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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Writing Tips from Author Zane

1. Do a search for the word JUST. In 98% of the instances, the word should be deleted altogether. In another 1%, another word would be a better fit, such as MERELY, ONLY, SIMPLY, etc. In the last 1%, the word JUST actually makes sense. I have seen the word JUST in some books up to a dozen times on a single page and that is ridiculous.

2. When you use the terms Mom and Dad in dialogue, or if a character is referencing their mother or father, please capitalize them. I realize that sounds elementary but it took me 30 minutes to correct that problem alone.

3. The word BECAUSE is overused in most books. Most of the time the two thoughts need to be in two separate sentences.

4. I THINK, I KNOW, and I KNOW are overused as well. It is common sense that the person thinks or knows something and it makes the writing seem convoluted with unnecessary words.

5. Please make sure that within your dialogue, there is a comma between a statement and a character's name. For example: "I don't care what you say, Darlene." You would be surprised how many seasoned writers still do not know that.

6. Also, please do not write: "You are crazy," she laughed. A character cannot laugh out words, giggle out words, smirk out words, or chuckle out words. It should be two separate things. "You are crazy." She laughed.

7. Speaking of laughing, please do not fill up an entire page with back and forth dialogue that ends with HE LAUGHED, I LAUGHED, HE LAUGHED AGAIN, and I LAUGHED SOME MORE. Once you establish the tone of the conversation, being repetitive only irritates the reader.

8. If you are going to use a proper name, the name of a store, the name of a historical figure, the name of a song or album, or the name of liquor, PLEASE take two seconds out to Google it and make sure that you are spelling it correctly. I am amazed at how many writers will toss things in a book and not even confirm the spelling.

9. The word SAID is used way too much with the back and forth of I SAID, HE SAID, SHE SAID, etc. Instead of using that, include some descriptive movement. Even if you use descriptive movement, delete the SAID. For example, instead of "You never understand me," she said, sitting down on the sofa, you can write "You never understand me." She sat down on the sofa.

10. Make sure that increase your vocabulary instead of using the same catch phrases over and over again. In Word, you can easily highlight a word and click on synonyms to find an alternate suggestion.

11. Do not have all of your characters sound exactly alike. Pretend like you are in a room with several people and realize that they would not all be sitting there sounding exactly alike.

12. One of the most time-consuming issues is the misuse of tenses by a writer. I have seen writers go from past tense to present tense in the same sentence. Pick a tense that you are comfortable writing and stick to it.

13. When a character references a particular event or conversation, make sure that they would be privy to knowing the information. For example, Tom cannot describe what his wife and mother were discussing in the kitchen while he was outside taking out the trash.

14. Keep a separate character file, if you need to, that references all of the personal information or traits of each character. Make sure that they drive the same car in Chapter 5 that they were driving in Chapter 2 and that they have the same color eyes and hair throughout the book.

15. Make sure that the spelling of character names remains consistent. I have seen one character with his name spelled four different ways in the same manuscript.

16. Most importantly, take pride in your work and read it over, word for word (out loud if it helps) before you send it to an editor, an agent, a publisher, or heaven forbid, self-publish it.

I hope that this helps. The amount of time spent by editors cleaning up these BASIC mistakes is unbelievable. As the industry continues to change, both publishers and readers will become more selective on what they select to spend their time on. Why should someone dedicate their time to read or to fix a book if the writer did not care enough about their own work to spend extra time on it to make sure it was right? Do not place yourself out of the game before you even get started.

What is Traditional Publishing?

A traditional publisher hires editors who read your MS, which you send to them. They receive thousands of MSs each week. It may take up to 2 years before they get around to reading yours. After they read it, they either reject it or accept it. If they accept it, you well be sent a contact (and often with a recommendation that you go over the contract with your literary agent/lawyer before you sign it). Once you sign the contract and send it back, than the publisher's lawyer checks it to be certain that all is in order (and done legally). The publisher is given a "temporary copyright" allowing them to print and distribute your book to the public. In most cases, you still own the copyright, but while the book is in print from the publisher, you can't do anything with it until it goes out of print.

They hire an editor/typesetter to type set and spell check your MS. Cuts and additions are not unusual at this point. You the author have no control over this, and it is not unusual for an author to read the finished book and ask: "When the hell did I write this?" or "Where is that chapter I wrote on....?" Next they hire an artist to create the cover art. You the author has no control over this either. Finally, they distribute the book to bookstores worldwide. You never own them a cent. They pay you royalties. Some also pay with advances. Most do 100% of the marketing and promotion, as well. You the author are free to sit back and relax, while the publisher does the work, leaving you with plenty of time to write your next book. Something Self-published and Vanity Press authors can only dream of, while they are rushing about writing press releases, and hunting down places to sell their book.

What Is Self Publishing?

A self publisher, is an author who gets a business license, buys the ISBN #s, hires a printing press (print shop/printer) to print the books, than sells the books themselves. The author keeps 100% of the profits, because no one pays royalties; you keep 100% of the copyright. You market the book and distribute the book yourself through local bookstores, a personal Website, your blog, and on online bookstores such as Amazon.com.

Self-Publishing gets it's name from the fact that the author does everything themselves.

The author gets their book printed up in two common ways:

1) They hire a local or online print shop to print up the book all at once. Most printers require a 5,000-copy minimum, with cash up front, though it is common, for printers to require a minimum of 20,000 copies. Printing up your books in this manner, unfortunately requires the author to have a very large sum of money all at once. If you choose this method, be sure you have taken into account the cost of printing the book, which for most writers is rarely under $30,000 and often more than $200,000, and this money has to be paid to the printer BEFORE they will print up your book.

2.) The other method is to hire a print-on-demand printer. These may or may-not ask for money up front, depending on how they run their business. To find out more about print-on-demand, simply scroll down to the POD section of this article.

It should be noted, that regardless of the method you use to have your book printed, you are the publisher. The company that printed your book up, is just a printer and only a printer, never are they considered the publisher.

What is a writer? How Does a writer become an author?

A writer, simply put is one who writes. Everyone who writes on a regular basis is considered a writer whether or not they have ever been published.

Writers can mean those who write for newspapers or those who write fiction, those who write for medical journals, or those who write TV sitcom scripts. They all write. They all get Writer's Block. What is a writer?

A writer is someone who writes, probably every day or nearly so. Usually they feel compelled to write, as though they have no control over it. It is as though they will die if they cannot write something down. Their every fiber burns with the sensation, the uncontrollable passion, that they must put words to paper in order to survive. They feel every emotion their characters feel: the love, the pain, the horror, the fear, the anxiety, and the lust for adventure. They not only feel their characters, they become their characters. Everything in life sparks a new story idea. They awake at night from their sleep to jot down in notebooks. They are obsessed with the fever that is coming known as writing. That is a writer.

An author however, is generally perceived as a writer who has been published. For some writers, it is enough that they write, publishing their work is not their goal. For most writers, however, the goal is to become a published author. The trick is being published.

IMPORTANT info for first-time self-publishers!

Many self-publishers are also first-time publishers with little or no knowledge of the laws regarding copyrights, ISBN, EAN, and other such things. All those online sites can confuse those new to publishing. Problem is, many sites offering, "advise" to new self-publishers are run by scam artists seeking to make a quick profit and leave you hanging. How can you avoid being caught in their snares?

1.) NEVER pay money to buy a copyright! If you wrote the book, you own the copyright.

2.) NEVER buy an ISBN from anyone other than ISBN.org themselves! They are the ONLY ones who can assign your book an ISBN.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

  • Umoja (Unity): To strive for and to maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race.
  • Kujichagulia (Self-Determination): To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves, and speak for ourselves.
  • Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility): To build and maintain our community together and make our brothers' and sisters' problems our problems, and to solve them together.
  • Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics): To build and maintain our own stores, shops, and other businesses and to profit from them together.
  • Nia (Purpose): To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.
  • Kuumba (Creativity): To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.
  • Imani (Faith): To believe with all our hearts in God, our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders, and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Hardest Working African-American Woman in America

video


I'm so proud of my friend Tequila we've been friends since the 6th grade, it's an honor to watch her grow for a pig tailed 6th grader to an outstanding career woman, mother and wife. She was picked by Essence magazine as the "Hardest African-American Woman in America" Check out the January 2013 issue to read about my life long friend.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

HOLIDAY SALE!!!!!

For the month of December download: THAT'S HOW I LIKE IT!, DANGEROUSLY and BLOOD BROTHERS for $.99 eBOOK ONLY (NOOK AND KINDLE)

HOLIDAY SALE!!!!

For the month of December download: THAT'S HOW I LIKE IT!, DANGEROUSLY and BLOOD BROTHERS for $.99 eBOOK ONLY (NOOK AND KINDLE)

HOLIDAY SALE!!!!

For the month of December download: THAT'S HOW I LIKE IT!, DANGEROUSLY and BLOOD BROTHERS for $.99 eBOOK ONLY (NOOK AND KINDLE)

Friday, November 30, 2012

"The Gospel According To Mark" which is due to be released at the end of 2012!

When you find yourself struggling to smile...distracted by doubt or worry...put ALL things into perspective & ALWAYS remember--THERE IS ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS SOMETHING TO BE THANKFUL FOR!! CHOOSE to make it a great day...just because you can! Continued Blessings friends & fam!! Much Love Mark L. Pippen is on twitter @MarkLPippen and FB Mark L Pippen.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

"The Gospel According To Mark" which is due to be released at the end of 2012!

CHOOSE CAREFULLY the reasons & the ways that you determine the people that you want close to you. Everything that glitters isn't gold. There will always be "images" that you can admire. But you never know what a beautifully wrapped package holds until you look inside. God made each of us a whole person--created to be beautiful inside and outside. Do you focus as much on who you REALLY are as you focus on how you appear? THE THINGS YOU SAY, THINK & DO WILL ALWAYS (GENUINELY) SPEAK FOR YOU. You were created in the image of GREATNESS? Are you doing your best to LIVE that way? Mark L. Pippen is on twitter @MarkLPippen and FB Mark L Pippen.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

"The Gospel According To Mark" which is due to be released at the end of 2012!

BE THANKFUL FOR ALL YOU HAVE. You’re here! You’re Blessed! Why envy what someone else has? You never know what they might be going through! Don’t block YOUR blessings by being ungrateful, envious or jealous. Where is your FAITH? Do you TRUST God’s WISDOM…or yours? Get out of His way! Be diligent! He sees & hears ALL; are you doing YOUR part? Does He OWE you ANYTHING at all? Live well/Love well! ~Peace/Love/Respect~ Mark L. Pippen is on twitter @MarkLPippen and FB Mark L Pippen.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

FEATURED AUTHOR: Mark L. Pippen

Mark L. Pippen is a native of Durham, North Carolina. Years of experience in hospitality management led him to Newark, New Jersey, in 2001 where he currently resides. Career accomplishments came quickly. But his desire to offer encouragement and support to people always left him feeling that there was something more helpful he could be doing. As years passed he continued to seek an opportunity that would allow him to feel a sense of higher purpose. In the meantime he became a "workaholic." Hereditary factors combined. His health was adversely affected. He was rushed to the hospital on several occasions. Medical professionals advised that it was imperative that he make lifestyle changes to reduce his stress level. Mark made the difficult decision to leave employment in the public sector to focus on stabilizing and improving his health. "Everything happens for a reason" were the words of consolation many people offered. For over two years the reason eluded him. During that period Mark found comfort, strength and determination in Spirituality and renewed Faith. He had always been taught to look at the bright side. He realized how fortunate he was in spite of his challenges. He began expressing and exchanging experiences, perspectives and beliefs using social media. Fellowship, networking and writing replaced his prior passions. Finally, he began to feel that he reaching hearts and touching lives. Encouragement poured in for him to publish a motivational book. He is currently excited to be working on his first project titled "The Gospel According To Mark" which is due to be released at the end of 2012! Mark L. Pippen is on twitter @MarkLPippen and FB Mark L Pippen.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Unexpected Truth

Your perfect relationship, yeah the one that you thought would never go wrong.....Even if your relationship is strong and perfect, you can still break up. Things can go wrong in a blink of an eye, Phoenix found this out the hard way. Phoenix Brown has been dealt a bad hand in life. Born in Cleveland, Ohio to an absentee father and drug-addicted mother, Phoenix learned at a young age the meaning of survival. She witnessed her brother’s life taken at the hands of a local drug dealer and also how the streets took over her mother’s life. Phoenix was determined that her past would not predict her future. After graduating high school she enrolled in college, where she met and married the love of her life. However, she did not encounter the marital bliss she had hoped for when she learned of her husband’s indiscretions with a love child on the way. Devastated by the news, Phoenix’s self-esteem is completely down. Not ready to give up on her marriage, Phoenix takes matters into her own hands, by confronting her husband at work with regards to his selfish decisions about love, life and marriage. One wrong turn lands Phoenix in the one place she could never imagine being…in jail. UNEXPECTED TRUTH by Makenzi is available in paperback and eBook

Monday, September 3, 2012

Makenzi's Commitment to Writing

I don’t write every day. I don't stick to a daily schedule like most writers do. I don't sit at my computer creating characters, scenes or plots like most writers do on a daily basis. I do not get up early in the morning or stay up late at night writing. I take breaks, days, weeks and sometimes even months between working on my novels. Yes, my progress is slow. Yes, it’s frustrating. But I keep plugging away, and my goals remain the same, I'm a committed writer. There are just some writers that will reach their goals before I do. I don't write in order. I don’t create an outline of the story before I begin. I have a mental idea of how I want my stories to flow but for the most part I don’t know what’s going to happen when the words leave my head. I love each and everyone of my characters, they guide the story by telling me who they are and where they want to go. They bring out the hiding secrets of their own lives, gossip about their friends, the mistakes they've made, successes in their lives, exes, mistresses and love children. Sometimes I start from the beginning, jump to the middle and then come back to the beginning. I don’t write the entire book, then go back to the beginning to re-write that doesn’t work for me. I edit as I go along and continue to edit until I’m happy with the way the words flow on the page. Writing is a commitment, but it’s different for everyone. Our schedules, our pre-writing rituals, our methods, our processes differ from author to author, writer to writer. This is what makes us as writers unique. We think, we observe, we feel, then we write it down, hoping we will satisfy our loyal readers. So even when I’m not writing, I observe what’s going on around me, everyday. I’m listening to conversations I overhear and even take mental notes on the conversations that people bring to me. I observe how people operate, interactions between and among others and my own reactions to circumstances. I am committed to writing but my writing style and time frames are not like others. Makenzi

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Makenzi's Goodreads Contest

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Unexpected Truth by Makenzi

Unexpected Truth

by Makenzi

Giveaway ends September 16, 2012.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Book signing @ Lake Anna Winery


 Lake Anna Winery

Saturday August 25th  5-8 p.m.
ACE Blues & BBQ Fundraiser/ Adult Community Education
Lake Anna Winery, 5621 Courthouse Road  Spotsylvania, VA 22551

I will be there signing Unexpected Truth....come out to Lake Anna Winery for wine tasting, live band, food and more


Adult Community Education (ACE) returns to kick up some fun with local musicians “BlueRock”. $30.00 fee includes souvenir wine glass, wine tasting, dinner, and entertainment. Lots of surprises in store for the evening along with auction items.

The Literary Industry's Worst Trends List

THE INDUSTRY'S WORST TRENDS LIST

The Internet is the next best thing to sliced bread!  With the explosion of the Internet, businesses and industries have had to adapt and evolve with the progression of technology.  For example, social networking sites have become hugely popular within the literary industry and used in the promotion of authors, publishing houses, editing services, and book clubs. Maximum exposure is received due to the masses that frequent these sites leading to better sales.  Unfortunately, with the good comes the bad. Along with that growing number of sales and exposure, it seems professionalism, common sense, courtesy, and manners have gone down hill.  Readers have again weighed in with...THE INDUSTRY'S WORST TRENDS LIST.   

Facebook
Posting to groups and not interacting with the members or adding to a discussion.
Friending others and immediately posting links to "like" a page.
Authors posting every review for their book in Facebook groups.
Adding others to groups without permission.
Soliciting books sales through inbox messages that include several others.  When one person replies, everyone receives that reply.
Authors posting on the pages of other’s while others can’t post on theirs.
Responding to any and every post, note, or status with information about their book or a sales pitch.

General Behavior
Authors going rogue, assuming they are “hated on” when a reader shares their opinion.
Aspiring authors not doing their homework before signing with a publisher or paying for publishing industry advice. Not
everyone is reputable.
Authors providing blurbs or reviews for books they have not read.
Responding to anyone that didn’t like/love a book with, “But so-and-so liked it.”
Authors believing they are royalty or rock stars.

Reviews/Review Requests
Authors who haven't taken the time to get reviews for their very first book in a series but want reviews for the subsequent parts.
Books accepted for review but the author/publisher/publicist never sends it with zero follow-up.
Authors posting their own reviews for their books, posing as a random reader.
Asking for and providing a book for review, but ignoring the review (& reviewer) if it is not what the author wanted (5
stars).
Authors with unrealistic review timeframe expectations. 
Unprofessional review requests.
Negative behavior in response to reviews.
Submitting books for review and not acknowledging the review or saying thank you.
Removing reviews or asking readers/reviewers to remove reviews AFTER a book has been re-edited.
Sending ARCs/galleys for review that are in terrible condition or that do not reflect the story that went to print. (ARC ends one way, published book ends another way.)
Stating that a book is an ARC or galley so that errors will be taken into consideration when the book is the same book anyone can purchase.
An author expecting everyone to feel their book is a 5-star read.
Confusing constructive criticism with hate.

Book Quality
There still are authors who don't respect the craft enough to have their book properly edited.
Authors seem to think if there are any plus size characters in a book, their size always has to be the main part of the book.
Authors using plus size female characters as the ones with self-esteem issues, domestic/mental abuse victim, and/or the one that can't find a man.
Sequels, trilogies and series.  Most are not necessary and it takes a very skilled author to pull this off. But now we have
brand new authors just looking for a way to garner extra money off of one story, instead of coming up with a new storyline.
A book title or synopsis that does not reflect the story.
Constant references to brand names or songs.
A plot twist with absolutely no lead up.
In conclusion, if the value of your reputation is important to you and the acceptance of your work is to be respected, then professionalism, including social media etiquette, should be applied in all you do.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Show vs.Tell in Fiction Writing

Anyone who has ever written or read a fiction book knows there should be more show than tell. Fiction is all about forging an emotional link between the author and the reader. Readers are drawn into visual, one of the best ways to do this is by creating vivid images that immerse readers in the world of the fiction by not merely telling readers what’s happening, but showing it to them.

Let the Reader See It…
Basically, the distinction is this: telling merely catalogs actions and emotions, showing creates images in a reader’s imagination. It’s the difference between the grocery list and the groceries. Don’t overuse adverbs. The stronger verb eliminates the need for the “telling” adverb.

Use Strong Verbs…
 As writers we typically have a fair number of verbs from which to choose to describe any given action. If you’re set on making a sentence come to life, break out your thesaurus and dig around for the most vivid verbs you can find.

Let Readers Feel For Themselves…
Beware, too, of sentences that seem to tell the reader how to feel, particularly when writing in the third person.

Let the Dialogue Speak for Itself…
The content of dialogue, too, is a useful “showing” tool. It can give readers insight into a character’s intelligence and level of sophistication, can hint at his background and even suggest something about his self-image. If you want a character to seem intelligent, let her say intelligent things. If a man’s not well educated, keep his vocabulary comparatively simple (though not necessarily the content of his speech — he might be highly intelligent but simply lack linguistic sophistication…). Don’t tell your reader that a character is inarticulate, show that character struggling to find the right words to express himself. You can do so even through simple interactions. While dialect and regional clich├ęs should, of course, be used sparingly, they often prove quite useful in showing readers qualities in a story’s characters, minor and major. Used well, they can also help delineate characters in a reader’s mind, making the whole narrative more vivid.

On the Other Hand…
There are, however, a few good arguments for telling, at least once in a while. The best is simple shortness. Showing almost always takes a good deal more words than does telling, and if an event is comparatively unimportant, you may want to mention it only in passing. (Of course if it’s really unimportant, you should probably consider simply leaving it out.) Likewise, if a character is recounting events with which the reader is already well-familiar, you may want to gloss over it with a tell line:
Jane explained what had happened.
You might decide that allowing the reader to hear some or all of the familiar events in Jane’s voice is worth repeating what the reader already knows, in which case — go for it. If not, this quick line gets the job done and allows you to move on to more immediate, active scenes.
Another, more treacherous argument for telling rather than showing is that telling is less emotionally charged — and therefore less emotionally manipulative. Certainly a litany of events — stripped of strong verbs and adjectives and the emotional baggage they inevitably carry with them — leaves more room for the reader to render his or her own opinion.

The Last Word(s)…
Vivid writing grabs readers’ attention and draws them into your story — and showing your audience the action you create is a vital aspect of vivid storytelling. So, in order to avoid the pitfalls of “telling” rather than “showing,” remember these points:
• Use strong, specific verbs, and avoid overusing adverbs.
• Provoke emotion through character reactions and vivid writing, don’t simply tell readers how to feel.
• Use well-placed details to bring scenes to life.
• Use expressive dialogue to show characters’ emotions and attitudes.
Keep these notions in mind and your writing is sure to be more powerful and compelling, the sort of thing that will keep readers coming back for more.


Hope this help with your future writing goals.

Enjoy,

Makenzi

Friday, August 3, 2012

LIVE LOVE LAUGH

Yesterday marked the 9th year that my cousin Christopher passed away. Even though yesterday was the day he passed today was the day I will never forget. Today was the day I received a phone call that will be forever etched in my mind, heart and soul. I was in Philadelphia, spending the weekend with a so-called friend celebrating her bachlorette party, the start of her new life, when in fact in Florida the life of another newlywed couple was ending. We had been out the night before parting and drinking, enjoying ourselves, living life. I was awaken the next morning by a piercing ring, I could not for the life of me, figure out what this sound was or where the sound was coming from. Let me remind you again I had been out partying and drinking the night before so my mind was not focused at that moment.

When I was able to gain control of the situation and realize that the piercing sound was the roaming feature on my cell phone, I quickly answered not expecting or prepared for what was about to be said to me.(my cousin) "Kay, Chris is dead"  (me) "What"   (my cousin) "Chris is dead"..... I was speechless, was this a joke, hell NO, it's not, I don't think there is a human being walking who is that cruel to make up a story about their husband being dead. I jumped out the bed, not sure of my surroundings because I was currently sleeping in a foreign place, a entire state away from my home in Cleveland Ohio.  I can't tell you what was said after that point but all I remember saying is "I'm on my way"....I woke everyone up in that house, I had to get out of there. I didn't care what the plane ticket would cost me, my cousin was experiencing something very traumatic and I was not about to allow her to go through this alone.

It took me pretty much all day to travel from Philadelphia to Pensacola, Florida, it was a Saturday so there was limited flights landing into Pensacola but I was determined to get there. A lot of the details are foggy to me but I remember sitting in several airports waiting as a standby alone crying. I couldn't call anyone because on top of everything, my cell phone had no battery life (damn). I remember sitting in a corner staring off into space trying to put some type of understanding on what was happening but I couldn't, Chris was no longer with us. A church group was sitting in the same waiting area as I and a few of them came over to comfort me and pray with me.  The ticket counter probably was so tired of listening to me cry, he kept looking over at me and eventually he called me up to the counter and advised me he had a open seat for me. First Class!!!!

When I boarded the plane I remember sitting next to this white guy who told me he was a rapper and that his grandmother had recently passed away and he was on his way to Florida to attend her funeral. we exchanged stories all the way to Pensacola. Once I arrived to Pensacola my cousin picked me up in this swooped up car,  I never questioned or asked whose car it was, I just hoped in and we drove off.  There was a lot of silence, I know neither one of us knew exactly what to say or how to say it.

After being in Pensacola for about 4 days helping my cousin and both of their moms, finalize everything to have Chris shipped back to Cleveland. I traveled back to Cleveland a few hours before my cousin because she wanted to fly on the same flight that the Military was shipping her husband on. I will not continue with events that happened but just know that life is very precious. My cousin never knew when her husband left out the door to hang out with his friends, that would be the last time they would lock eyes on each other.    LIVE LOVE LAUGH

Makenzi

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Shady Business: Are YOU being PLAYED??? By: Drica Armstrong

I read the below on a fellow authors blog and she allowed me to share...even though we have no control over other peoples action the information that Drica expressed below is very helpful and informative. 


Shady Business: Are YOU being PLAYED???
            How can one spot when they have been played for a fool? Most of the times you discover you have been played when everything is said and done, after the fact. I unfortunately know how it feels to be played and made a fool of. There are things that an author, old or new, should do prior to getting involved with anyone who intends to help you build up your brand or sell your books. Some publishers may approach you are looking someone to help them make money. This could be beneficial to you and that publisher but it is always best to get another opinion about the situation. Let me give a real life example that actually happened to me…..
Co-Writes
            Some authors that need to get experience are sought out by publishers who need people to write for them. You have to be aware of what you are signing up for. Just so you know a publisher who wants to publish your work should be paying for the expenses that come with producing a book. In my case, I sent my manuscript to a publisher, and that publisher loved my work so much that instead of publishing my manuscript the publisher wanted me to co write a book with them. I agreed. When doing a co-write with a publisher, there are a few ways this can done. A publisher can either pay all the expenses and giving you a percentage or you and that publisher can split the cost, and you get equal rights and say so for the production of the book. I got NOTHING.
            The publisher asked me for half of certain expenses but was aware of my financial difficulties at the time. It would have been beneficial for the publisher to do one of three things: A) pay for all expenses and modify my contract so that instead of me getting 50% royalties and copyright, I would receive some or no copyright and would get a percentage of royalties B) put the project on hold until my finances were better or C) inform me that they decided to go with another author. None of these options were pursued. The publisher sold me on the idea that we would make all decisions together, but this was never the case. The publisher was making decisions then asking me to pay for them. This is unfair, and I didn’t want to pay for anything I had NO say so in. The conclusion of my story is that this publisher is currently in a lot of legal trouble. Our book, or should I say her book with both of our names on it, sold VERY well. I, however, didn’t see any profit from the sales of the book. Even though I didn’t lose any money from this deal, but I lost the time I spent writing it as well as my ego taking a hit.
            Don’t ever be afraid to do your research about any publisher’s business dealings with other authors or people in the industry. When we started working together, this publisher was well-known but no one had complaints about the work that was being produced by this person.
            I say all of this to say that anyone could be taken advantage of by someone who sees a quick hustle. It’s ok to admit when you have been made a fool of. I was made a fool of, but I am now moving on from this ordeal.

Above is from Drica's Corner: dricascorner.tumblr.com

Saturday, June 9, 2012

What makes a successful Bestselling Author

Nine Characteristics That May Surprise You By Dee Power

1. Perseverance Is Key

Nearly all best-selling authors faced the same struggles early in their careers that less successful, even unpublished authors face. Immediate success is rare. One distinction of best-selling authors is that they do not get as discouraged by lack of early success. They persevere. Their desire to succeed is enormous. Best-selling authors often have to demonstrate the patience and stamina to write a number of books before achieving notable success.

2. They Write, and Write and Write.

The productivity, the writing output, of best-selling authors is much greater than the average writer's. They have the discipline to get up each day and produce high quality work. They don't wait for the muse to tap them on the shoulder.

3. They Like To Write and Write and Write

They would rather write than do anything else. It's not just that successful authors are more disciplined, though that is part of it; they simply enjoy writing more than other writers do. Many aspiring authors enjoy the idea of writing, not the hard work itself. Best-selling authors seem to thrive on the hard work, and they work much harder than we might suppose.

4. Promotion Is Constant

Best-selling authors never stop promoting their books, no matter how successful they get. Many still market at the grassroots level, not just through national TV or radio interviews. They take the time to visit and meet individual bookstore managers at both chain stores and independents. They never relax and believe they have "made it."

5. Marketing Is Critical

Even if they have never taken a business course in college, they have an innate sense of marketing concepts such as brand building and product differentiation. They closely watch trends in the literary marketplace. They understand what it is about their books that readers respond favorably to. They take a strategic approach to their careers and they realize that much more goes into being a successful author than the writing itself.

6. Fans Are an Important Asset

Best-selling authors listen closely to what their readers say, and try very hard to meet or exceed their fans' expectations, but they do not necessarily pay close attention to what reviewers or book critics say. They don't even necessarily expect good reviews. Word of mouth support from readers and booksellers is more important to them than reviews.

7. The More Success the More Pressure

Best-selling authors face more pressure as they get more successful. As they rise to the top, there are increasing demands on their time. Top authors lead three very different lives. First, the quiet, solitary, scholarly life of being a writer. Then participating in the team effort within the publishing house to make the book the best book it can be. This involves learning how to take advice from and collaborate with the professionals within the publishing house. Finally, authors must participate in the very public life of trying to sell books to the mass audience. They have to master all three lives if they intend to continue to achieve best-seller status.

8. They're Grateful

Best-selling authors are keenly aware how fortunate they are to have arrived at the top of their profession. They sincerely appreciate their loyal readers. They recognize that they have been chosen to receive a strikingly rare, special distinction by a bustling, competitive marketplace. The success, fame, and financial rewards that have come to them are often beyond the most extravagant dreams they had when they first sat down to write a book.

9. There Is No Single Profile for A Best-selling Author

Best-selling authors are seldom the top graduates from prestigious university writing programs. Writing may have been a second or third career for them, and the publishing industry values authors who bring life experience to their work, in fiction or nonfiction. Best-selling authors span all age groups, many different professions, and varied educational backgrounds. There is no single profile for what a best-selling author looks like.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Unexpected Truth Prologue

    Where Phoenix lived people didn’t dream of becoming doctors, lawyers, teachers or professional athletes. The people in her neighborhood dreamt about making it to the next day alive. Phoenix experienced a lot of bad times during her childhood years, and learned that even though there were areas in her life that needed improvement, it didn’t mean she was a failure. Every day, Phoenix was told by men how beautiful she was, yet she knew she was not a movie star or model. She was just your average girl who grew up in the ghetto. Looks weren’t everything. The outer surface told only a part of Phoenix’s story. What lied beneath was what really mattered.
Today, Phoenix’s life will change. The past few months had been rough for her, not knowing what her future held. She was unsure how to handle what had been happening in her life. This was the day that she had anxiously been dreading, her meeting at the Cuyahoga County Court at 9:00 a.m., court room 18-A. For court, Phoenix searched her closet for the perfect attire: a black Calvin Klein pant suit, a pink shirt and a pair of black BCBG pumps.
In the townhouse where she’d been residing for the last three years, Phoenix stepped out of the hot steaming shower, wrapped her wet hair in a towel turban, and slipped on her plush terrycloth bathrobe. She stood at the double-sink vanity, and wiped her hand across the mirror so she could peer at her reflection. She was mentally in pain. Butterflies grew in her stomach as she looked into the mirror, hoping to see the image of the person that was no longer inside her. Phoenix wanted to cry, but she knew she had a long road ahead of her and crying wouldn’t change the situation. She crossed the line. The damage was done.
“I’m going to get over this hurdle in my life,” Phoenix spoke to the image that looked her straight in her eyes with a worried expression on her face. As Phoenix stood in the bathroom, she also thought about a meeting she had a few weeks ago with her attorney Anthony Lombardi.
“Tell me straight up, am I going to jail?” Phoenix had nervously asked as she glanced around Mr. Lombardi’s office trying to avoid eye contact.
“Oh yeah, for sure,” her lawyer had responded. “But for how long, that I don’t know. That’s up to the judge to decide. That’s why it’s very important that you make a great impression on the judge.”
For a split second, the thought had entered into Phoenix’s head—illegally leave the country and start a new life. She wasn’t looking forward to the flavorless food, waking up early in the morning, and sitting around all day. She was not the type of person who enjoyed sitting around doing nothing. She was a mover and shaker. She knew if she left town or the country, the police and the bail bondsmen would be looking for her. Plus, she would constantly have to look over her shoulder while on the run. However, the main reason she could not and would not leave was because she just couldn’t leave her friends and family behind, especially since they had put the collateral up on her bond.
Phoenix took a deep breath as she covered her face. Swallowing hard, she tried to hold back her tears, but inside, she was crying like a baby.
“Are you okay, Phoenix?” her attorney had asked. Phoenix did not respond; instead, she looked up at her attorney as tears started rolling down her face.
“No.”
      Phoenix shuffled out of her attorney’s office with her head held down. She felt hopeless and helpless thinking about the information her attorney had just given her. As she sat in her car, she had screamed out loud “How did I let myself get in this shit?”

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Authors’ Day

 Newport News - Where great things are happening


 
Newport News Library, will host a Local Authors’ Day as part of the 2012 Adult Summer Reading Program. Participating published and self-published authors will have a table set up to sell and sign books and talk to patrons.  I will be at the Bailey Library, 2510 Wickham Avenue, Newport News, VA 23601 July 21st 2-5 p.m signing my novel Unexpected Truth.....Come out I would love to meet you!!!!!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Short Story By Mike O

Trapped in the Trunk
By: Mikeo

Starting to regain consciousness, my eye lids cracked open a little only to see darkness. My hands were duct taped behind my back and my feet were bound also. Curled up in the fetal position, my head was killing me, and dried blood on my lashes made it that much harder for me to open my eyes just to not see anything. The stench of the fresh blood still pouring from the left side of my head singed my nose hairs, with the hint of new car smell, and the sound of wheels turning on the pavement let me know I was in a bad predicament. The last thing I remember was stepping outside the car to take a piss, and now I’m here, tied up in the trunk of some strangers’ car. “How the fuck did I end up in the trunk? “ I asked myself, and then it all became clear.

She walked in the club, turning heads left and right, but the way she sashayed those hips to the bar made me tell myself, “I’m waking up beside her with my boxers on the floor.”  She was a cherry red complexion, with curves dangerous enough to crash at the slightest turn. Her shoe game was on point, Jimmy Choo on would be my guess on the heels noticing the red bottoms , and the black leggings that hugged the size 7 bottom frame was anybodies guess on what the label inside would read. The black baby tee read ‘BeBe’ in white letters stretched across a pair 34 D’s that bounced nicely as her heels tip toed towards me. I had to say something.

“Hey, how you doing? Before I even get started on asking you your name, can I interest you in a drink?”  I asked pointing towards the bar, hinting that seat beside me should be occupied by her.

“I’m good. Sure I could go for a drink. Is anybody sitting here?”

“It is now,” I swiveled the black leather bar stool her way so she could have a seat.

The way she smelled hinted that she splashed Armani on herself before she walked out the house. Her hair was long, silky, and jet black draping down her back at least 6” past her shoulder blades.  Her teeth were immaculate, shining a bright white and all straight as she smiled while resting her body in the seat beside me.

“So what you drinking on,” I asked, but quickly added, “Oh, I didn’t happen to catch your name.”

“Princess, and I’ll have a shot of Patron and a Heineken.”

“Bartender! Can you get me a double shot of Patron, a Heineken, and another Grey Goose and Pineapple,” I said to pretty lady behind the bar leaning in so she could get my order straight.

“Princess huh?” I asked bringing my attention back to the lovely lady seated next to me.
Now that name was familiar to me for some reason, but the beautiful almond pupils I stared into let me know I never laid eyes on this sexy beast beside me. But why did I know her name?

“Yeah, and your name is?”

“Mike O, or you can just call me Mike for short.”

“Mike O? What does the O stand for?”

“I don’t know,” I shrugged, “my partners started calling me that a few years back and I guess it just stuck with me. So were you from Princess?”

“I’m from NY. I been here for a couple of years though,” She answered back.

I knew she wasn’t from this shitty little country town, and her accent when she first opened her mouth let me know she was from up top. NY girls’ accents drive me wild, and my dick was begging me to keep talking my way into her panties, if she even had any on.

“Word, that’s wassup. I’m from here, but I’m not like these other niggas around here. I be about my paper.”

“Oh yeah,” she seemed to perk up with interest, “What is that you do?”

“I’m a contractor,” I lied, but I didn’t lie.

I really am a contractor, but that’s not all I do. I couldn’t just be telling her I moved cocaine from state to state, Interstate Trafficking. I had to keep all that to myself, or so I thought 

“Damn, did she know who I was before she even came in the bar? I asked myself snapping back to reality realizing I’m still in a trunk. I had to keep thinking to make sense of the situation, so I drifted back off.

“So how about we get up out of here, and go grab a late night breakfast at Ihop?” I asked her after conversing with her all night in the club not paying anybody else any attention.

“Sure why not. I stay right around the corner. Can you follow me to my house so I can drop my car off?” She asked placing her freshly manicured hands on my chest as we stood in the parking lot next to our vehicles.

“Yeah I can do that,” I answered hitting the security alarm on the sleek all black BMW 745, sitting on 22” chrome wheels that was stagnant in the parking lot waiting on daddy to come out.

“That’s a nice car,” she replied getting into the candy red Nissan Maxima beside me.

“Thanks, I appreciate that, I’m following you!” I yelled out over the top of the car and hopped inside and cranked by baby up.

The music immediately started cranking through the speakers with Jeezy yelling in the speakers, “Trap or die nigga!” as the bass dropped, and I put the car in reverse to follow Princess to her crib. She didn’t drive fast, and made sure she stopped at every light so she wouldn’t lose me. The whole ride I was thinking, “Damn I’m gone get this sexy muthafucka back to the player pad after we finish eating.”

We pulled on to her street, which was a dead end street ducked off in a neighborhood I really wasn’t comfortable being in, but the 40 cal under the seat dared a nigga to run up and try me. She pulled into her driveway, and I sat outside on the street.

“I’m coming! Give me a second,” she called out strutting towards the front door.

“Aye can I piss real quick?” I rolled my window down trying to ask, but she disappeared into the house as quickly as she hopped out the car.

Damn, I got to piss. Let me run over here in these bushes real quick and piss,” I said to myself, and hopped out the car, leaving the gun sitting in the car.

I was bopping my head to the music playing with my door open, as I whipped my dick out to take a piss. The feeling felt so good relieving myself, I leaned my head back, closed my eyes, and now I’m inside this trunk reeking of piss. The more I looked around as my eyes starting to settle in the dark, I realized, “I’m in the trunk of my own car.”

The movement of the car finally stopped, the brakes squeaked as the car came to a halt, and the engine died. I heard a door close, and my heart began racing anticipating what was in store for me. I heard the key slide in the key hole, and as it turned and released the latch, the trunk flew open. I was inside a basement, and the light blinded me as the chocolate bald headed figure reached in to grab me, and pull me out the trunk.

“Come on here nigga, let me get you situated real quick,” The voice called out to me and I knew that Karma was fucking me good right here, right now.

When my vision returned, I looked into the face of the man standing over me after he dropped me on the ground shutting the trunk behind me. It was him.

Damn, I knew this nigga was gone catch up to me one day. I ride around strapped to stay out of situations like this, and this nigga caught me slipping. Now I know where I remember Princess from. That was the bitch that my nigga tied up in the other room while I had this nigga at gunpoint removing brick after brick out of his safe, then knocked his ass out and bounced. I knew I should have killed that nigga when I had the chance. Now this nigga got my life in his hands, and I know I’m not bout to make it out of this shit. I should have known better than to trust a big butt and smile. That bitch was poison and I let her bait me into this shit. FUCK,” I thought as I finally realized what the fuck I was doing tied up in the trunk….

By: Mike O

Mike O is the author of: 

Book Trailers

Steps To Build A Successful Book Trailer


Do you believe that you have a great book but you just cannot get your work known? Millions readers surf the internet daily looking for a great read to download.
Because Society has gone digital the way an author will find success in promoting and selling their publication is by building book trailers to market their books.
However often times because of limited time the most successful book trailers are usually short, from 30 seconds to definitely less than three minutes the trailer should be full of graphics that will catch the visual eye.
By creating a book trailer the author is adding a visual affect to a written book the reader reacts to your book as if it were a movie.
As a reader we are reading to relax and visualize in our mind a compelling story that interest us. By having a movie trailer the reader has already started building the visual affect in their mind.
In this day and time many people are visual they would rather feel the excitement of a book unfolding before their eyes. A trailer intrigues the reader to the content of the book.
To have a successful Book trailer it must be compelling, interesting, spend the time to build your trailer to be full of humor and thrill seeking surprises.
The good news is that book trailers are easier to distribute and more entertaining to potential readers than, say, sending out sample chapters or a synopsis. In fact, this ease and entertainment factor is likely the key as to why book trailers have become so popular.
When building your book trailer carefully consider the criteria and content before creating a book trailer. After all, many other book promotion tools exist, from blogs to bookstore signings to speaking engagements. But if you can create a book trailer cheaply, with quality, and make others aware of it then you have beat the old traditional way of book advertisements.
If you are a self publisher then your time is consumed with many other obligations so let your advertisement be spread by campaigns of trailers. By writing a blog about your book and then adding a book trailer to it the author has enhanced his/her visibility to their work by linking your book trailer to twitter, face books, you tube and the other various free networking site the author has just made themselves visible to potentially thousands of readers.
Keep promoting your trailer by back linking it. Drive traffic to your trailer with these links and then watch your sales double

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Blood Brothers....available on eBook only

Get Your eBook Copy Today 
Available on Amazon.com and 
Barnes and Noble.com


Life in the fast lane can get you killed. Kory Banks learned this first hand after his best friend was murder with no arrest and no suspects. 

Kory knew leaving the street life behind was his only choice but the problem is he isn't ready to begin the difficult and daunting process of ending his hustler lifestyle and everything that came along with it. 

Will Kory make the right decision when he enters into an environment he really isn't ready for?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Mastering Scene Transitions

Mastering Scene Transitions

on December 16th, 2010 by Fiction Editor Beth Hill and last modified on February 14, 2011
pencil in handA scene transition takes characters and readers to a new location, a new time, or a new point of view. Transitions can also be used to show a character’s change in heart or frame of mind.
Transitions are important in fiction because the writer can’t possibly portray or account for every moment in a character’s day, week, or life. A story may stretch over years—readers don’t need to know what happened every minute of those years.
So, we use scene transitions to skip periods of time or to change to a new location in the story, glossing over events that happen between the new and old times or locations.
Scene Change, New Chapter
Scene transitions can be seamlessly inserted at the beginnings of chapters since readers expect a transition between chapters. In fact, you don’t need to write a detailed transition if you ended the previous chapter with a teaser of what’s to come.
Take this example:
He couldn’t wait to see his brother’s expression when he showed up at the wedding with Paul’s hated ex-wife.
If this is the end of chapter three, chapter four can easily begin at the wedding with little explanation or description, especially if the writer has already provided details about the place and time of the wedding. Even if he hasn’t, we only need a simple setup:
Mark walked into the hotel’s ballroom, his former sister-in-law on his arm. He smiled when he saw his brother’s smile freeze into a gremlin’s glare.
Of course, the setup at the end of chapter three could be for a scene that’s delayed and chapter four could take us somewhere completely unexpected. In which case, a clear scene transition is needed.
Paul stood before his office window, tossing his lucky baseball from hand to hand. He knew his brother Mark had something planned, something that would shock or alarm him. But Mark hadn’t tipped his hand. If he was going to do it, whatever it was, before Paul left for his honeymoon, it would have to be soon. The wedding was in five hours. Certainly even Mark wouldn’t embarrass him at his wedding.
Scene transitions need to identify place, time, and viewpoint character, especially if there’s been a change in any of the three. If the new scene has a change in mood or tone, that should also be established right away.
If the viewpoint character has changed, identify the new viewpoint character right off by naming him.
Time and place can be established in any number of ways. By
  • naming the place
  • describing the place
  • describing the event
  • mentioning the time or day or date
  • showing a character doing something we already knew he’d be doing at a set time or in a particular place
Scene changes within chapters
Not all scene changes occur between chapters. Sometimes you need a scene change within a chapter.
For a visual aid, add ###, centered on a line, to indicate a scene transition in a manuscript. (Such symbols are often changed to extra line spaces in printed books.)
Use the techniques mentioned above to identify the scene change. If it’s only point of view that’s changing, be sure to identify the new viewpoint character immediately. (A change in point of view qualifies as a change in scene because the reader is in the head of a different character—different thoughts and emotions. There’s probably a different tone to this section as well, as you’d expect with a different character’s personality both coloring and filtering the reader’s perceptions.) Unless you’re a famous author who makes a bundle of money for your publisher, do not change point of view in the middle of a scene. Never change POV within a paragraph.
You want your readers to flow with the fiction; you never want them stuttering or getting lost. You certainly don’t want any of them to have to reread because you failed to provide enough scene markers. Each time a reader stops reading because he doesn’t understand or has gotten lost or has to reread a passage, he is pulled out of the fiction you’ve crafted. You lose the reader’s trust when he is repeatedly yanked from the fantasy world he’s trying to become lost in.
Changing POV without notice and within scenes causes two major problems. First, it confuses the reader. He has to halt the fiction to figure out why Eugene is putting on perfume when the author hasn’t clearly indicated we’re now in Francine’s head. The reader has to change from enjoying the imaginary—using his creative side—to figuring out why something is so—using his analytical side.
And second, the reader loses the connection he had with the viewpoint character. You work to create connections for your reader, so he can step into the mind and heart and life of a character. If you’ve done it well, the reader will read as if he’s experiencing the events on the page.
Each time you change POV, however, the reader is pulled out of one character’s head and dumped into another’s. He must reorient himself, and this can take time. It can also be enough of a distraction that he puts down the book, no longer lost in the fictional world. You can change point of view—readers are used to it. But do it well. Give the reader warning. And don’t jump POV from character to character to character within the same scene.
*******
Transitions can be short. A two-word scene transition? That night…
They can be as long as a couple of paragraphs. (But shouldn’t extend much beyond that. If they’re too long, they become info dumps and/or long stretches of telling when instead the story should have moved to showing.)
A scene transition is not a scene in itself; it’s the narration between scenes. Yet a novel is a series of scenes. Too much narration turns a novel into a report.
Scene transitions can be pure narrative, a recitation of who did what and when. Narration is often discouraged since it’s telling rather than showing, but narration is quite useful for transitions. It’s an efficient way to indicate a change in place or time and provide details without drawing out the information into a scene of its own. Uses of scene transitions
  • to provide description
  • to break tension
  • to slow the pace
  • to skip unimportant events or time periods
  • to create or switch mood or tone
  • to advance the time
  • to change location
  • to change viewpoint character
While scene transitions can be used to change the tone, they could be used just as easily to maintain tone. That is, if your story is humorous, keep your transitions humorous too. If the tone is dry or sarcastic, write dry or sarcastic transitions.

Friday, February 10, 2012

A GATHERING OF WOMEN

 
My newest novel Unexpected Truth will be available for sell
A Gathering of Women March 10th 11 am- 5 pm Newport News VA. Come out and support 
I'm a featured author and would love to meet you

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Book Press Release Example




Books Publisher Inc.
435 Bookroad, NY 43893
www.booksai.com
Phone– 555.555.5555
Fax – 555.555.5555
Info@booksai.com

PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Tess Anderson
Office: 555.555.5555
Pager: 555.555.5555

Jolene Heather Explores Familial Relations in New Book

Author Jolene Heather grew up with a big extended family. Now she taps that experience in the first of a planned series of books which speculate on what might have happened had Romeo and Juliet lived and gotten married. The book is entitled “Life with the Montagues” and is written from the perspective of Juliet Capulet.
Heather drew from her many experiences growing up to come up with plot ideas. “Family experiences are universal,” the author said. “You just put people together in any kind of semi-permanent way and all kinds of things happen.”
Heather also was attracted to the Romeo and Juliet characters. “I always loved the story, but, like most fans, wished they had lived. Now I get to make that happen.”
The series will capture the foibles, heartbreaks and fun of extended family life. The stories will have their serious side, but will show a lighter side as well. Romeo and Juliet will try to raise a family while appeasing their in-laws, who still don’t get along too well.
Jolene Heather has written 14 novels including the bestselling “Crickets Sing in the Shower.” She lives outside Wenatchee, Washington with her husband, three cats and Golden Retriever.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Things Editors Have Taught Me. by Simmons

1. Your main character does not have to be likable, but he or she has to have spunk.  Spunk in the past or spunk in the present.  Wounded spunk, subtle spunk, suppressed spunk that slowly works its way to the surface.
2. When plotting, logic is your friend.  Coincidence is your enemy.
3. When describing, be concrete.  Mementos over memories.   The soft hand of the sheets matters as much as the harshness of the dreams.
4. No one could ever sigh as much as women sigh in my early drafts. It’s not medically possible.   Could they maybe breathe deeply once in a while, or shrug their shoulders, or shuffle their feet?
5. I tend to think of character’s back story as boring cocktail party small talk.  Readers, not so much.   Readers naturally wonder why characters do what they do.  So clue them in now and then.   Let their pasts shine through by constantly asking, “Why?”
6. Try to leave every chapter with a hook to the next.  But do not let this hook be obvious, like “Jenna was about to learn how very wrong she was.”   Yes, this is harder than planting potatoes in a frozen field.  But do it anyway.
7. Don’t let anyone tell you differently:  A little bit of “telling” is absolutely fine.  IF it’s brilliantly written.
8. The title of the book has to feel like the genre and style of your writing.  You may have inadvertently titled your chick lit book with a highfalutin’ literary title.  Or your mystery may have a title that sounds like non-fiction.  It needs to match, so the reader’s expectations are properly met.
9. Make the acknowledgments at the back of the book as complicated and effusive as you like,  but keep the dedication simple and humble.  A too-lofty dedication can set the wrong tone.
10. Read and revise your manuscript onscreen, sure, but also print it out, and staple the chapters together.   The act of reading it on paper uses different mental muscles.
11. The opening sentence is far, far, more important than the closing one.
12. That being said, if you screw up the ending no reader will ever forgive you.  Think long and hard about what would be an emotionally satisfying ending.  Not a happy one, necessarily, or a beautifully written one.  But an emotionally satisfying one.
13. If you screw up the middle, you won’t be alone.  Many writers’ books have flaws in the middle.   However, yours isn’t going to be one, so put some more plot in the freaking middle, would you?
14. There are really two types of writers:  those who need to be told no no no, no more of that!  And those that need to be told yes,  yes, yes, more more more of that!  Figure out which you are, and try to act accordingly.
Kelly Simmons is the author of the Simon & Schuster novels STANDING STILL and THE BIRD HOUSE.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Rebound Relationships

Can a rebound relationship work? You’ve just gone through a terrible breakup, you hit the clubs, search Facebook, online dating services or other online social media's. You meet someone new and suddenly you’re lusting each other, instantly “in love”.  You’re in the rebound phase. A rebound relationship is one where you are still affected by your previous relationship. Focusing on what could have been, what went wrong, wondering if you did the right thing in splitting up. You spend time focusing on the old relationship because you have unanswered questions, you still hurt from some of the experiences you went through, because you haven’t taken the time that your mind and your heart needs to work through the painful emotions you’re still feeling.


Rebounds often seem magical, a wonderful cure for a bad breakup. After some hard times and lonely nights, you feel wanted again, your having wonderful sex and someone to give you the needed attention that you are seeking, seems like a breath of fresh air. In a rebound relationship, because you're feeling more vulnerable than ever, and more eager to regain the love you were once receiving, you’re more likely to over commit.

Do rebounds ever work out as serious, long-term relationships, or are they always doomed to a quick nasty end? My personal opinion is that rebound relationships do not work out. The relationship will last just long enough for you to get over your previous relationship. The reason I say this is because most rebound relationships are built to cover-up the hurt and fill voids that you felt from the previous relationship that ended whether it was your fault or not. Once you go through the healing process and overcome the hurt of the past relationship then the void you were once looking to fill will no longer be needed and that's when the rebound relationship falls apart.  So take it slow

Rebound relationships will ALWAYS be in existence and should only be looked at as a short term situation. Every relationship I've been in that ended, I've given myself time to heal before looking to start a new relationship. If healing is not done then all your doing is taking old baggage from relationship to relationship without knowing what your expecting or wanting out of a relationship; on top of not being able to bring growth and positive energy to a new relationship.  


Good luck and remember that REAL LOVE does exist.


Makenzi