Favorite Writer/Author Gifts

It’s that time of year again where everyone is struggling to find the perfect gift or perhaps you haven’t even begun to think about the holidays.

Well, I’m here to give you a hand. I’ve written about Writer Gifts before and you can check those out here, but I feel I should add to that with some new items Writers and Authors may like as well as book lovers! Us authors would be nowhere without our lovely readers that keep us sane and encourage us to continue providing fantastic stories!

Note: This post may contain affiliate links. This just means that I may receive a small commission, at no additional cost to you, if you decide to purchase any of the products discussed in this post.

I’ve decided to create some categories this years for gift ideas so bear with me.

Let’s get started:

Tools:

These are things that every Author or Writer could use. You may have to do some digging for some of these, but it’ll be worth it. I promise you.

Subscriptions:

Find out discretely what they subscribe to in their business… writing programs, classes, etc and gift them some subscription time.

I’ve said it a million times and I’ll say it again, If you, er, they haven’t tried 4thewords.com, they gotta try it. Fight monsters by writing words and collect awesome stuff. What could be more fun?!

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Check it out on me, enter this code to get a month free: OSUBW81786 

Software:

Has the writer in your life been hinting, or just plain out blabbing about a some new software or gadget they want?

Well, here’s your sign… you would make their day by gifting it to them!

Have they always wanted to get Scrivener? The Hemingway app? or even upgrade to Pro-writingAid? This is the perfect time to surprise them and show them that you do indeed listen when they talk. 😉

Books

Have they been raving about a specific book? Have they been telling you, you need to read one they thought was awesome?

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Buy them the paperback to add to their library. Even better… get it signed by the author! Bonus points!!

Or you could just look at their amazon wish list, they always have books on there. Whether it’s books they’ve saved to read or ones they want to learn from. Go ahead, take a look.

Small Tools:

Now, you may think the author/writer in your life has plenty of these, but I’m telling you right now that they could always use more. No matter how large that bin of pens is.

Us authors and writers are picky when it comes to our writing utincels. Sometimes one pen will work and the next time we pick it up, it just doesn’t feel right. We’re crazy like that. So here are some things we are always looking to get more of…

Pens/Pensils:

Like I mentioned, the more of these the better. Make them colored and you add more bonus points! Anything to make our dark and dismal lives in front of the computer a little more colorful.

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One thing I found interesting is this Attachable pen case! They can use on just about anything. Any writer would love this!!

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Markers/Highlighters:

Highlighter Markers

Again, the more the better and the more colors the better. If you can get scented ones that would be awesome too! Let them write with their favorite scent permitting the air. They’ll find a reason to write if they could write with their favorite scents!

Journals/Notebooks/Spirals:

Notebooks

Like the others, these are a must have for any writer/author. The more the better. We may never fill one completely, but we’ll feel better knowing we have plenty of space to write those random notes, inspirations, story ideas and more.

Comfort:

If the writer/author is anything like me, they want to be as comfortable as possible whenever they can. Why not help them out with that? And If they are even more like me… the warmer the better.

Foot Hammock:

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What better gift than to allow them to put their feet up while they are working, right? This is just the thing!

 

Book Rug:

The best thing to add to any writer/author’s office. What could be better than a rug they’ll love?

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Travel Bag:

The perfect thing for the author/writer on the go. Something to hold everything they could ever need AND keep it organized. It’s a dream come true!!

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Mugs:

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There are SO many mugs out there for writers/authors. Ones about writing, ones about books, ones about popular novels, but you could take this a bit deeper and scan their FB. See which authors are providing some awesome swag and purchase one from their favorite author!

Touchscreen Gloves:

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I’ve seen a lot of people use fingerless gloves, but if your writer/author is anything like me, their fingers are the first to go when cold. So get them something that will keep them productive and a bit warmer with Touchscreen Gloves! I SO need a pair of these.

Fuzzy Socks:

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Dude I am all for fuzzy socks. We have all hardwood floors and man they get cold. Someone just wanna buy me some more? I could really use some. My feet are always cold.

 

Shirts/Sweaters:

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Like the mugs there are so many shirts and sweaters out there that have awesome writer quotes and sayings on them. Any writer would love one!

 

Extras:

Stockables:

Anything they can stock up on to make their lives easier would bring them joy.

Snacks:

I love munching when I write. I always have to have something next to me, so getting a stash of whatever your writer/author/reader loves to snack on would make their day. Especially if it’s their all time fav treat!

Drinks:

Do they love tea? hot chocolate? Monster? La Croix? Get them some to stock up their fridge and if you want to be that ultimately awesome person in their life… add in the mini fridge while you’re at it! 😉

Jewelry/Accessories:

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You’re not going to hear this from me very often, cause I am totally not the whole wears jewelry/make up kind of person, but I may wear jewelry more if it related to books or stories in any way. Look up some awesome ones and add to that girl’s collection. Or guy, you never know, right?

Signs/Decorations:

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One thing we all love are quotes from and about writing. Find some your writer/reader friends love and either purchase them one/some or make it for them. They will love you for it, I swear!

Unconventional:

Those gifts you never would think of as gifts but are THE BEST ones you could give to an author/writer.

Reviews/Compliments:

What every author/writer wants for their career/business are more reviews. Be that awesome person and do something that only takes a few moments of your time and no money. Yep, it’s completely free! Write a positive review on one (or all) of their books.

Go ahead and screenshot it to them, print it and put it in a card, but make sure you show them that you’re thinking of them and appreciating their work.

Critiques/Suggestions:

Offer to beta read or critique their work. Even if you’re a loved one, they will appreciate the gesture and your interest in their work. Offering them some constructive and helpful critiques will keep them on the path they’ve chosen, and show you care for what they believe in. Good going you!!

Purchase Their Book(S):

Now this is probably tied with reviews, but purchasing their books allows them to continue what they love. Providing amazing stories to readers just like you. Add the review and they will love you forever!

 

So, what else could we add to this list? What are you getting your writer/author/reader friends/loved ones this year? Go ahead add to the list. 

 

October’s Writing Theme: NaNoWriMo!

It’s getting to be that time of year again! That time when aspiring and published authors alike bunker down to hammer out another novel in 30 days. Drinking caffeinated beverages and staring at a screen for hours and days on end, typing until their fingers get tired. Yep, you guessed it!

NaNoWriMo is back and authors all over are preparing to sit and write that first, fourth, or eighteenth novel and I say “Way to go! I will be right there with you!”

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Though we may not write for the same genre or be in the same state, you know there are others like you trying to get that piece they’ve been thinking about for weeks, months or even years finally down on computerized paper. (Or notebook paper and then the computer) No matter the process, your endeavors are inspired by others who came before along with those joining for the first time.

So this month’s theme is all about NaNoWriMo! Are you going to join the thousands of writers readying to type their hearts out starting November 1st? Do you have a plan for a story you want to write? Are you preparing for when you’ll be at the computer for long hours, stocking up on your favorite snacks and drinks. (Man, I wish I had a mini fridge in my office for this purpose. 😉 ) What type of story do you plan to write?

 

Example: Although I haven’t planned hardly at all for this years NaNoWriMo, I do have an idea of what I would like to accomplish. As you may know, I’ve been working on my Conquer the Darkness Series which follows the struggles of seven women who’ve experienced some really terrible things and how they not only meet each other, work together and overcome their past in the present, but they find friends, happiness in the darkest of times, and love. 

Anyway, there is a couple in that series you know are together and there are hints to their story along the way, and I’ve been thinking of writing it for a while. So for NaNoWriMo this year, I’ll be writing Andrew and Laurie’s story!  

If you haven’t started the series and I’ve caught your interest, visit my website to download book 1 and the prequel for free! 

Update: Ive decided to start a whole new series and put that one on hold as I feel I’ve been looking at it so long, I need a break. I’ll get to Andrew and Laurie’s story, don’t you worry.

What do you do plan to do for NaNoWriMo? What genre are you writing in? Come be my Buddy on NaNoWriMo and let’s write together! (Just visit my profile – KellyJeanTaylor – and click ‘add as buddy”!  I’d love to hear about it. Comment below!

 

Ways to Plot a Novel

There are plenty of ways to plot a novel and the way each author plots is completely up to them. Every author is different with different thoughts and ways of organizing them.

The way I plot could be, and probably is completely different from the way others plot their novels.

Plotting your novel is unique and special process each author must discover for themselves. This is where one process doesn’t fit all. When deciding how to plot your novel, there are many processes to choose from.

Plot Structures:

Character – Driven

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  • Your characters are the main reason the story moves along. Their motivation and drive to complete their mission, journey or quest is what keeps the story going until the very end.
  • Your characters through decisions, actions, and the journey itself, face their deepest fears and change as a result.

Snowflake Method

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  • This one is a bit more dynamic. You begin with a statement, just one statement
  • Then split that statement into two
  • Then into four statements and so on
    • It’s best to begin with a deep theme/premise
    • Then expand it to 2-3 sentences
    • Then expand that to 4-6 sentences and so on until you get a full plan of action for your book.

The Hero’s Journey

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  • The hero’s journey is a complex set of points along which the hero travels to complete his/her journey
    • They are (but not limited to) as follows
      • The Call to Action (They begin in their know world and receive call for adventure)
      • The Denial of the Quest (They ignore the request for some reason or another)
      • Acceptance After Debate (After inner turmoil and possible debate with mentor, they agree to journey)
      • Enemies and Allies, Who’s who (Journey leads them to many types of trouble as well as friends along the way)
      • Journey to the Beast
      • Facing Demons (hero defeats bad guy but not without consequences that change the character on a deeper level)
      • Reward/Success
      • The Return Journey (They strive to atone for past mistakes)
      • Conclusion
      • Life Continues/Next Journey (Return to live out days/Continue to the next journey of life)

 

The Fichtean Curve

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  • This type of story begins immediately with rising action
  • Framework for the story is scatter throughout the first half of the story with multiple crisis following.
  • Each crisis is followed swiftly by its own mini falling and rising action.
  • At last, the story reaches its climax conflict around two-thirds of the way.
  • Leaving the remaining pages for falling action, loose ends are tied up, and a new normality is established for characters.

In Media Res (thrillers, mysteries, horror)

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  • This type of novel begins in the middle of the story, usually at the 2nd-3rd crisis, though sometimes in-between the action
  • The plot still contains an upward trajectory with storyline sprinkled throughout (The beginning of the story is often told through flashbacks or in character conversations)
  • Several more crises occur to move the story along
  • The protagonist faces the climax
  • Followed by falling action
  • Resolution.

Combinations

You can combine any or all of the above to create your own plot structure that suits your needs. It’s really up to you, how your mind works, and what would be best for you as a person and author.

Snowflake with 3 Arc Structure

  • Snowflake with structure that points to important events while connecting those events to create an amazing story

Emphasis on Inner Plot

  • This contain a list of events containing a variation of the hero’s journey
  • Emphasis is held within the inner and outer plot, relating most outer story points to acts 1&3 leaving 2 as inner plot points

Major Midpoint Change

  • This is a form of the Hero’s Journey where there is a major change at the midpoint of the story. The character faces a shift in viewpoints or active goal.

Writing in Scenes

  • Plan your novel in Scenes, but be sure to include all the major plot points necessary to create a great story with emotion, action, adventure, and more.

Visual Mapping

  • Visual graphing/outlining of plot points, events, characters, emotion, and more. A picture of your character/story’s journey throughout the tale may be exactly what you need.

Things to Keep in Mind

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  • Does the beginning set up the end? Do all parts match up?
  • Think deeper, create a story that if the reader were involved it would feel real no matter the setting or events.
  • Write your ideas down, create an outline even if you don’t follow it completely. This will help you flesh out your plot points, events, crises and more.
  • Keep the reader in mind. Catch them on an emotional level – make them laugh, make them cry, make them feel hurt when a certain event happens. Make them FEEL.

Final Words…

The way you plot your novel is completely up to you as an author. One of these ways may work for you and then again none of them may work. You must travel your own journey to discover what works best for you. 

Me, I’m still on that journey. I’ve combined some of these to suit my creative mind, but there are still tweaks that need to be made. This is my plotting journey. What’s yours?

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Where Did the Time Go… Half the Year Gone!!

Half of the year has gone… Where did the time go? It’s definitely going faster than I would like…

We are now one half of the way through the year and I thought it would be a good time to review my goals and see where my progress is at. So let’s get right into it…

Books

Book Lineup

Publish 3 Novels by 12/31

  • I’ve finally gotten back into a rhythm of sorts. Book One is now revised and published for your reading pleasure. Free as well as the Prequel
  • Book 4 is is now also revised, edited and published.
  • Book 5 is being written, though slower than I would have liked, I am getting somewhere with it now.

~ It took so much time to get back into things after all the run around in the first quarter. I’ve since made some changes, gotten back into rhythm and I’m off writing daily again!

Read 12 Books in Genre by 12/31

  • So far I’ve read 6 books of 12 and I’m reading two right now, so I would say that I’m ahead on this one!

~ I’m having a bit of trouble reading these two as it is hard to stay with the story. I have faith I’ll get through it though and keep moving forward. One page at a time, right?

Read 6 Books NOT in Genre by 12/31

  • One down, one in progress and four to go! Yeah, I’m behind here. I need to pick up another book.

Organize a group of Beta readers for my books by 4/30

  • I have been in contact with two wonderful people willing to beta read for me as I return the favor. Would you like to be a part of my team? Gain free ARC of my books? And read some awesome fiction? Click Beta Readers if interested and lets go on an adventure!

Find an Editor I connect with by 6/30

  • Uh! I haven’t even thought about this for more than two seconds! Still one of my goals, but my writing comes first and since I’ve lost time on that all my thoughts are on catching up. Hopefully, my next report will be better on this front.
  • Update: Still no editor, but I’m looking. Go some advice or know of an editor that won’t break my wallet? Please comment below and help a girl out!

Organize a Critique Group who enjoys my genre and will give productive feedback by 3/31

  • I’ve lost some much time I haven’t even been on Scribofile in a while.
  • I have traded work with two great people who are willing to keep the relationship going.
  • I’ve also started a Wattpad account and have submitted a short story. Head on over to check it out and tell me what you think!
  • Otherwise, that’s as far as I’ve gotten on this. Comment below or click Critique Partner if you’d be interested in being a critique partner for Paranormal Romance/Fantasy books.

Create and Implement Street and Review Team for Books by 4/30

  • Oh my goodness! Does the chaos never cease? Hopefully, I can get my butt into gear since I took nearly a month off for family reasons. One more thing to add to my list of things to do and very soon. If interested please sign up below!
           

Communication

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Post 26 Blog Posts Every Other Week in 2018

  • Luckily, this is one area I’ve excelled at. I haven’t missed a post yet!
  • I’ve begun to expand my posts to be writing related one week and the next is an inspirational word. You can check out my blog HERE!
  • Have a topic you would like me to elaborate on? Comment below and I will add it to my list!

Be More Communicative on Social Media and Online: Comment on Posts and in forums, Post advice, comments, thoughts and questions on social Media.

  • I’ve started posting irregularly on my social media accounts, but I’m starting to get better at being on there regularly. More to come!

Business

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I’ll keep these as a list as they don’t nee much explanation:

Grow Business by 25% by 12/31

~ Going Up!

Create New Products and Useful Printables for Readers and Writers – 2 by 12/31

~ Still Working on! You’re going to love these!

Start Using Video in Marketing by 6/30

~ Lots of video training, hit a road block, but hopefully will be up soon!

Create/Participate in 2 Big Events for Readers: Haha, I have thoughts, but what’s the fun in ruining the surprise here! 😉

~ Research and development are underway!

Create 100 total items for store by 1/31 and continue with 5 more per month after January. Want to visit my store, click HERE!

~ No where even close to 100 products, so I’m doing what I can and I’ll keep moving to gain more.

~ I may try a new storefront to get things out faster and easier, more to come on that!

Try out New list of Marketing Ideas and record results.

~ Working on and progressing well! So many ideas to implement!! I’m sure you’ve seen a few if you follow any of my social media!!

Revamp Webpage and Pages by 3/30

~ New site is up and most pages are complete, just a few more pics and tweaks to go! I have pictures but the SD card isn’t compatible with my computer so hopefully I’ll have them up in a week or two!!

Extras/Other

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What better way to keep up with your skill than to lean more about it?

Complete 3 Educational Courses by 12/31

~ I’ve completed three in the first four months! Still learning, but working on words more now to catch up!

Schedule Time to Work on Drawing and Take Art Classes (Once a Week)

~ This was going well in the first quarter, the second not so much, but I hope to get back into it soon!

What About You?

What About

Are you reaching your 2018 goals? 

Are you completing and accomplishing the tasks you set out to do? Let me know in the comments below. Let’s keep each other accountable and encouraged!

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What is a Story?

As I sit here typing this, I originally had a different topic to provide, but while reading a few nights ago, this came to mind and stuck so there has been a little change in topic for this post. Let’s get to it.

What Is a Story~

A story is a depiction of a character’s journey as they pursue an object, person, act of revenge, etc. while battling obstacles and challenges along the way.

Stories are here to entertain, educate, inspire and intrigue the masses with their tales of wonder, adventure, creative learning, and more. No matter what type of story created, there is someone out there ready to read it and many more endeavoring to write them.

Where They Come From~

They have been an intricate part of life, of history, and of dreams since we learned how to communicate long ago. It’s how we learned vital information that’s been passed on throughout the ages.

Stories grow from the every day. They are created to make a point, to imagine a possible future, to remind us of our past, the actions we’ve taken (successes or failures) as well as to comfort and entertain. They also have a tendency to blossom from daily lessons, random objects, experiences, and pain/emotions of the creator. Stories grow from everything around us.

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How They Are Created~

Ideas and thoughts are taken from events, activities, actions, objects of things we experience everyday. Stories are told from family member to family member on traditions, proper behavior, cultural history, moral values and more.

They can be told around a campfire to exhilarate, frighten, or enchant the young and the old of legends long past.

Stories spoken of ever day actions of every day folks, whether it be good deeds or bad, an adventure or overcoming of obstacle. Things others can relate to on a physical, emotional, or psychological level.

Others are created from memories of times past. Family vacations, celebrations, tradition, and more. One that goes around our family has to do with a fruitcake from 1998. Yep, that sucker is still being passed around! I’ll be posting on my Patreon page about that each year. Check it out!

Imagination is another source of stories. There are so many stories out there created solely on the writers imagination, their thoughts of how the characters are, how they react to different situations and obstacles they throw them into. It’s amazing what the imagination can create when you really sit down to put it together. While the inspiration can come from those who came before or the things around us. A story can be created from literally anything.

What Makes a Good Story~

Really, this is the opinion of the writer and of the reader. But looking at stories, the all have things that are in common to create fantastic stories.

  • Well-crafted characters
  • Experiences
  • Trials, obstacles, and challenges
  • Goals and motivation
  • Effective narrative
  • Pivotal turning points
  • Resolution
  • Resonating with readers

If you think of tales and stories today, think of what the author created to make the story one you come back to time and time again. Those aspects that make you want to revisit the characters, setting, and to journey once again along the path they choose to reach their destination. That’s what makes not only a good story, but a great one.

There are many types of stories told within fiction, non-fiction, through pictures, movies as well as art. Everything around us tells a story, you just have to look closely enough to find it within the chaos of life.

What is your favorite story and why? What is the best part of it? 

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Events For Readers

As an author I am alway thinking of ways to engage my readers, to give back to those who support and read my work. Well today I wanted to give you, the reader, more than just books to read.

After doing a quick search, I realized there are so many events for readers and writers alike and I want to share some with you.

Conferences:

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Title: Readers & Writers

Locations: Seattle, WA & Tampa, FL

Dates: July 14 (WA) & August 25 (FL)

About: Meet Authors and Models from all over the world with an after party to enjoy

For More Information:readerswritersevents.com

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Title: Penned Con

Locations: St. Louis, MO

Dates: Sept 20-22

About: Keynote Speakers, informative panels, workshops, book signings with over 150 authors, parties, and so much more!

For More Information:Pennedcon.com

Retreat:

cfrr_2019 ReadersReg Now Open

Title: Christian Fiction Readers Retreat

Location: Rockville, Maryland

Date: 2018 is closed, Registration is open for April 5-6, 2019

About: This is a one day event gathering of Christian Fiction readers and authors. There will be featured speaker sessions, author panels, breakout sessions, prayer & worship along with author signings.

Meet and chat with authors, eat food, play games, enjoy giveaways and free books!

For More Information: Christian Fiction Readers Retreat

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Title: Reader Appreciation Weekend

Location: Milwaukee, WI

Date: 2018 is closed, April 2019

About: This is a one day event for readers to meet authors, have lunch, play games, and possibly a party or two!

Meet and chat with authors, eat food, play games, book signings and more!

For More Information: Reader Appreciation Weekend

Book Fair:

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Title: Book Lovers Convention and Book Fair

Location: Reno, NV

Date: May 15-20

About: If you are an author, reader, or anywhere in between there is something here for you to enjoy. From crafting your writing, to book events, to themed parties, there is something for everyone!

For More Information: Book Lovers Convention and Book Fair

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Title: Book Expo America

Location: New York City, New York

Date: May 30 – June 1

About: More business related for meet and greet for authors, booksellers, distributors, literary agents, publishers and more. Build relationships that last!

For More Information: Book Expo America

Other:

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Title: Romance Writers of America “Readers for Life” Literacy Autographing

Location: Denver, CO

Date: July 21

About: A two hour free event, where the public is welcome to purchase books for a good cause.

For More Information: RWA “Readers for Life” Literary Autographing

Create Your Own:

There are many ways you can create your own reader events. Here are some I’ve thought of:

Book Clubs – These are pretty self explanatory as we have seen, heard or even participate in one.

Book Parties – Whether is a lunch party or a themed party based on a book, genre, or story, these can entertain readers for hours.

Giveaways – Also self explanatory, but you could always get creative and offer something unusual, but still book related. Perhaps an object used in the book or crazy author swag.

Scavenger Hunts – This is something I enjoyed greatly. Authors come together to create a scavenger hunt for readers to participate in for prizes. They can search within a series, within blog posts, or within the author website if a single author is performing the event. Have your readers find words to create a short story, a popular sentence, or anything else your creative mind can come up with.

Game Day – Something my family does each weekend is play board games. Search out games that are within the same genre, location, characters, etc . and play games to have some fun. One of my favorite games is called Shadows Over Camelot where you have to work together to defeat different battles from the tales of King Arthur. (One of my favorite tales!)

Extras:

Looking for more? I’ve got you covered! There are so many more than I could list here so below are links to many more for you to enjoy!

Romanced Redefined

African American Literature Book Club

Book Events By State

13 Literary Events for Readers

Know of any more events for writers to add to this list? Any other ways to engage readers with fun activities? Comment below, I’d love to hear about it!

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My Progress so Far…

One quarter gone… Where did the time go?

We are now one quarter of the way through the year and I thought it would be a good time to review my goals and see where my progress is at. So let’s get right into it…

Books

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Publish 3 Novels by 12/31

  • I would like to say that I am progressing here, but it is definitely slow going as I am in the process of revising book one of the Conquer the Darkness Series due to a publishing conflict.
  • Book 4 is still in the editing stages due to the revision of book one
  • Book 5 is being written, though slower than I would have liked.

~ Some life events took precedence this quarter and I’ve gotten a bit behind here, but never fear, I’ll get back on track bringing you awesome stories and fantastic content!

Read 12 Books in Genre by 12/31

  • So far I have read three of the twelve books, so I am behind one book. The last book I read was really hard for me to get through and caused me to put it down for several days at a time before picking it back up.

~ Now that I am through that one, I’m ready to pick another and forge ahead!

Read 6 Books NOT in Genre by 12/31

  • One down, one in progress and four to go!

Organize a group of Beta readers for my books by 4/30

  • Again I’ve done research and have a goal of getting qualified readers for my Beta group, but have yet to gain actual people to be in the group. So, now I ask you… would you like to be a part of my team? Gain free ARC of my books? And read some awesome fiction? Click Beta Readers if interested and lets go on an adventure!

Find an Editor I connect with by 6/30

  • Uh! I haven’t even thought about this for more than two seconds! Still one of my goals, but my writing comes first and since I’ve lost time on that all my thoughts are on catching up. Hopefully, my next report will be better on this front.

Organize a Critique Group who enjoys my genre and will give productive feedback by 3/31

  • Yet another area I’ve worked on very little. I’ve signed up for Scribofile, which is on-line critiques of your work, but you have to critique and gain points before you can publish your own work to be critiqued.
  • I’ve also started a Wattpad account and have submitted a short story. Head on over to check it out and tell me what you think!
  • Otherwise, that’s as far as I’ve gotten on this. Comment below or click Critique Partner if you’d be interested in being a critique partner for Paranormal Romance/Fantasy books.

Create and Implement Street and Review Team for Books by 4/30

  • Oh my goodness! Does the chaos never cease? Hopefully, I can get my butt into gear since I took nearly a month off for family reasons. One more thing to add to my list of things to do and very soon. If interested please sign up here.
           

Communication

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Post 26 Blog Posts Every Other Week in 2018

  • Luckily, this is one area I’ve excelled at. I haven’t missed a post yet!
  • Have a topic you would like me to elaborate on? Comment below and I will add it to my list!

Be More Communicative on Social Media and Online: Comment on Posts and in forums, Post advice, comments, thoughts and questions on social Media.

  • I’ve started posting irregularly on my social media accounts, but I’m starting to get better at being on there regularly. More to come!

Business

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I’ll keep these as a list as they don’t nee much explanation:

Grow Business by 25% by 12/31

~ Going Up!

Create New Products and Useful Printables for Readers and Writers – 2 by 12/31

~ Working on! You’re going to love these!

Start Using Video in Marketing by 6/30

~ Lots of video training, may get this up before scheduled!

Create/Participate in 2 Big Events for Readers: Haha, I have thoughts, but what’s the fun in ruining the surprise here! 😉

~ Research and development are underway!

Create 100 total items for store by 1/31 and continue with 5 more per month after January. Want to visit my store, click HERE!

~ No where even close to 100 products, so I’m doing what I can and I’ll keep moving to gain more.

Try out New list of Marketing Ideas and record results.

~ Working on and progressing well!

Revamp Webpage and Pages by 3/30

~ New site is up and most pages are complete, just a few more pics and tweaks to go!

Extras/Other

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What better way to keep up with your skill than to lean more about it?

Complete 3 Educational Courses by 12/31

~ I’ve complete three already and it’s only been four months!

Schedule Time to Work on Drawing and Take Art Classes (Once a Week)

~ This was going well, and I hope to get back into it soon!

What About You?

What About

Are you reaching your 2018 goals? 

Are you completing and accomplishing the tasks you set out to do? Let me know in the comments below. Let’s keep each other accountable!

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How Writing is Like a Puzzle

I received the best birthday gift from my husband last month and after putting it together I thought about how it relates to writing. Obviously, from the title you would guess what it is my husband got me, but you’re probably thinking, “Really, Kelly? You couldn’t possibly be that excited over a puzzle.”

Well, I am about to prove you wrong. This wasn’t just any puzzle. It was a 1000 piece Sherlock Holmes and the Speckled Band – A mystery jigsaw puzzle. This was the best gift because for one, I love Sherlock Holmes and two, not only was it a puzzle; it contained the story and required you to put the puzzle together in order to solve the mystery of the Speckled Band! The best part… the puzzle was not that of the image on the cover so we had absolutely no idea what the picture was. Of course we had some clue from the story, but no picture to go off of. Three of us, my sister, husband and I spent eight hours straight putting this puzzle together so we could solve the mystery! We had a blast!!

Now, why am I blabbering on about this puzzle and how much I enjoyed it? Well, as the title suggests, it got me thinking about how writing is like a puzzle. So, let’s get started.

So, how can writing be related to puzzles?

Buying and Opening the Puzzle:

In this case the puzzle was a gift, so even better! Anyway, this would represent that moment of awe inspired revelation that you found a new idea for your next great novel. That initial excitement and enthusiasm for the newest story growing in your mind. Now that you have it home you open it to find it neatly packaged, but in a mess of pieces. What to do next?

Preparing the Puzzle:

Now, if you are anything like me (and I know some of you are), you open the pack and the sorting begins! The what seems like endless searching for edge pieces while the rest are filtered back into the box for later. Those edge pieces are your guide, your starting point to the finished product. Much like writing a story, the outline or planning stage comes first. You construct the base or starting point for your puzzle or story to begin and then take off running.

Proceeding With the Inside Pieces:

Now, it’s time to dig in and start forming the puzzle with the inside pieces, but where to start? Do you organize the pieces by like object depictions or do you dive in looking for whatever fits along the edge where you are currently sitting? In this case since we originally began with four people, (my nephew ducked out to play video games before to long) we each took a side. Unfortunately, I took the side with really dark pieces and had a really hard time finding the right pieces, so I decided to look for all the pieces to an object in the top corner and was able to gain momentum. As you move through your story, you start with a flourish of excitement and enthusiasm for the new ideas brewing in your mind as you do a puzzle searching for those first few pieces that will start you on your journey to the finished product.

Ugh, Those Annoyingly Frustrating Pieces:

You gain momentum and for a while you cruise along finding piece after piece, but then you hit a snag an you get stuck working on a section that is all floral carpet and every piece you need looks the same! As with puzzles, you may hit a snag in your writing with a difficult scene, event or even chapter. You struggle to find the right pieces to keep your momentum going or the right action, words or story arc. You syphon through the rest of the pieces to search for the ones you need, but it is no use. Your brain is just to worn staring at this section of the puzzle and you need a break to you gather your thoughts.

New Perspective:

So, you decide to take a break, switch spots (to which your sister finds all the pieces I was struggling and frustrated with within a few minutes :/) or ask for advice from a trusted ally. Taking a break and coming back will give you the rest you need to return with a fresh mind, and a new perspective. You could also move onto another area of your story and work there, then come back when you are ready to tackle it again or ask for advice. You could post your situation on forums and discussion sites to get suggestions and thoughts from others. This is where, when you are finished with your manuscript, beta readers are immensely helpful.

Finishing the Puzzle:

After eight long hours of working to find the right pieces, switching spots and perspectives several times, we finally finished the puzzle! The accomplishment was a collective sigh of relief. The same goes for finishing that first, second, fifth, or twentieth novel, a sigh of relief and elation. It is finally done, finished and the puzzle was ready to be solved. Your manuscript ready for the editor or if you added your editor to the last phase of a new perspective, ready to publish! Now, on to the next puzzle… I mean story!

Looking for a puzzle to enjoy? Try this one from my store. Or see others here as well.

So, what do you think? Could a story be similar to a puzzle? Let’s here your thoughts. Comment below!

My 2018 Goals

It’s getting to be the end of the year and I’ve been working on plans for next year.

While thinking of what I really wanted to do with my business and how I want to move forward with my books, I find myself realizing that my goals from last year were… well, dull. Though they fit my business there was really no depth to them and to the business itself. If I want to make writing my career, I need to be more specific and defined with my goals for my business and my books.

My thoughts here are to keep myself accountable to my goals and my business by publishing them for others to witness. I did come a tad short from my goals last year as my fourth book will be published by the end of January. I realized I pushed myself to do to much without a team to keep me focused and motivated as far as my business is concerned. So without further jabbering from me, here are my goals for 2018.

Books

Publish 3 Novels by 12/31

  • Though my goal last year was to publish four books, I have written four, but will be unable to complete the last as the holidays and the need for much required rest has taken presidents since I have stretched myself further than I can go within the last few weeks. So for 2018 I have reduced my number of published novels by one to give myself the needed rejuvenation required to keep motivated and productive throughout the year.

Read 12 Books in Genre by 12/31

  • With keeping up with reading I have surpassed my goal for this year and will repeat it for next year to keep the inspiration and imagination flowing. What better way to stay creative that to read those who have come before you?

Read 6 Books NOT in Genre by 12/31

  • This I have not kept up with this year, though I have read a few books not on my genre. I intend to keep reading so that my creativity is at it’s max for Inspiration as well as continued education on the industry.

Organize a group of Beta readers for my books by 4/30

  • There are some parts of being an author that I have really slacked on and wish to remedy as soon as I’m able. This area would be one of them. I plan to gather a dedicated group of people who would like to receive ARC of my book to read and reply with suggestions. I am offering this to anyone interested, and you could be the first. Click HERE to let me know you are interested.

Find an Editor I connect with by 6/30

  • Here is another that I am in need of. I understand the importance of hiring a professional editor and funds have not been enough to accommodate this need. My hope is to remedy that this year and hire a professional editor to edit my books to create a better reading experience for my readers.

Organize a Critique Group who enjoys my genre and will give productive feedback by 3/31

  • Another area that has been lacking this year. I would like to find like-minded people interested in the same Genre to participate in a critique exchange for our stories. Here is another opportunity to find a critique partner. Click HERE to find out more.

Create and Implement Street and Review Team for Books by 4/30

  • One more item to participate in: My plan is to create a Street Team and Review Team for my Novels as they become available. If you would like to be a part of that when the time comes, Click HERE!

Communication

Post 26 Blog Posts Every Other Week in 2018

  • My goal is to provide you, the reader with insightful and useful information throughout the year. Have a topic you would like me to elaborate on? Comment below and I will add it to my list!

Be More Communicative on Social Media and Online: Comment on Posts and in forums, Post advice, comments, thoughts and questions on social Media.

  • Another goal is to provide more communication with you, my readers; with advice, encouragement, and more.

Business

I’ll keep these as a list as they don’t nee much explanation:

Grow Business by 25% by 12/31

Create New Products and Useful Printables for Readers and Writers – 2 by 12/31

Start Using Video in Marketing by 6/30

Create/Participate in 2 Big Events for Readers: Haha, I have thoughts, but what’s the fun in ruining the surprise here! 😉

Create 100 total items for store by 1/31 and continue with 5 more per month after January. Visit my store, FictionJourneys!

Try out New list of Marketing Ideas and record results.

Revamp Webpage and Pages by 3/30

Extras/Other

What better way to keep up with your skill than to lean more about it?

Complete 3 Educational Courses by 12/31

Schedule Time to Work on Drawing and Take Art Classes (Once a Week)

How About You?

What are your goals for 2018? 

What things do you want to get done this year? Care to share to keep each other accountable? I’d love to read what your thoughts are. Comment below!

Planning for 2018

No affiliate links or bribes were accepted while planning or writing of this post. All opinions and thoughts expressed are solely those of the author from their experience.

This year has been a year of learning, change, forging on over mountains with determination and falling to valleys of procrastination. With the year a few months to a close, I have decided to begin planning 2018 sooner rather than later.

With my form of planning and always wanting the shiny new ‘thing’, I decided shortly into the year to go back to some programs and implement others that have worked well for me the last few months.

Planning Start

First of all, I’ve signed up to receive a lot of email newsletters that most I probably don’t need, but some stood out and one I took to heart, by Meera Kothand. In her Plan Intensive One Week Challenge, she goes through steps to organize your thoughts, plan out your goals and steps to reach those goals and scheduling them into your planner so you can keep track and move forward toward your business/personal goals. Though I worked through it in more than a week, I found it massively enlightening for my goals and where I wanted to see my business in 2018.

What I love about Meera is the fact that you can reply to any of her emails, ask her questions and she will get back to you. I’ve personally asked her questions while going through her Plan Intensive Challenge and she responded within manner of hours to a day or two later.  To find out more about her challenge click here.

With that being said though I have my books, emails, blogs, etc planned. Now I just needed somewhere to keep everything…

Software Implemented

Last year I mentioned a few apps. On called Pad 3, which I still use for notes, but after a while I realized I was just not the type of person to commit to writing everything out even on my Ipad all the time and for me there was never enough space in the calendars to keep things nice and orderly. The other was 17Hats. I liked this one well enough too, but I couldn’t quite get the hang of it and connect everyone to it that’s on my team.

Asana

Solution: I worked for a company that shall remain unnamed and we used a program called Asana for tasks and communication. As much as I hated the thought of using a program I had used while working for a place I didn’t enjoy. I found myself coming back to it. To my surprise, it has saved my life and my business. The layout is completely different from when I used it back then. It allows me to create different projects with different board within the projects for different tasks or just use a task list. I can also connect my team up to five members for free and haven’t had a need for the upgrade so that is always a plus.

I have even created projects for my personal, home and my kids homeschool to keep all my tasks all in one place and they are in separate projects so they don’t feel like any of them are overtaking or interfering with another. Though this program does have a calendar I do take the time to add my blog posts to my desktop calendar to keep them updated regularly.

Planner

I also keep a planner that I update daily as well as a journal I try my best to write in daily. The planner is handmade by me and the pages were printed until I needed toner and then decided to just draw out the pages so I wasn’t spending $90 plus for a toner cartridge when we plan to get a new printer anyway. As I mentioned before, I feel it is a waste of time to site and write out every tiny detail, but I’ve managed to make my pages simple enough to be copiable within a few moments.

Within my planner I have a section for Daily, Weekly, Monthly, and Yearly tasks, notes and whatever else I want in there. The one thing I love about my planner is that I created tabs for business items I wanted to keep with me. For my books I created a tab and within it I have notes on characters, settings, plots, and a short outline so I alway have it with me even if I decide to write instead of working on a computer. Another section keeps my blog plans as well as my email newsletter plans and another tab just for compiling from Scrivener so I remember how I want my books compiled when I go to publish them. This is the one thing I am really glad I created myself as it is updated daily and everything is in one place for me to view whenever necessary.

YNAB

Another app we invested in is YNAB, which I have spoken about before and seriously if you are looking to get your finances in order. This is the app you need. It has taken us almost three months to get the system down, but it is completely worth it. Right now my husband and I use it for our personal finances, but I have deeply considered using it for business since you can create more than one budget! It does have a price of $50 a year and they allow a free 34 day free trial.

I will be trying out this program next year for my business finances, so I will let you know how that goes as things progress.

How about you? Have you started planning for next year? How are your plans going if you are? Drop a comment, I would love to see what you use and how you plan your year!