Hi all, hope you had a good weekend! Just a reminder, only 1 day left, that’s today, Monday, August 22nd, to get your FREE download of “A River of Secrets, Summer of the Rose”! The FREE Kindle download promotion ends today! But the good news is, if you buy the print version of either of my books, both of which are in the Kindle Matchbook Promotion, OR if you have in the past, the Kindle version of that book is free for you to download. That way, you can read it on the go. (Just don’t try to read while driving, lol)
I also have some sneak previews of other projects I am working on, which you can check out via the ‘Books Coming Soon’ tab. Meanwhile, if you know anyone who would like to read, please share!
Have you ever heard of a writer interviewing their characters? Well, this author did! Somewhere in the forest lies a secret…not many in Anna’s little dirt road town somewhere in the South (she won’t tell us where) know about it. Folks say there’s a secret place in the river out there in the forest somewhere where if you touch the water there, you will look around and realize you have traveled forward, or even backward, in time! Of course, not many of the folks in town will admit it, but then, there are those who have a story to tell, and Anna knows who they are…
Just a fair warning, it’s been a while since Anna and her twin brothers set out to try and find the secret place back in the summer of 1877, when she was 12 and they were 15, so let’s just say she says what’s on her mind. She may be 87 years old now, but she knows how to tell a story! She has some stories to tell, but none quite like the “Summer of the Rose”!
Well, that’s it for now, more to come in the very near future, I will be sure to keep you posted! If you happen to be reading this after Monday, Aug. 22nd, which was the last day of the FREE Kindle promotion, both of my current 2 books are regularly $2.99, and they are also in the Kindle Unlimited program, so if you are a member of that, they’re free to you anyway! Head on over to Amazon for more details on that. Also, remember, you don’t have to own a “Kindle” device now to be able to download books, most smart phones have the app already loaded onto them, or you can download the app right from the Amazon page. Oh, and if you happen to be a writer, or if you have thought of writing a book but don’t really know where to start, be sure to see my last 2 posts, loaded with tips and resources for writers, and a little advice on what has worked for me, ways to learn from the pros, quit procrastinating, and get started on writing that best seller!
And be sure to link back to me when you’re book comes out so I can celebrate with you! Until next time, hope everyone has a great week!!!
There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you. — Maya Angelou
I think of myself… as a troubadour, a village storyteller, the guy in the shadows of the campfire. – Louis L’Amour
Do you have a story to tell? Is there a future best seller trapped inside you? Do you want to write it, but have problems with procrastination? If so, you have come to the right place! I have had times I could be the queen of procrastinators! So, let’s help each other! Even if you don’t have a problem with procrastinating, do you have an idea for a book, but just don’t know how to go about it? Then read on. Here are some tips from my experience that might help you. But first…
A Little More About Me…
If you’re anything like me, I went for years never even imagining myself writing a book. Maybe you’ve thought about it, but just been putting it off. Or maybe you’ve wanted to, but just don’t know how to go about it. For starters, let me just say, for the record, I certainly don’t claim to know everything there is to know about writing books. As a matter of fact, I am somewhat of a procrastinator. That said, I also had to put everything on the back burner for a while when my husband had his second kidney transplant a couple of years ago, plus I am a grandma to 3 very active little boys I like to see when I can. Then too, life can be just plain hectic these days. So, at this point, I am still playing catch up, but I am finally making progress, and my husband and I are very excited about the projects I have in the works right now. I currently have two books available on Amazon, you can check them out here. Although I have taken the self publishing route thus far, hubby and I are very optimistic toward pursuing the traditional route for my current projects, which are in the proofreading/polishing stages now. One is a book on faith, which will have my testimony of my near death experience in a horrific automobile accident in November of ’85, you can read more on that here. Be sure to subscribe to my email so you don’t miss out! Also in the works is my “Sadie’s Love” Duology (so far 😉 ). Next up is rolling up my sleeves to write those query letters! But enough about me already! Today, we’re going to talk about you! So what’s your story?
So What’s Your Story?
So, what’s your story? I will admit, writing comes to me naturally, as my mother was also a writer, and she has been one of my greatest teachers, as well as my dad, who inspired in me a love for reading. I can be watching a movie or listening to a conversation and get an idea for a story. But it didn’t always come to me that easily. For years, my tendencies to procrastinate alone kept me from feeling that I could ever sit down and write a book. I simply didn’t have the self discipline. But now, with two books down and more to come, I want to share with you some of what has worked for me, what I’ve learned from “the pros”, and even a few links to resources I have found helpful along my journey. I’ll share with you what I have found helpful, and in turn, if anyone knows anything I haven’t listed here that has helped you, feel free to comment and share. After all, we’re all writers helping writers, right? …
1. Traditional or Self Publish? Learning From Rejection…
Let’s face it. Most of us as writers start out with dreams of hitting that coveted New York Times Best Seller List, and maybe even eventually having our books made into movies. But we quickly find it isn’t that easy. So do we just give up? Certainly not! Quite the opposite. The best way to get started on that path to becoming a NYTBS Author is to do just that, get started. Write that book. Carve out some quiet time to sit down and write. Then, do your online search for literary agencies, midsize publishers (some of which do not require an agent), and follow their instructions to send in a query letter and/or a synopsis of your work. But if your first book is rejected, don’t get discouraged. My first book was more or less a story I had “trapped in me” as Maya Angelou said, and wasn’t really in a popular genre, so after multiple rejections, I finally decided to self publish it through Amazon Createspace. That being said, although sales for it and even my second book have not been quite what I would like them to have been, I look back on the experience and learn from it, and keep writing. After all, that future best seller isn’t going to write itself! A good example of a pro we can learn from here is Jack Canfield, Co Author/Creator of the now ever popular Chicken Soup for the Soul Series, who went through something like 144 rejections before he found a publisher. Did that stop him? No! And just look where he is now! But don’t just take my word for it. Click here for some of Jack’s tips and author training on writing a book and making it a success! So write that book and send those query letters. If it gets rejected 10 or 20 times, don’t just give up. Use the experience to learn ways you can improve, and study the examples of success stories, like Jack Canfield and others. Your story might just be that diamond in the rough!
2. Read! Other Authors Are Our Best Teachers…
The best way to learn the art of writing is to read. Reading the works of other authors not only gives you plenty of exposure to different writing styles, but it also provides a good way to learn about character development, irony, symbolism, dialogue, personification, as well as the flow of the story itself. The best place to start is with some of those favorite best selling authors you like. As you’re reading, notice how the story is set up. For fiction, what literary agents want to see is: hook, conflict, and resolution. Here, Rachelle Gardner explains more of what literary agents are looking for in a query letter. In a good, best selling fiction novel, you should be able to see how well the author has set this up. There is usually an exciting, romantic, or heart-pounding beginning that “hooks” you as the reader, the ensuing “conflict” between the characters or with one character and their situation, and then how the conflict is resolved, the “resolution”. Another benefit of reading the work of other authors is that it gives you insight into sentence structure, setting up dialogue, punctuation and so forth. I got started early as far as reading, since my dad has always been an avid reader. Being one who especially loves Westerns, he has read every book Louis L’Amour ever wrote. As early as first grade, I found myself reading them from time to time. I especially love the way he writes so as to make you feel you are actually there. I also got my son started on reading at an early age. He is a dedicated fan of the Lord of the Rings Series, ever since my dad gave him his old copy of “The Lord of the Rings”. I have learned a lot just from reading those best sellers by my favorite authors, taking a little something from each of them, combining it all over time as I develop my own style. Best of all, you can set your own “class” hours!
3. Meet Other Authors! Inspiration is the Best Medicine for Encouragement…
Another of my greatest teachers and one who has been a big inspiration to me is Nicholas Sparks. I have learned a lot from reading several of his books and have seen most of the movies. The turning point in my deciding to pursue a career in writing came the day I met him at one of his book signings at a Barnes & Noble in our area. It was for his book, “The Last Song”, although at the time, I had just finished reading “A Bend in the Road”. I found it to be a very inspiring experience and walked out of that B&N store that day thinking to myself, if he can do it, I can! I haven’t stopped since. I may not have gotten there yet, but then, the turtle won the race with the rabbit, simply because he refused to give up (or waste time and procrastinate, ha ha)! As a matter of fact, Nicholas Sparks also has a page on his website dedicated to those who want to be writers. One of the tips he gives? Just as I said above, read!
I have also had the great honor of meeting actress, author, producer, and life coach, Mary McDonough, whom most of us older folks may remember as “Erin” from “The Waltons”, which ran for 9 seasons (and in my opinion, is only one of the best family shows of all time, hands down). In addition to her book, “Lessons From the Mountain, What I Learned From Erin Walton (read my review here), she also has two fiction books now available. Click here to visit her website and check them out! I can honestly say, both of these experiences were greatly inspirational and exciting experiences for me. After all, they have been some of my greatest teachers. So who’s the next best selling author coming to a book store near you? Go! Meet them! For anyone who wants to be a writer, there is nothing quite like the adrenaline rush of getting to meet a best selling author! A learning experience in and of itself!
4. Watch a Good Movie
Hey, you never know when you’re going to get another idea for a great story. That’s what happened when I got the inspiration for my 2nd book, “A River of Secrets, Summer of the Rose”, which is the first book in the “River of Love’s Rose” Time Travel Trilogy. It is a Historical Fantasy with a Southern flair, as well as just the right touch of romance and some Time Travel. I got the idea after a walk one day, and part of my inspiration for it was a movie called “Tuck Everlasting”, which my son introduced me to. It was adapted from a children’s book by Natalie Babbit. I actually did an “interview” with my main character, “Anna”, who is actually telling the story. Here is my previous post featuring the “interview” with “Anna”, along with the movie trailer for the movie that inspired my book. As for the series, of which I have begun work on the 2nd book, the story and characters are all my own, and, as it is also a bit of a coming of age story, it is one that I feel will be enjoyed by young and old alike. As for Anna and her sisters, there is a little of my late maternal grandmother and her sisters in it as well. If you have a “writer’s imagination” like I do, you have probably found it’s not hard to get ideas. Just make sure that if you do, your ideas and story are all your own! Of course, it helps if you happen to be writing in the more popular genres, but for me, it has to come from the heart and be something I enjoy writing about. Then too, it has to be something that will sell. So there are already a gazillion werewolf stories or Time Travel Romances. What is it that will make yours unique, and better than the rest? Again, as I have learned from my first experiences, I like to think each successive book I publish will be an improvement from my previous ones. That is how we develop into experienced and seasoned writers. Next stop, best selling author! (Hopefully, lol)
5. Join a Writer’s Group – Writer’s Groups and Best Selling Author Fan Pages as Learning Tools
With the convenience of social media these days (and hey, for us old dinosaurs, we are still learning how all of that works, but then again, we all did all of our stupid stuff before the internet, hee hee), more and more authors, especially best selling ones, can be found on Facebook, Twitter, and other places. Joining a writer’s group or “Liking” or Subscribing to a best selling author’s fan page can be especially helpful. As you watch what works for them as far as their posts and how they advertise, you will gain insight as to how this whole thing works and that in itself can be a big confidence builder. I am in a writer’s group on Facebook started by Beverly Nault, who worked with Mary McDonough on her book, “Lessons…”, called Fresh Starts Writing Room – Advice for Emerging Writers. As a seasoned traditional as well as self published author, Bev shares a lot of helpful advice and interesting posts/articles, plus we all just kind of help each other. Writers helping Writers, right? Oh, and Mary McDonough is also on Facebook, as well as Debbie Macomber and others. So go find them, watch, and learn!
6. Learn from the Pros – Informative Websites, Webinars, Blogs, & Training Programs
Many authors who have been successful are now doing a lot of webinars, podcasts, and training programs to help other writers by providing active hands on demonstrations of what has worked for them. Here are a few who have helped me:
Another Author who has a wonderful blog filled with articles and helpful resources for writers is Joanna Penn, whose blog, The Creative Penn, has been a big help to me.
Shelley Hitz also has a lot of helpful resources, podcasts, webinars, and training resources.
Kary Oberbrunner is an author, coach, and speaker who offers some very helpful resources. I have listened to one of his webinars.
Those are just a few suggestions as to resources that have helped me in one way or another. As I said before, if you know of other resources I haven’t listed here, please share!
7. Take a Class
Hey, when it comes to writing, no amount of education is too much. With the increasing ease of self publishing now, more people than ever are turning to self publishing to tell their stories. But you do want your readers to know you made it past the eighth grade, right? So, if it’s been a while, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to enroll in a class or two, whether it’s a writing class or just to brush up on punctuation, grammar, sentence structure, subject-verb agreement, etc. Although as for the writing itself, my “teachers” have mostly been other authors, like Mr. Sparks, Louis L’Amour, Debbie Macomber, and others, I actually lucked out as for the rest, as I have an Associate’s Degree in Office Systems Technology, which involved a lot of Text Editing and Formatting, Keyboarding (okay, the “dinosaur” term is, “typing”), and the like. However, I have also found that you can find all kinds of instructional pages online written by literary agents and other professionals on subject-verb agreement, commonly misused words that sound alike, setting up dialogue with your characters, etc. So educate yourself. Yes, it is incredibly easy to self publish, if that’s the route you want to take. But if you want it to ever have a chance of achieving best seller status, it needs to look like an adult wrote it. Still, we are all human, and if possible, that future best seller will need a professional editing job. But for those just starting out, who haven’t quite raked in enough money from all those awesome sales to afford that option, we need to at least educate ourselves. I still find myself searching the internet at times for one of those “five minute” brush up sessions on something. It’s an ongoing process as we work to hone our skills and become best selling authors. But then, when you finally get a literary agent to represent you, if they are legitimate and do things the way they are supposed to, unlike those vanity publishers, then you won’t have to worry about it. Until then…educate yourself. And keep writing.
8. So Stop Procrastinating, Sit Down, and Write that Best Seller!
So, what’s your story? Are you tired of walking around with that best seller trapped inside of you, yet? If you’re anything like me, well, life just kind of gets in the way sometimes. As for me, I suffer from PTSD from a horrible car accident, as I mentioned above, and my journey to healing and telling my story hasn’t been an easy one. It’s an ongoing process. But, like that turtle, I am not stopping. We will fall sometimes. But then, we get up and keep trying, and keep helping each other until we get to where we’re going. So, sit down and just start writing. In addition to MS Word, there are also programs more suited to writers that you can check out, like Adobe InDesign and Scrivener, among others. Whatever you use, just sit down and start writing. As for that procrastinating thing, I have found that working to put myself on a schedule, like I do my grandsons when I keep them, has helped me. Work to eliminate the time wasters or other projects that can wait until later, assign yourself a schedule, and stick to it! Reward yourself for doing well! One of the main reasons I think I have tended to procrastinate stems from a lack of confidence, which I suffered for a long time, due to issues surrounding my PTSD. But thankfully, with my faith in God that has brought me through the hard times, and the love and encouragement of my sweet husband, who is also my biggest fan, I’m getting there. So, if you tend to have problems with procrastinating, talk it over with God, your spouse, or a family member who can help you get to the root of the problem. Then, instead of letting the problem continue to be a road block, He will take those “lemons” life has handed you and turn them into the best “lemonade” you have ever tasted. That is when you can finally stop procrastinating, sit down, and start writing that story. Whether it’s your life’s story or the next best selling fiction novel, it isn’t going to write itself!
As for that story of the Rabbit and the Tortoise, in the end, it wasn’t about who ran the fastest. It was who kept on going, despite his limitations, and won the race. As for us writers, it’s not about who writes the fastest, or the most books. It’s just writers helping writers. It’s you, finally sitting down to write that story that no one is ever going to read unless you write it! And, it’s getting up again when you fall and pressing on, with the help and encouragement of those who believe in you, and believing in those who will be touched by your story, even though you haven’t met them…yet.
It’s finally here! The first book in the “Enchanted River of the Rose” series, is finally here! I know I haven’t been on here in a while. I guess you could say I sort of took a break from being online due to circumstances out of my control. Now that I am back, I am happy to announce that the first book in this exciting new series is finally here! The characters in this story will take you back in time, to the early days of Southern America, to a time when the town story tellers sat in the rocking chairs in front of the old stores telling stories of days gone by. But this isn’t just any story. It’s a story that will take you back down a winding path, into the forest, and out where the “enchanted lady” the folks in Anna’s town refer to as “the secret place in the river” winds her way through the forest, where it is said that if you touch the sparkling water there, before you realize it, you will have gone forward or even backward in time. As far as Anna knows, not many folks have ever found the secret place, at least not that would admit it. After all, who would believe them? As Anna tells it, in those years just before the turn of the century, most folks were more interested in getting their piece of the “progress pie” than in entertaining some fairy tale about some “enchanted secret place” in the river. Yet, there are some folks in town that have stories they haven’t told, and Anna has her ways of knowing who they are. Some of the folks in town may not have believed Anna’s story, but Anna knows a few secrets. One of them is, not many folks were ever able to resist once that “enchanted lady” in the forest came a callin’. But now, she’ll tell you that old Sam, or “Tater”, as the townsfolk call him, tells the wildest yarns, but don’t tell her I told you that! The story gets more interesting as she goes on, but then, that is because Anna is such a good story teller. But then, will you believe Anna’s story? What if things could have been different? Who knows? Pull up a chair and sit for a while. You might just hear a story you just wouldn’t believe… But don’t just take my word for it. If you missed my interview with Anna, you can go back and read it here. But I’ll have to let you know, she’s something else. I’ll just say, she tells it like it is. So, take a journey back in time, if you dare, to a time where in many ways, life was simpler. Go back once more to that time where you saw the world through the eyes of a child. If you like this one, be sure to look for the next one in the series, coming soon. After all, you just never know about Anna. She as well as Sam “Tater” Jenson, and some of the others all have stories to tell. Pull up a chair and sit with them for a while. It is my sincere hope that you will enjoy their stories as much as I did. I certainly enjoyed writing it, and I can’t wait to get the next one in the series finished! If you like what you have read here and want to sit for a while with Anna and hear more, you can get your copy in book (print) or Kindle versions on my Amazon page.
The Print and ebook (Nook) versions are now available (online) on Barnes & Noble.com –
Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you enjoy it! If you read it and you like it, be sure to pass this on to a friend! Also, be sure to stop back by the Amazon page and leave a review for future customers! Thanks and y’all come back! Anna’s just getting started…
It is late in the summer of 1952, in this little town “somewhere in the south”. I am here, sitting out in front of the store with “Anna”, our story teller from my upcoming “Enchanted River of the Rose” series, the first of which is “River of Secrets: Summer of the Rose”, which is now available in book and Kindle versions on Amazon.com and in ebook (Nook) online at B&N . Meanwhile, why don’t you go on into the store here and get you a drink and come back out and sit down here with “Anna” and me and we’ll just let her tell you a little of what to expect. I told her it would be nice if we gave everyone a little of what it’s all about so she agreed to let me interview her. Now, let me just say, before we get started, “Anna” is one of the best story tellers around, and folks here in town will tell you, she knows how to tell a story. So, without further ado, let’s see what she has to say..
WHAT IS IT? ME: So, Anna, tell me, what is this “River of Secrets” all about?
ANNA: “Well, you see, folks say there’s a place somewhere along the river that runs deep into the woods here alongside our town that holds a secret. They say the water there in that place is like magic. It can take you places. The story goes that if you were to find this place, and touch the water there in that certain place, you will look around and see that you’ve gone forward in time, or even backward. But now, as far as I know, nobody’s ever found it, at least that would admit to it.”
WHERE IS IT? ME: So, nobody you know of has ever found this place?
ANNA: “Well now, that all depends on how much of this story you want to believe. Of course, not too many around here ever told their stories, but then, who would believe them anyway? So, you just have to read my story and then decide for yourself. But, if you are willing to look through the eyes of a child once again, there is a little place somewhere down that little path in that forest of imagination you took as a child, where you could believe that just about anything’s possible. But of course, you know too, that I’m not going to just come out and tell you that. Now, that would spoil the magic of the whole story, now wouldn’t it?
ME: OK, I can understand that. So, if you don’t mind me asking, how old are you, Anna?
ANNA: Oh, naw, I don’t mind a bit! I’m eighty-seven. I was born Anna Elizabeth Brownfield, the youngest of eight children. I was born in 1865 just as the Civil War was ending.
ME: Anna, what is the name of your town here?
ANNA: “Wouldn’t you love to know? Of course, I’m not going to tell you that! Then all you folks would be a tryin’ to get here and see if you could find that place, now wouldn’t you?”
ME: (Laughing) OK, well, that makes sense. I can understand that. So, tell me, why do they call it a “river of secrets”?
ANNA: “Folks have called it that because that river, well, they say it’s like this enchanted lady that’s out there just a windin’ her way through the forest. The way we all put it, old Lady River has secrets she will never tell. That’s the truth too. I can tell you that river’s got secrets she will never tell. One thing I can tell you for sure is, ain’t many ever been able to ignore her when she comes a callin’.
ME: So, the river has a way of calling you?
ANNA: Oh yes! That’s how she gets you. See, there’s just this way the water kind of takes on this sparkle to it that just makes you want to go just a little farther, until before you realize it, you’ve done and gone too far.”
ME: You talk about Tater telling his story after a while. So, what do folks around here think of his story?
ANNA: Now, that’s a mighty interesting question! Of course, now, you know I learned from the best. Old Tater knows how to tell a story. Course, now, everybody around here knows he’ll knit you a yarn a mile long if you’ve got time to sit and listen to him. But now, old Tater, he loves to tell tall tales. So, there again, you just have to kind of take what he says and put it through the strainer, if you know what I mean, and just decide for yourself what you believe and what you don’t.
ME: So, tell us a little bit about Flapjack.
ANNA: (Laughs) Oh, that old dog, he’s something else. He’s always just kind of belonged to himself in a way. All I can say is, he plays a big part in our whole story, and I know a few things about old Flapjack that you don’t, so you just have to come back and listen to the story and see.
ME: Alright. So, tell me, what do you mean by “summer of the rose”?
ANNA: “Oh, well, that’s the whole romantic part of the story. Most of us have some kind of interesting story of how we met our true love. The rose plays an important part of my story. But then, I can’t tell you much more than that, you see. It would spoil the story. So, just come on back sometime and I’ll tell it to you. Well, I’m getting tired. I’m gonna go on back in there and rest a bit. But now, come on back, you hear? Come on back sometime soon, and I’ll sit here and tell you the whole thing. Believe you me. It’s a story you won’t soon forget. But now, just remember, if you mess around here long enough, Lady River out there, she knows you’re here, and she’ll soon come a callin’. If you’re like most folks have been, you won’t be able to ignore her. Everybody around here knows she’ll keep on a callin’ until she gets what she wants out of you.
ME: Well, Anna, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me and answer my questions. I’m sure folks will enjoy your story!
ANNA: Oh, you’re quite welcome! Come on back now, and I’ll tell you all about it! You be careful going back through them woods, now. That old river, she’ll take you on a trip you won’t believe if you mess around her long enough! Bye now, y’all come back!
ME: Good bye, Anna! We’ll be back for more of your stories!
We close that gate for now, and return to the present. Be sure to look for the second book in the series, coming soon, titled, “Return to the River, Scent of the Rose”. But don’t let “Anna” fool you. She’s just getting started!
Now, here for you is a short excerpt from the first chapter of “River of Secrets, Summer of the Rose”. Remember, here, Anna is talking to you:
“…The truth was, probably everyone had wondered about it at one time or other, maybe even talked about it. But they kept it quiet if they did.
As I sat there listening to Tater’s story, I began to think back to when I had been sitting on the river bank by the bridge earlier. That’s when it hit me, something I think I’d known, and probably everyone around there had, but no one wanted to admit. Or maybe most of us were afraid to. There were times when the wind would pick up a certain way, that there was just something about the way the water moved down stream that seemed almost as if it were enticing you to follow it. It was just something no one could really put their finger on, that made it seem the water itself had taken on a mysterious way about it that almost seemed to beckon you…
No one else seemed to notice when Flapjack suddenly lifted his head up, looked around, then got up and walked off, headed in that same direction he always took—no one but me that is…”