.*

*More things to come.

What’s to come?

Realms Merchandise-Very soon you will be able to purchase The Realms Series apparel. I am working on getting some Realms Creature Plushies made as well as some surprises. More on that at a later date.

Free Book when you sign up to my mailing list offer– Very soon I will be offering a Free eBook when you subscribe to my mailing list. If you are already subscribed you will automatically receive the free book when it goes live.

Print and Audio book availability– In the next few months Sapphire’s Destiny will be available to purchase in audio book and paperback formats through the Store. Keep your eye out for the announcement.

Book Promotion Newsletter– Soon you will be able to sign up to receive special emails with Free or Discounted Book Deals. These emails will be sent out once DAILY with new deals every day. Current Newsletter Subscribers keep and eye on your mailbox for the Launch Announcement.

If you have any questions please leave them in the comments below.

Writers Block: The 3 categories of Writer’s block and How to Overcome them!

Writers Block. We’ve all had it at one point in time or another.


When you were given a 5,000 word essay in high school and tasked with researching some inconspicuous boring topic. You spend weeks researching the topic and feel prepared. You know everything you need to about The Life cycle of Meal-worms from what they eat to how they reproduce. Yet, you sit down at your desk, pencil in hand, and… you draw a blank!

How should you open the research paper? Should you start with some witty fact? How about a bit of humor or a not so funny jokes? Or maybe just lay out the facts?

Writing is difficult.

So you spend hours outlining the paper, go through 3 packages if sticky notes and note cards, and still nothing comes to you.

The blank page haunts you as the days tick by and the deadline gets closer. You write and rewrite but it still doesn’t feel right. You try everything you can think of, you look up the correct way to open a research paper, you even go as far as asking friends and family for help but nothing works. You draw a blank.

Congratulations, you have writers block!

If you do a little searching, you will come across hundreds of posts with ideas of how to fight writers block. You’ll find good advice like “read a book” and you will find bad advice like “stand on your head for an hour while humming twinkle twinkle little star”. -Okay, I might have made that one up but you get the idea.

Writers block falls under 3 categories: Lack of Ideas, Lack of Motivation, and Lack of Time.

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Once you identify which issue you are having its pretty easy to overcome writers block.

Lack of Ideas

Okay, so lets say you have this amazing idea for a book. You throw together an outline and you write down every detail of the idea as a short description (so that if you forget where you are going with the story you have a quick reminder to help get your brain back to the place it was when you began).

You write out all of the important scenes and start on what I like to call “filler content” (the tedious work in between action scenes that seems to be the hardest thing to write).

But you start to struggle with the story. You don’t know how to make your character get from point A to point B. Who do they talk to? What do they talk about? What important information does the supporting character give to your main character that helps them on their journey?

And then the even more tedious content. What are they wearing? How are they supposed to react to this situation? Facial expressions? Hand gestures? The list goes on and on. All of these simple things that we overlook in our everyday lives are super important when it comes to our stories. Without it, the story is 1 dimensional and is unbelievable to the reader. So you can see, it’s really easy to get stumped during the writing process.

Which as much as your brain has to work just to write a simple scene, it’s easy to wear yourself out. When you spend every waking minute thinking about your story, your characters, and then writing, your brain just sometimes needs a break.

So it will shut itself down which leads to writers block. To overcome this form of writer’s block you need to give your brain the break it needs.

Take a few days off– Letting your brain have a few days off is the best way to beat any block.

Read a good book– I tend to reread some of my favorite books since they were my inspiration for writing in the first place. Don’t worry about whether or not the books you are reading are in the same genre as the ones you are trying to write. A lot of so called experts will tell you to avoid reading books in the same genre since you may accidentally plagiarize the other authors work in an attempt to make yours better. The chances of that are slim. Plagiarism takes a certain amount of thought before it happens, you can’t really plagiarize someone’s work unknowingly.

Try writing something else– this is why I have a blog. It gives me my creative outlet for when I get stumped on my projects. Write about anything you love from makeup to writing. Use this time to build your following of social media, promote your other works, maybe even start on that story you have on the back burner.

Research– Try researching how to better your writing, where you can promote your work, or just look up some recipies. You would be surprised at where inspiration hides.

Edit– use this down time to go back through what you’ve already written and fix problems in the plot, punctuation, and sentence structure. Sometimes you have to go back to the beginning to fix the issues before you can go on.

Enlist a friend– sometimes you just need someone to bounce ideas off of or to give you inspiration. You would be surprised how many people are willing to help if you just say “Hey, do you mind looking over this chapter and giving me your thoughts on how to continue?”

Try some writing prompts– Writing prompts can be a good way to get the juices flowing.

Lack of Motivation

Motivation is a hard one to overcome. Like I said, sometimes you just need a break. If a break doesn’t help try a whole different approach.

Give yourself deadlines– Sometimes knowing that you have to have something done by a certain date is enough to motivate you. I preset my release dates though I keep them a secret until I know I will have the book done on time. You could set weekly, daily, monthly, or project specific goals to help push you along.

Read a book– I know this was already listed but I believe to write you must read. Every time I read a great book I always feel like writing. So choose your absolute favorite book, the one that you’ve read a million times and still cry everything the character confesses his love for the girl, and read a few pages or chapters. Just enough to get you into the mood. Not only can this help overcome your lack of motivation but it will also make your writing better. I read 2 chapters everyday before I start writing.

Set down and type– Sometimes you just have to force yourself to do something. You don’t feel like doing the dishes but if you don’t you will be eating your cereal out of the dog bowl.

Visit a Writers Group– Reading some of the discussions in writers groups is a great way to not only learn more about the craft but also to motivate yourself to write. There is nothing better to motivate you than to read a rags to riches post from an unknown self published indie who is making bank on their novels. Facebook has tons of Writers Groups, just be sure you are taking away the good information and not the bad or letting the bad seeds in the groups bring you down. you can find a list of amazing Writers Groups in the Aspiring Authors Section.

Lack of Time

We are all super busy all of the time so this shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. Sometimes not having enough time to write will make you not want to even try. Scheduling your writing so that it fits into your busy schedule is one of the hardest things you will ever do and is probably one of the main reasons your manuscript isn’t finished yet.

Between kids, a job, and daily chores it’s hard to find time to squeeze in a few minutes of writing everyday but it’s essential that you try. If you have time to schedule in your daily dose of The Walking Dead than you can find the time to write.

Make a schedule and stick to it– even if you can only devote 30 minutes a day late at night after the kids are asleep do it and make sure you do it daily, weekly, or whenever you pencil it in.

Make the time– set your DVR to record your favorite shows, send your kids to an after school program or friends for an hour or two, or order takeout and rent a movie one night a week to keep everyone busy while you seek off to your cave to write.


Some other tips to combat writers block.

Take a walk or excersise– the quiet time and the extra fresh air will help clear your mind and get the gears turning. The new scenery can spark an idea for the setting of your next chapter and the people you see on your journey may inspire characters.

Clean the house– I know, why would you want to do that? You hate cleaning. Believe it or not, the physical activity helps as does the quiet time. Some of my best ideas for The Realms Series, like Squirt the Showshaw and the Grogus that Sapphire runs into in the book,  came to me while I was washing dishes.

Go shopping or run errands– new faces, products like stuffed animals, or even signs in store windows help spark ideas and get you out of the house.

Change where you write– sit outside in a hammock, by a pool, or in front of a window in a different room of the house. Sometimes you just need a change of scenery.

Take a writer’s course– This will help hone your skills as a writer and give you ideas to write about. There are a lot of online courses that you can take for free as well as some paid ones. You can also call your local college to see if they offer any.

Listen to some good music– Music is a great way to alleviate writers block.

Pinterest– Pinterest has tons of pinned posts specifically for authors. Go create a board for writing and pin away. Don’t worry if you get off topic; browsing Pinterest can be a fun way to get ideas. You could start by pinning this post.


Do you have any creative ways to combat writer’s block? What works best for you? Leave your answers in the comments below.



Bad Reviews Suck! How to deal with Negative Nancy’s.

Dear Aspiring Authors, This post is for you.

You see, when you are first starting out writing you are struck with this idea which you think is amazeballs!

You spend hundreds of hours thinking about this idea and hundreds more creating this imaginary world and it’s characters. Then, after slaving away for months or even years, you release this beast unto the world expecting it to be nothing  less than a New York Times Best Seller.


You’ve edited your manuscript to perfection and you’ve enlisted dozens of beta readers and reviewers who have all raved about your story.  You spent hundreds or thousands of dollars on a beautiful cover, amazing blurb, and done a ton of research before you set your masterpiece free. 

The book goes live and you ride the waves of ecstasy as the sales and Amazon Ranking climb. You may throw a release party or you may invest in promotions; either way you’re looking at a decent first paycheck. You’re thinking “Wow, if this continues I’ll be able to quit my day job and take up writing full time within the month!”

And then your first review comes in.

You’re shocked because it’s not a raving 5 star review like all of those beta readers and reviewers said your book was. You become angry as you read this person’s scathing words about your baby. You gasp in shock as this person you don’t know tears your baby to shreds and throws away the pieces. They point out every flaw that was missed, every plot hole that slipped through the cracks, and then go on to insult your writing ability.

“How dare they!”

Then you become angry for a whole different reason. You send a nasty emails to your editor, betas, and reviewers berating them for missing things. You consider removing your book from sale, throwing the hard copy in the grill, and lighting it on fire. Finally, you consider giving up writing all together.

Right now your probably thinking “Wow, talk about melodramatic!”

The sad thing is, this has actually happened before. There have been author who completely gave up on their dream because of a couple bad reviews.

I’m here to tell you that you need bad reviews!

That’s right, I said it! You need bad reviews. Lift your jaw off the floor and listen up.

Bad reviews are essential to your career. A good, bad review will point out all of the flaws in your writing and tell you what the readers want more of. These types of reviews are critical to making your stories everything that the readers want.

You may have written the story for yourself but let’s be honest, the readers are the ones that are going to pay your bills. You need to give them what they want or you will be writing your next novel from a cardboard box under a bridge somewhere.

Every great book has at least one bad review!

Don’t believe me? Go onto amazon and look up the Harry Potter books. Rowling sold millions of copies or the book and millions more copies of the movies. Yet each one of the books in the series has multiple bad reviews.

Harry potter and the Sorcerers Stone: 12, 061 reviews, 176 of them 1 star!
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Harry Potter and  the Order of the Phoenix: 7,783 reviews, 180 of them 1 star!

Fifty Shades Series? Same! Yet those were turned into movies too.


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50 Shades of Grey: 66,325 reviews, 10,158 of them 1 star!

Just because you get a bad review doesn’t mean that the book is bad, it just means that it wasn’t right for that reader.

My very first review was a 3 star and said the book was boring! (see image below) I took it in stride though and decided to use the criticism constructively and write a post for my writers group  on Facebook Authors Alley : Where Authors Come to Network.

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Sapphire’s Destiny Actual review. Though it got a 3 star review right away, my book went on to get multiple 5 star reviews after!

“So I got my first official amazon review today and I’m really happy with it 🙂 It was a 3 star review (before you ask why I would be happy with a 3 star review let me explain).

First, it’s a legitimate unbiased review of my book from someone I don’t know. Second 3 stars tells me that 1) the book was good enough to finish but 2) could use improvements. For my very first book, to me that is an excellent sign. It means that I’m doing well but have room to grow.

Next, they said the book didn’t have enough action and when there was action, it was short lived. This tells me that readers want more action and that they want the action scenes to be longer (totally doable I might add).

Then they said that a lot of things were left unexplained and that they will be reading the next book to see if they get explained. This tells me that the hook worked, that I need to answer some questions in book 2 (already planned to), and that I’ve pretty much already sold a book before it’s out.

I love these types of reviews, they tell you so much in so little words that help you become a better writer and make your writing more enticing.”

See what I did there?

I read the review, picked out the critical feedback, and turned it into information I can use for future books!


You can avoid getting bad reviews by targeting the specific audience your book would do well with. This is called Niche Targeting. Of course investing in a great editor, proofreader, and getting strangers to beta read your manuscript helps a lot but sometimes that’s not enough.

My advice to you?

Read each review but ignore the ones that are just trolling. If the review doesn’t contain anything useful then ignore it. The reviewer may have just been having a bad day or is just a negative person. If you are getting lots of 1 star reviews then step back and really take a good look at your book.

Use the bad reviews as a writers guide.

Take note of each of the issues that are pointed out and fix your manuscript. You can republish it with the new changes, unfortunately you won’t be able to remove those bad reviews unless you take the original down and republish the book as a second edition.

All in all, just enjoy the process! You can’t please everyone! If you are happy with the book then ignore the haters and write the next book. Maybe your first book wasn’t for everyone but maybe your next one will be!

What is the worst review you’ve gotten? Do you have any advice for new authors about dealing with bad reviews?

Post your responses in the comments below!


Samantha Warren-Author Interview

Today’s Featured Author Interview is  Samantha Warren; author of  the Jane Series, the Alaesha Legacy series, and the TRK series.Samantha Warren
Names and dates of published novels?

I have over 20 books available which is entirely too many to list here! You can find all of them on my website Here are three as an example.

Vampire Assassin (Jane #1)

The Third Key (The Alaesha Legacy, #1)

The Iron Locket (TRK #1)

What genre and subgenres do you write in?

I write Speculative fiction. So far I have horror, paranormal romance, urban fantasy, fantasy, sci-fi steampunk, and now YA dystopian
How long have you been writing?

I’ve been writing since 2010.
What made you want to be a writer and have you always wanted to write?

I found National Novel Writing Month and decided to give it a try. I was hooked.
Who are your favorite authors?

JK Rowling and Jonathan Maberry
What was the first piece of fiction that you fell in love with?

I’ve been reading since I was a kid. Some of the books I loved then were Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder, Ronia the Robber’s Daughter, Riddle at Pencroft Farm, and The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle.
What do you enjoy most about writing?

That varies depending on my mood, which is why I write such a wide range of things.
How long did it take to write your first/last novel?

I wrote my first novel in 3 months. My most recent one I wrote in about 3 weeks.
What are three words that you would choose to describe your writing style?

Fun, weird, easygoing
Are your characters inspired by real life people or do you make them up 100%?

I think all characters have a little piece of the author in them somewhere. They’re either who we want to be, or what we fear.
What sort of mood or feelings did you hope to convey to your readers with your latest work?

That it doesn’t matter where you came from. You can be who you want to be.
Can you tell us a little bit about the main character of your most recent novel.

Kinley is a 15-year-old who has lived most of her live in the zombie apocalypse. She has a twin brother Kincaid and isn’t quite sure what she wants to do with her life.
How do you go about building an antagonist?

My antagonists tend to grow organically, as the story forms. I don’t always have one in mind when I’m starting.
Can you describe for us your writing process?

As much as I try to make a schedule, I’m definitely a binge writer. I’ll do nothing for a month, then bust out a novel in 3 weeks.
What kinds of activities do you enjoy besides writing?

I like to read, of course. And I’m a big fan of coloring books. I also volunteer for the local 4-H.
Do you ever need to escape from writing? What do you do to get away?

Not usually. Usually I need to escape TO writing.
What is the hardest part for you as an author and what would you say is the easiest?

The hardest parts for me are the first draft and the marketing. The easiest is the formatting. Formatting is a piece of cake.
Do you have any author pet peeves?

When someone thinks they know the ‘right’ way to do it. There is no right way. There is only your way.
Any authors that you feel directly inspired you, your works, or your style?

JK Rowling, Jonathan Maberry, Chuck Wendig. I’m sure there are many others that I can’t think of off the top of my head.
Would you say that you were good at english in highshcool?

If not, what were you good at? I was good, but I found it boring.
Do you ever get writer’s block? If so, what are some ways that you overcome it?

I don’t believe in writer’s block. To me, it’s just a lack of motivation. Sometimes I have a REALLY hard time working through it, but the only true solution is to just write.
Are there any current projects that we can look forward to?

Zombie Juice is heading to Kindle Scout very soon. I’ll let you know when it’s there.
What are your long-term goals as a writer?

I eventually want to be able to attend conferences and whatnot and speak and teach others.
Are you planning any spin-off novels?

I have some already, for the Jane series.
What advice would you give to your younger self?

Just do it and who cares what anyone thinks.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Also, just do it and who cares what anyone thinks.
Are there any other interesting things that you would like your readers to know?

I love you all! You’re the reason I write!
How can your readers find out more about you and your books?

Amazon Author Page:

Authors Beware: The Release Day Curse Is Real!


Whether it be from all the excitement, stress, or nervousness;bad things tend to happen to authors during a book launch.

When these things happen we call it the ‘Release Day Curse‘ (RDC). I have always thought the curse was a myth; that all of my author friends were just clumsy so bad things happen to them. This may be true for some, but I can attest to the RDC being very real and very annoying.

As some of you know, I released my very first book Sapphire’s Destiny Sunday. Today is Tuesday, and thus far, I have been diagnosed with strep throat and an upper respiratory infection;  as of this morning, I have the start of a bad case of poison ivy. I say bad case because I am extremely allergic to the hellish plant and will soon have to go get a steroid shot to combat the itchy spread as it takes over my body.

I have a theory though. From all of the RDC stories I have heard from other authors, there is a recurring trend. The worse your RDC hits; the better your book will do.

Yes, you read that right! So far every author who has fallen victim to the Release Day Curse has sold hundreds  (sometimes thousands) of copies during launch week. I’m not saying that your fate (or mine) will be the same, one can only pray to be successful.

For now, embrace your curse, wrap yourself in bubble wrap, and avoid any sharp objects for a few weeks because the curse may be the universes way of telling you that your book will do well. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go lather myself in calamine lotion.

P.S. That author I mentioned who sold thousands of copies during her Release Day Curse, she tripped over a coffee table and broke her ankle. Talk about unfortunate!


Have you been the victim of the Release Day Curse? Tell us your story in the comments below.

C.J. Ethington – Author Interview

Today’s Author interview is C.J. Ethington; Mastermind behind Cinnamon and Salt.

c.J. Ethington
Names and dates of published novels?

Cinnamon and Salt (March 2015)

Oil and Vinegar (September 2015)
What genre and/or sub-genres do you write in?

I write a little bit of everything. The Sentinels series, which is already out, is young adult urban fantasy. However, in the past few months, I have finished writing and editing a middle grade fiction fantasy, and have started first round edits on a contemporary romance. I like a good challenge.
How long have you been writing?

Since I could hold a crayon. No, really.
What made you want to be a writer and have you always wanted to write?

Always. Well, at least as far as I can remember. My sister started my interest in writing. When I was four years old, I overheard her working on a creative writing assignment with my mom. Her story was unlike anything my young little ears had ever heard. I had to know it ended. She never finished it, but I did. A million times over in a million different ways. She still doesn’t believe me when I tell her, but she was my inspiration.
Who is your favorite author?cinnamon and salt

Man, well, that depends on the day. I have too many to narrow it down. First, I love the classics: Jane Austen, Oscar Wilde, Charlotte Bronte. On a more modern side: Holly Black, Rachel Vincent, Cassandra Clare, to name a few.
What was the first piece of fiction that you fell in love with?

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. I probably read that book ten times just in elementary school.
What do you enjoy most about writing?

Watching my characters take on a life of their own. As frustrating as it is sometimes, it’s exhilarating to watch them defy me at every turn.
How long did it take to write your first/last novel?

It took me a lot less time to write it than to publish, that’s for sure. Cinnamon and Salt was originally written in 2008. That’s eight years ago! It sat on my personal computer where only I could read it until last year. Originally, I was really nervous about publishing that story in particular because there were so many stories that were similar being released. In the end, I decided that I wanted to share it with the world anyway. The (aforementioned children’s) novel that I just finished took me a month. It’s easy to get something done quickly when you have a cute little 9-year-old setting deadlines for you.
What are three words that you would choose to describe your writing style?

Informal, direct, and humorous.
Are your characters inspired by real life people, or do you make them up 100%?

Honestly, I don’t think any character is 100% made up. Whether they show similar characteristics to the clerk at the grocery store who twitches one eye whenever he sees me, or the woman walking her dog who sings at the top of her lungs, every character has a trait I’ve picked up from the real world. I do have some characters who were inspired by family and friends, though. The most fun I’ve ever had was when I called one of my friends and said, “By the way, let me know when you come into the story.” I’m evil like that.
What sort of mood or feelings did you hope to convey to your readers with your latest work?

Obviously, I want my readers to feel attached to my characters, because I am. I want them to feel what my characters feel. So, basically, I want them to feel every single mood and feeling, except maybe a stabby feeling. We can do without that.
Tell us about the main character of your most recent novel.oil and vinegar

Let’s talk about Nicky from Cinnamon and Salt. She’s a 17-year-old introvert, cynic, and skeptic. While her friends are out partying, she’d rather be home watching the latest episode of Supernatural. While they’re drinking, she’s happy sipping a cup of coffee. In fact, she only puts up with the crowds because her best friend, and unrequited love interest, asks her to. Her world has always been black and white. However, when she meets Asher, she realizes that there is a whole spectrum of color she never knew existed.
How do you go about building an antagonist?

I figure out the one thing the antagonist could want that would go against the hero then try to put myself in their shoes for a moment. All it takes is a spark and they usually build themselves. Although, there have been some stories I’ve written where not even I know who the antagonist is until they reveal themselves. It’s odd when that happens.
Can you describe for us your writing process?

Character development, setting, write, plot a little, edit, delete, write, plot, delete, edit, start over. Just kidding. Sort of. Let’s put it this way: by the time I start writing, I have the setting and character figured out. Everything else is created around them. Seldom do I actually plot.
What kinds of activities do you enjoy besides writing?

I love to read, hang out with my kids, try new things, and I crochet. That’s still so weird for me to say. It’s a newer hobby that I don’t think I suck too bad at.
Do you ever need to escape from writing? What do you do to get away?

Not from writing. I need an escape to write. Writing keeps me sane.
What is the hardest part for you as an author? Easiest?

The hardest part is marketing. I am a diehard reader, which means I have an easier time talking to you about what you’re reading than tell you about what I’m writing/publishing. The easiest part is writing. I am a selfish writer. I write what I want to read. That way, I never run out of books.
Any author pet peeves?

I plead the fifth.
Any authors that you feel directly inspired you, your works, or your style?

Of course. I always feel an insatiable desire to write when I read a Rachel Vincent novel. Also, Lisa McMann. I love how easily she bends the rules of writing to her will. There are more; I just can’t think of them right now.
Would you say that you were good at English in high shcool? If not, what were you good at?

I remember being good at English in high school. It was the class I enjoyed most at least. During the rest of my classes, I was writing a book that starred all of my friends.
Do you ever get writer’s block? If so, what are some ways that you overcome it?

I have, yes. Many times. That’s when I take out a pen and notepad and write out a scene where I’m playing a game with whatever character I’m writing about at the time. That usually breaks down the wall. On a side note: Nicky sucks at Checkers while Kaleb always beats me at Poker. I think they cheat.
Any current projects that we can look forward to?

I have a lot of projects in the works right now. Currently, I am working on Blood and Water (The Sentinels #3), two contemporary romances, a middle grade fantasy, an illustrated children’s book, and multiple other projects that are in my queue.
What are your long-term goals as a writer?

To be better today than I was yesterday.
Are you planning any spin-off novels?

I have two, but most of my stories connect in some way. Kaleb from The Sentinel series has his own spin-off/prequel that’s in editing right now. Also, I have a tour journal written by Nicky’s favorite band that should be out later this year.
What advice would you give to your younger self?

“Believe it or not, you can have a job you don’t hate. Don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise.”
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Don’t take constructive criticism personally. It’s normal for some feedback to hurt, but that’s what’s going to make you a better writer.
Any other interesting things that you would like your readers to know?

You are beautiful, each and every one of you.
How can your readers find out more about you and your books?

Raye Wagner – Author Interview

Today’s Author interview is  Raye Wagner.raye wagner
Names and dates of published novels?
Curse of the Sphinx– August 2015
Demigods and Monsters– April 25 2016
Narcos- Revolution Anthology, June 2016
What genre/subgenres do you write in?
YA urban fantasy/mythology
How long have you been writing?
I started writing June 2010
What made you want to be a writer and have you always wanted to write?
When I was 16 I wrote a goal that I wanted to write/publish a book. But the only fiction I wrote was for college classes (you can take that several ways, and I mean most of them). However, many years later, an idea about a girl cursed by Apollo dropped into my head. I thought it had the makings of a great story, and I called my sister, who majored in Creative Writing, to try and convince her to write it. She told me to write the first 10 pages and send them to her. I’ve been writing ever since.
Who is your favorite author?
I have too many to choose. Hmm. I will forever love Leon Uris. I went into nursing because of one of his characters. I love David Eddings who was the author my brother and I followed as young adults. And now I have a list a mile long.
What was the first piece of fiction that you fell in love with?
The Belgariad by David Eddings.
What do you enjoy most about writing?curse of the sphinx
The opportunity to share my imagination with others.
How long did it take to write your first/last novel?
My first novel took 5 years to complete. The second took about a year.
What are three words that you would choose to describe your writing style?
compulsive, neurotic, anxious (that revealed a lot more about me than I thought)
Are your characters inspired by real life people, or do you make them up 100%?
Some of my characters come to me fleshed out completely. Others have traits from people I actually know, but none of them are actually based on/inspired by people. Although, I am going to have a contest where the winner will get to be or help create a character in book 3.
What sort of mood or feelings did you hope to convey to your readers with your latest work?
Narcos is a political realism piece (11k words) that is meant to inspire readers to take personal responsibility for who and what they are. It is a weightier piece of work than the Sphinx series, but even there I feel strongly that each of us has the power to determine the outcome of our lives. My stories are meant to inspire and empower the reader to take control of their destiny.
Tell us about the main character of your most recent novel.
Hope Nicholas is a monster. Cursed by Apollo, she has the ancient Sphinx’s blood in her veins, and is bound to the same destiny. Hope is sheltered and naïve, but also stubborn and willful. She’s been raised to be self-sufficient on things like cooking, cleaning, and self-defense. However, running from demigods and Skia (think shadow demons from the Underworld) has given her woefully inadequate social skills.
How do you go about building an antagonist?Demigods and Monsters cover 1
I believe antagonists are the protagonists in their own mind. I don’t believe everyone is either good or evil, but both reside in all of us. Those that make poor/bad decisions still are “nice” people. Working with convicted felons taught me this. The antagonists in my stories are moving with intention they believe is best for them, although usually selfishly motivated. I think the defining characteristic of an antagonist is their selfishly motivated actions actually cause harm to someone else. That’s what makes them “bad”.
Can you describe for us your writing process?
I have 3 children (11, 9, and 18 months). I write when I can. Sometimes I get time during the day, other times, it’s late at night. Sometimes, my husband covers for me on a weekend. I’ve discovered it is all about prioritization.
What kinds of activities do you enjoy besides writing?
I love to read. I love to bake. If I don’t exercise I’m a grouch. I love the beach. And I love getting to see family. I have seven siblings, and getting us all together is such a treat.
Do you ever need to escape from writing?
When I was writing Narcos, I would need to take an emotional break and do something cheerful. It is a dark story. What do you do to get away? My favorite getaways have included beach trips, trips to the mountains, and even a day locked away from reality.
What is the hardest part for you as an author?
Not being able to get it all done. I want to be able to do it all. There aren’t enough hours in the day to write, catch up on social media, schedule giveaways, answer emails, help with homework, fold laundry, and make dinner. Not to mention soccer practice, piano lessons, and a quick workout. Easiest? I do love to write.
Any authors that you feel directly inspired you, your works, or your style?
When I finished my first MS I thought I would go the traditional publication route. Then I met A.G. Henley and fangirled at her at Utopia. Shortly thereafter I read Runes by Ednah Walters. Both of these authors put out books that met the same standards I expected from the traditionally published marketplace. I’ve since become friends with both of them, and they’ve been so supportive and great mentors as I’ve travelled down the indie path.
Would you say that you were good at english in highshcool? If not, what were you good at?
I graduated with a 3.7 GPA. I got straight As in English in high school, and even in college. But I excel in analytical thinking. I’m a nurse practitioner by education and profession.
Do you ever get writer’s block? If so, what are some ways that you overcome it?
Write. Even when the words sound stilted and stiff, write. Eventually, they will start to flow again.
Any current projects that we can look forward to?
I’m working on book 3 in the Sphinx series, Myths of Immortality, that will be released the end of 2016. Book 4, Deities and Destiny will come out in 2017. There will be a spin off book or two for at least one character. There is also a prequel novel I’m working on. I’m also writing a screenplay for a friend of mine. I have a few more ideas for after that, too.
What are your long-term goals as a writer?
To continue to write. I’d like to put out 1-2 novels a year.
Are you planning any spin-off novels?
What advice would you give to your younger self?
There is no such thing as a destination in this life. It is one long journey. Enjoy the journey. Remember what is important. Let go of the things that aren’t. Do your best work. Be true to yourself.
 What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Write. Keep writing.
Any other interesting things that you would like your readers to know?
Everyone has challenges. Everyone. Even that girl or guy that looks like they have everything going for them. Sure they’re gorgeous, rich, athletic and smart, or whatever. They might have Crohn’s disease, or their sibling died from cancer, or their father is out of work and they barely have enough to eat. So, two things I think are important. Don’t be surprised when your challenges come. They come for everyone. And you’ll get through them, and be stronger because of them.  Also, don’t compare yourself to anyone else. Just stop it. Instead be you. Decide how you want to be, and if it’s realistic be that. Almost everything good comes from hard work. Don’t be a victim. You are in charge of you. Don’t relinquish that control for anything or anyone. Be the best version of you possible today, and then do a little better tomorrow.
How can your readers find out more about you and your books?