The Cover Is Here! NaNoLA First Anthology

This is a very exciting day and I would love to share it with you!

My short story is being published as a part of the first NaNoLA anthology, “Believe Me Not, An Unreliable Narrator” and today I got the first peek at the cover.

I’m dying to share it with you, so here it is!

Believe Me Not, An Unreliable AnthologyD6

This anthology is a non-profit effort to support young writers program.

The book comes out on October 10th and I will be sharing the link and all the details for it just as soon as I have them available to me.

Thank you all for sharing this awesome time with me!

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Narrow Miss by Kayla Dawn Thomas is available!!!

A new book by fellow indie writer Kayla Dawn Thomas, ‘Narrow Miss’ is now available for pre-order!

‘Narrow Miss’ is a part of multi-part series about Jenna Ray, ‘a former computer tech turned Wayward Husband Wrangler’. ‘Narrow Miss’ is released as a stand-alone novella and later will become a part of bigger collection that will be released digitally and in paperback.

I already grabbed my copy of ‘Narrow Miss’. I was honored to be an advanced reader for Kayla and got to read the book. I loved it! Jenna Ray is sassy, witty and can hold her own. The story made me laugh and shake my head and have a ton of fun. I highly recommend it!

I’ll Be Moving, Name Will Stay

There comes a time in every teenager’s life to move out of the parents’ house.

OK, I’m not a teenager (I wish!), but my blog is growing in a mature young adult and it needs more room (and tools) to grow. It needs to move.

I have enjoyed immensely my time, opportunity and tools that WordPress.com offered and the bloggers I have discovered here, but as I’m growing as a writer and blog owner, I find myself running into limitations of WP.com more and more. After much consideration, I have decided that it’s time to move to a self-hosted solution where I can truly spread my wings.

The good news, I own my blog’s domain so my blog address will stay as www.LillithBlack.com, so all the wonderful people that are following my blog now will be able to find me at my new location. Still, I would hate to lose you guys and gals, so if you want to stay in touch after the move, please follow the link and sign up for my Weekly Inspiration Newsletter where I send out content you won’t find on my blog as well as links to any recent posts I had.

I also welcome any advice, heads up on pain points when it comes to migrating the blog from one place to another, so please do post in the comments below this post any info you have.

The move will take place in September and I will give you updates as I’m going through the process so you know when I switch over. I have already added all the awesome blogs that I follow today to my Old Reader so I can follow you after I no longer have the access to Freshly Pressed. I always do and will look forward to your fantastic posts.

Until later, with growing pains…

Yours truly

 

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Writing Bucket List

Recently I read an awesome post by JD of A Wrestling Writer on Out Of The Well called Writing Bucket List. I have never been big on bucket lists. Maybe I’m not ready to die (just kidding!) or just cause I’m not big on adrenaline rush, but I’ve never thought of a specific bucket list, especially a writing one.

I read down the list on this blog post and I became absolutely excited and inspired. There was someone who loved the writing as much as I did and whose goals were so similar to mine. I felt what we all want to feel: I was not alone in the world!

This post inspired me and I’ve been thinking for days now to write my own list. I will write it up and as I check the items off my list, I will follow JD’s example and come back here and update them with the dates.

My Writing Bucket List:

  • Write a novel – started in 2011, in re-write now, first draft of another one is ‘stewing’
  • Become part of a writing group – 2011 and 2012
  • Take a writing class – 2011, 2012
  • Get novel professionally edited
  • Publish a novel
  • Have a blog – 2013
  • Have a newsletter – 2014
  • Write a short story – 2014
  • Publish a short story – should be in Sept 2014
  • Enter a writing contest – 2014 and was accepted into anthology
  • Win a writing contest
  • Complete NaNoWriMo
  • Join Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal chapter of Romance Writers Of America
  • Attend RWA conference
  • Meet my readers at one of the ‘Cons or a book festival, sign and sell my book
  • Write three books a year – fantasy, writing, tech tips for writers
  • Write a book of short stories – in progress, 50% in 2014
  • Write and publish a non-fiction e-book
  • Self-publish a book of short stories
  • Get published in a magazine
  • Guest post for a blog
  • Attend writers conference – 2013 and 2014
  • Join writer’s society – 2013, GLAWS
  • Go on a writing retreat
  • Get BA in creative writing
  • Become an editor
  • Do e-book formatting for others
  • Open digital publishing house
  • Offer classes on memoir writing to local seniors
  • Open a writer-friendly coffee shop with comfy seats and free wi-fi
  • Be a full time writer

 

They say if you dream it and write it down, it will happen. I’ll be hard at work to make it happen.

 

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Interview With Indie Author Kayla Thomas, Part 2

Welcome back to the second part of my interview with the one and only, Kayla Dawn Thomas, an indie author of recently published “Swept Up” and upcoming, “Narrow Miss”. Today, I’m asking Kayla to share with us some of her experiences and tips when it comes to technical side of book writing and publishing.

LB: Hi Kayla, welcome back, thank you for being such a great source and gracious interviewee. Many of us who write also try to juggle many things in our life. Do you have a special time to write? What is your writing routine?

KDT: It really depends on the time of year. During the summer with my daughter home, I write whenever I can squeeze it in. I try to get in 2-3 thirty-minute chunks throughout the day. During the school year, I usually end up writing from 1-2:30 on weekdays. When I can, I add time in the morning. Sometimes I work in the evenings, and I usually squeeze something in on the weekend. I aim to write every day. That’s the most reliable routine I can claim.

LB: When I was beginning to write, I went through a struggle looking for the perfect writing spot. Do you have a special place where you write?

KDT: I have a wonderful home office where I do the majority of my work, but I also like hauling my laptop into my bed on a regular basis.

LB: Do you proofread/edit all your own books or do you get someone to do that for you?

KDT: Both! I go through the manuscript myself after letting it rest for a few days. I usually end up doing a lot of rewriting during this phase. Then I give it to my beta readers. Their job is to punch holes in the story, make sure it flows, and just make sure it doesn’t suck. Using their comments, I may tweak some things. Then I send it to my editor. I’m a firm believer in hiring a professional editor. I don’t think you can thoroughly or objectively edit your own work. When I get it back, I go through the manuscript one last time with the editor’s notes.

LB: Tell us about the covers of your books, Swept Up and Narrow Miss, which are awesome, btw, and how they came about.

KDT: I was very fortunate to get Jason Gurley as my cover designer for Swept Up. He was awesome to work with, and gave me so much more than a cover. He was full of writing advice. Sadly, he has decided to retire from cover design. Narrow Miss was designed by my sister, Kendra Marvin from Boots and Bling Photography. She’d been saying she was interested in learning how to do covers as she loves graphic art. When I found out Jason was unavailable for my future projects, I shoved her into the deep end of the pool. She’s learning quickly, and has some great ideas and mad skills.

LB: How did you publishing this book and why?

KDT: I chose to self-publish through Amazon. I used Create Space for print on demand paperbacks, and Kindle Direct Publishing for my e-books. I chose to self-publish because I wanted to be in charge of every step of the process and maintain my rights. Plus, I’ve always wanted to run my own business.

LB: Did you format Swept Up on your own?

KDT: I formatted Swept Up on my own. It was very easy to prepare my e-book using Scrivener, which is only a $40 program. Create Space walked me through the process of formatting my paperback. I only needed Word for that.

LB: When it comes to marketing your book, do you have any tips on what to do and what not to do?

KDT: I’m still learning a lot about marketing, but here’s what I’ve been doing. I have a Facebook author page. It doesn’t have a lot of followers, so I also use my personal page for marketing. I share my blog posts, new release announcements, inspirational writing quotes, and random personal updates. I only post a handful of times per week on the official author page. I also use Twitter. I’ve learned through observation that continually spamming the feeds with “buy my book” stuff is very annoying and you lose followers. I tweet new blog posts, random updates, and tips about writing and running a business. I aim to be helpful and create relationships with people both online and in person. If they want to buy a book,  they will. I will confess that on release days, I talk about the new book a lot. I figure, it’s okay every once in a while. To me this business is more than selling books, it’s about making connections with people. Books have been precious to me my whole life. I want to get to know the people who read my work and what it means to them.

LB: Which social network worked best for you?

KDT: Facebook is great for reaching my family and friends. Twitter has been the best for reaching new readers.

LB: Do you have any other advice for other writers?

KDT: Take the time to read up on how to market your work. I highly recommend Gary Vaynerchuk’s book Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook; Tim Grahl’s book Your First 1,000 copies; and Austin Kleon’s book Show Your Work. I also think you should read about your craft and be prepared to practice. Not everything you write will go in the next novel or blog post. Sometimes you just need to write for the sake of writing. You must be open to slowing down and being willing to grow. Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg and Bird By Bird by Anne Lamott inspire me to dig in and let the words fly every time I revisit them.

LB: What are your ambitions for your writing career?

KDT: I want to keep publishing work regularly, hopefully improving with each book. I also want to keep connecting with readers and maybe find more opportunities to speak about writing and publishing. I gave a presentation a little over a week ago at our local library and loved every minute of it!

LB: Thank you so much for visiting again, I appreciate the great insight into indie writer’s life. For those of you who missed the first part of the interview last week, here are the ways you can get in touch with Kayla and discover her wonderful work:

Website: www.kayladawnthomas.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Kayla-Dawn-Thomas/475221952531489?ref_type=bookmark

Twitter: @kayladawnwrites

Pinterest: Kayla Thomas

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Kayla-Dawn-Thomas/e/B00LAMREVU/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

Book Links: (* American, UK, etc.) http://www.amazon.com/Swept-Up-Kayla-Dawn-Thomas-ebook/dp/B00JLDR3OS/ref=la_B00LAMREVU_1_1_title_0_main?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1406648197&sr=1-1

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7434912.Kayla_Dawn_Thomas

 

Interview With Indie Author Kayla Thomas

Recently, I have posted a review of ‘Swept Up’, a book by the fellow author, Kayla Dawn Thomas. I loved the book and wanted to learn more about the author, to discover what inspires her, what were her challenges and lessons learned from writing “Swept Up” and what she’s working on now. Kayla graciously agreed to an interview. In fact, she was wonderful enough to chat with me for a two-part interview. Today, we’ll be talking about the ‘writing’ part of the writing. Next week, look forward to Kayla talking about the techy part of the writing process.

So, without further ado…

LB: How old where you when you first began to write?

KDT: About second grade.

LB: Why did you begin to write?

KDT: Because I’d been telling stories to a jump rope since I was very little, and it creeped my mom out. LOL, seriously though, I just needed the tools to shift from the jump rope to paper, you know, like the ability to read and write. I’ve had the need to tell stories my whole life.

LB: I know a lot of us call ourselves ‘aspiring writers’, ’wanna-be writers’, rather than just calling ourselves ‘writers’. When did you first consider yourself a writer?

KDT: A couple of years ago I read Jeff Goins’s book You’re a Writer (So Start Acting Like One), and he stressed the importance of never calling yourself an aspiring writer. You’re either writing or you’re not. However, it wasn’t until I started working with Courtney Carver a year later that I got brave enough to label myself as a writer. Once I started telling people I was a writer when they asked what I did, my confidence immediately started to grow.

LB: Where do your ideas come from? Any secrets on invoking the Muse?

KDT: Oh gosh, my ideas come from everywhere. Swept Up came from watching the street sweeper trundle by my house. I’m a very random person, and I notice little things—things normal people probably wouldn’t consider story worthy, like a street sweeper. As for invoking the muse, you have to write every day. I don’t really believe in writer’s block. If I can’t get my groove going, I just whip out my notebook or open an empty Word document and do a stream of consciousness until the story starts flowing again, or a new project emerges. Usually it doesn’t take more than twenty minutes. I also think it helps to keep your mind sharp by reading a lot. For me, reading keeps me in the creative state of mind.

LB: You have recently published a book, “Swept Up”, please tell us about it. Can you give us an insight into your main characters?

KDT. Kara is a frustrating character. For much of the book, she’s hard to like, however many of us are hard to like when we’re at our lowest. Web is the man we all hope to find (there’s a lot of my husband in Web), but he isn’t without his past hurts. I’ve been told by some readers Web is too good to be true, but I believe he just seems that way next to Kara. We all need someone to lift us up and love us enough to stick by us as we get well again.

LB: What have inspired you to tell this story?

KDT: A couple of things inspired me. The street sweeper, and I was going through a rough time of finding myself. No, I don’t have a drinking problem like Kara, but I hurt inside. I was learning how to manage my anxiety disorder and start a new career alongside being a mom and wife. It was very overwhelming. I think writing a character who was hurting too was cathartic. By the time Swept Up was published, I was a new woman. This book changed my life, and was a huge part of my healing. I’m in a much better place now.

LB: What was the hardest part of writing your book?

KDT: Being patient with the process. It’s so tempting to whip out a story and slap it up on Amazon, but it’s essential to stay the course and take your time with the writing, editing, beta readers, editing, giving it to a professional editor, then editing again. The whole thing takes time, but when you reach the finish line with a product that looks like something you’d see on a bookstore shelf, you realize all the time and effort was worth it.

LB: What did you learn from writing “Swept Up”?

KDT: Um, patience, LOL! I also learned that I can write books for a living. I gained so much confidence during the process. Yes, I still look at my daily writing and think, “That was a pile of crap.” But I don’t delete it anymore. I let it be and just keep pecking away at it until it’s a smaller pile of crap. From what I’ve read, this is pretty common among authors. I figure you’re screwed when you become so pompous that you think everything you do is awesome the moment it hits the page.

LB: What are you currently working on?

KDT: I’m starting an episodic series called the Jenna Ray Stories. The first episode is Narrow Miss.  Jenna Ray is a former computer nerd, turned sexy seductress. But she only uses her powers for good: she lures in unfaithful husbands only to capture and return them to their wives. This series is edgier and much more rambunctious than Swept Up. I wanted to do something totally different.

LB: How can readers discover more about you and your work?

KDT: Website: www.kayladawnthomas.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Kayla-Dawn-Thomas/475221952531489?ref_type=bookmark

Twitter: @kayladawnwrites

Pinterest: Kayla Thomas

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Kayla-Dawn-Thomas/e/B00LAMREVU/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

Book Links: (* American, UK, etc.) http://www.amazon.com/Swept-Up-Kayla-Dawn-Thomas-ebook/dp/B00JLDR3OS/ref=la_B00LAMREVU_1_1_title_0_main?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1406648197&sr=1-1

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7434912.Kayla_Dawn_Thomas

LB: Thank for the great interview, Kayla! I have a soft spot for a good quote. What is your favorite quote?

KDT: “The work quiets fear.” Courtney Carver

 

I would like to thank Kayla once more for allowing us a peek into her writing world. Please return next week for the Part 2 of the interview where we will be talking about cover designs, formatting and self-publishing.

Lessons From The Writers Conference

Recently I have attended Greater Los Angeles Writers Conference. It’s a fantastic event that takes place every summer with over fifty speakers on a variety of topics. Dozens of sessions run in three tracks: Aspiring, Active and Accomplished.

There is something for everyone: self-editing techniques, development of the characters, secrets of writing a romance, meeting with the agents, learning to pitch your book and then pitching it.

It’s an annual even that I always look forward to and where I learn a lot.

This year there were a few things that stuck with me and I would like to share them with you.

  • Write a short story about each of your main characters to get to know them better
  • ‘Interview’ your character to achieve the same
  • Give character a small pattern of behavior that has a meaning behind it and use it throughout the story
  • Pick out character’s favorite words (10 to 20) and use them to give your character unique voice
  • When re-writing your book, read through it and create an outline to see if your story flows and if there are any plot holes
  • In your re-writing make sure that these elements are addressed:
    • Structure
    • Pace
    • Conflict
    • Consistency of tone
    • Number of characters
  • Be persistent in marketing and in learning the craft
  • Networking is extremely important
  • Make sure to buy your own ISBNs (http://www.bowker.com/)
  • Writing is a business and you are responsible for it and should treat it as such

I highly recommend attending a writers conference in your area. It’s a great place to learn, meet fellow writers, forge friendships, make valuable connections and even pitch your book.

Have you attended conferences/writer events recently?