The thought of finally having your manuscript out in the world is both exhilarating and nausea-inducing. Something you’ve put so much energy, time, and maybe even some tears into (not that I’m speaking from personal experience or anything) is finally going to be available to the public. You’ll finally be a published author and while the thought of thousands of readers opening your book for the first time and starting the journey builds an indescribable sense of satisfaction in you, in the back of your mind there is doubt.
Because the truth is, not everyone is going to like your novel. Not everyone’s going to like my novel. It’s just how it is.
And while it’s nice to think you may have finally written the universal book, that’s a dream if I ever did see one. I mean, even Harry Potter with all its fandom has critics, reviewers who just weren’t satisfied with the final product. Perhaps, this is hard to believe because the series is so popular it seems to be adored universally and, maybe, it’s even your favorite series. But HP is not without some hate.
No book is.
If you’re like me, at this point in your thought process, you may be thinking “Oh, my green grapes! What if I publish my book and it’s a flop? What if everyone hates it? What if it gets the complete opposite reaction of HP?”
Yeah…
With the release of my novel roughly four to five months away (official release date coming soon), I’m plagued by these thoughts. I try to comfort myself by going through my publishing checklist which isn’t an actual list but more of an outline.
I remind myself of all the tasks I’ve completed on my publishing journey. I’ve had it edited twice, gone through the beta reading process, and ran through my manuscript several times myself. At this point, what more can I really do?
I decide to run through my beta feedback. Despite it being full of positives, I still wonder if they could be the outliers. What if they’re the only group of people who enjoy the novel I’ve been pouring myself into for years? …
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This week I did a video on my YouTube Channel discussing why the main character of my novel “The Pariah Child & the Ever-Giving Stone” is a red head. Obviously, this is an odd question to pose and I’m not sure if anyone will understand my purpose behind it but it’s a question I’ve asked myself several times.
Like many authors, aspects of who I am slip into my stories and characters. Some are more intentional, others are complete accidents.
To sum up the video, I realized Sarah was a red head because for me, as a child, being a red head was a sign of the “other.” It was a sign you were an alternative and not a favored one. Additionally, two of my favorite characters from literature are red heads. That is Annie from the musical ‘Annie” and Anne from “Anne of Green Gables.”
Besides their red hair, these characters had several other traits in common. They were witty, talkative, curious, and, sometimes, completely odd. They had a flair for the dramatic and in the end, it’s their own quirks that save the day and make them admirable heroines. Neither Anne nor Annie conformed to what they were supposed to be. Honestly, I’m not sure if they could. It just wasn’t in them.
After doing this bit of self-reflection (writing is amazing, right?), I have a good idea of why Sarah is a curly red head. But as curious as I am, I couldn’t leave it there. I started to wonder where else I had left the pieces of me in my characters and where a therapist would be best to look to get a good idea of my noggin?
Hmmm…
The best answer, of course, is my high school journals. There’s so much hormonal feeling combined with dysfunctional childhood crap in those pages, I think they’d even be too much for Bravo. Considering the dramatic “reality” shows they host, that’s saying something.
Anyway, as I flipped through my journals and old notes, reading bits of stories I wrote (hey, that rhymed!) I noticed a trend. In almost every story I wrote as a kid, the villain was always a woman, often she was the main character’s mother. Though she wasn’t always the evilest of villains, there was a trend, a very disturbing one actually. Because as funny as it is, I have mommy issues.
Ugh, it even reads weird as I’m typing it. …
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If you’re an aspiring author or in any way involved in the literary community, you’ll know it’s National Novel Writing month. Every year, during the month of November, writers all buckle down in hopes of completing a 50,000-word manuscript in four weeks. Of course, this is no easy task but most things worth having, aren’t easy, right?
Years ago, I participated in NanoWriMo, though I was much younger and didn’t take it as seriously. More recently, I participated in the Chance Challenge which had writers set a goal of 50, 000-words in one month. Despite, me having participated in these challenges years apart, one thing remained true: Writing challenges are just not for me.
I almost hate myself for saying it. NanoWriMo does so many good things for the literary and writing community. Not only does it give a spotlight on new and rising authors, it also gives some writers that kick in the butt they need to finally put pen to paper. Well, more likely finger to keyboard, still the sentiment is the same.
There’s also the amazing comradery it creates! Writers are always stereotyped as being lone introverts who spend hours typing away and tucked in a small shabby room. Yet, not only have so many authors proven this untrue (some of us are extroverts, believe it or not) but social media has opened the door for writers to communicate all over the world. And, now, every November, aspiring authors across the globe cheer one another on as they pound away in the hopes of turning their manuscript into a reality.
Basically, it’s amazing and I wish I could feel that comradery every November and not miss out but the truth is I suck at writing challenges. Not necessarily because I don’t complete them. …
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Okay, this post is going to be pretty short. There will be no editing or prep. I’m just going to write because my brain is mush and I can’t even think about forming proper sentences. I really don’t even want to be staring at the screen right now. My eyelids are fighting to stay open but I’m going to make this happen.
If you follow this blog, you’ll know I haven’t posted in about three weeks. Honestly, I am so sorry about that. I really try to be consistent on all my social media channels bu lately I’ve been done. And that’s what I want to write about. It would be wonderful to think that writing your novel is the easiest part. Sadly, that’s a lie we writers like to tell ourselves. Perhaps, so we get better sleep? Maybe we think lying to ourselves will ward off writer’s block? (P.S. It doesn’t.)
The last two months I’ve been the victim of an endless to-do list. Like, it never stops! There is so much to do and despite my own preparations, I doubt anyone could be 100% ready for this. The post-writing process of a novel includes self-editing, finding an editor, finding a cover artist, beta readers, reviewers, ARC readers, distribution channels, and probably several other things I’m forgetting. Like I said, my brain is mush.
Not to mention, book conventions! They’re fun but they’re also a great place to network with authors and meet potential readers. I mean, to be honest, who wouldn’t have a blast during a weekend dedicated to everything books and writing?
Now, while you’re doing all this stuff for your book, you still have to have a life. Or, at least, some semblance of a life. Oh,, and you have to work, too. Where do you fit all those things in, you ask?
When you figure it out, let me know because I’m going a little crazy over. The freelance work has been rolling in which is good. On the other hand, I crossed my book budget (Did I mention you should have one of those?) and am now expecting to go way over what I would like to. Ugh. Life is cruel and cold I tell you. My budget would still be in tact, for the most part, if I hadn’t have had to hire another editor. My first one was great but I realized I needed one more polish before formatting and uploading it.
Speaking of uploading… …
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Hello, all! I’m Jill Archer, a former lawyer turned librarian who writes fantasy from rural Maryland. As a lifelong reader and frequent peruser of book stacks and shelves, I’ve read a gazillion book blurbs. Some are better than others.
Book blurbs are one of those things (along with synopses and query letters) that writers don’t like to write. If you’re traditionally published, your publisher will likely write it for you, but even then, you should be able to write a good one yourself. Like an outline, a book blurb can be a valuable tool that helps you maintain focus during the drafting stage. Many book blurbs are written after the manuscript is completed, but you don’t have to wait. I always write mine before the book is finished.
(A quick aside: book blurbs are sometimes referred to as “back cover copy” and a “blurb” can also mean a quote from another author who has something nice to say about your book. Confusing? Yeah, I hear you. Lots of things in publishing are.)
Here are some tips to help get you started on writing the book description type of blurb:
Keep it short. Shoot for no more than 250 words. A longer blurb won’t make a reader want to read your book. A succinct hook and an enticing, brief description will.
Keep it simple. Some writers are tempted to over explain or cram their entire story onto the back of their book. Don’t. Take some time to figure out what your core story is. Don’t include subplots. Try to use words that don’t require explanation.
No spoilers! Don’t give away any plot points that occur after the first third of your book.
Don’t include too many character names. The blurb is where you paint the broad brushstrokes of your story. Identifying more than three characters by name is off-putting, even to readers who like stories with myriad character viewpoints.
Anchor the reader in space and time. Readers like to know where and when the story will take place. Don’t make them guess.
Follow genre conventions. Romance blurbs usually reference both the hero and the heroine. Urban fantasy blurbs talk about the main character’s magic or special power. Mysteries usually involve a murder or a crime. Epic fantasies often center on wars or quests. Readers should be able to tell what type of story the book is by reading its blurb.
Hint at something significant. A big risk. Something dangerous. A monumental love affair. A transformative journey. Make sure the reader knows that they, through the characters, will experience something meaningful by reading the book.

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Have you ever gone somewhere and felt like you belonged? Like you were with people who got you and you got them? Well, that’s exactly how I felt at this year’s Baltimore Bookfest. This reader nerd (I say it with pride) festival was three days of any book lover’s dream. Not only were there tons of books for sale (which I brought a very nice amount of) but there were so many panels on both writing and reading.
Needless to say, I was in a sort of reader bliss. But what really trumped it all was the feeling of community. Perhaps I’m gushing over nothing. I mean, there are tons of ways to connect with readers and fellow writers both online and offline. Yet, how often do you get to bond with this many literary lovers for a whole weekend? I mean there were hundreds of bookworms gathered at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor this past weekend and though we have some disagreements (met a few fans of “Twilight” which I am not), we still share that common love of a cozy book.
Two organizations present at the Baltimore Bookfest were the Science Fiction&Fantasy Writers of America and Maryland Romance Writers. I spent most of the three days going between these two groups to attend various panels. The panelists were (of course) members of their respective organizations but they were also experienced authors, some self-published, others traditionally published, all offering great insight into the world of professional writing.
Two of my favorite panels were “Cracking the New York Times Best Seller List” and “How to Self-Publish Your Novel.” What was so enjoyable about these panels was the sheer honesty. The authors were very candid in their own statements and in their responses to questions. Nothing was sugar coated and, let me tell you, if you thought the panel on the New York Times was going to be some setp-by-step, boy are you wrong. Instead of getting some crappy how-to guide, we attendees got a nice dose of the truth aka there’s no key to cracking the New York Times list. The list itself isn’t even based on who has the highest sales. You can imagine my face when I heard that. Jaw dropping doesn’t even begin to do it justice. …
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Title: Saving Jace
Series: A Fada Novel Book 4
Author: Rebecca Rivard
Genre: paranormal romance (sexy/steam) (can be standalone)
Release Date: September 25, 2017
THE DARKTIME ISN’T OVER…
Jace Jones, a Baltimore earth fada lieutenant, lost nearly his entire family in the clan war known as the Darktime. Scarred by the deaths, he pours his soul into rebuilding the clan. The only person who has a claim on his heart is his niece. Then an attack by a night fae assassin leaves him dying on a human’s doorstep…
Tough, edgy Evie Morningstar is doing her best to raise a teenage brother on a waitress’s pay. She has no time for men—until the sexy jaguar shifter is stabbed just steps from her house. Evie hides Jace from the night fae, saving his life—only to find that both she and her brother have been drawn into the fada’s dangerous world.
(This post is a part of a blog tour. Keep reading for a chance to win a giveaway!)
Excerpt: Someone was watching her. Evie gripped her keys and glanced around.
The watcher was standing in the shadows across the alley. His eyes gave him away: a faint, luminous green.
Her heart kicked into a gallop. “Jace?” she called. “Is that you?”
Please let it be him. He stepped out of the shadows. She blew out a breath. It was Jace.
He crossed the alley in a few long, loose strides. An atavistic tremor went down her spine. This was the real Jace—and he was nothing like the injured, feverish victim of last week. No, this man was dark. Powerful. Raw-boned. A panther in a T-shirt and jeans.
She squared her shoulders and lifted her chin, because damn it, she’d saved the man’s life. She refused to let him spook her.
He stopped a few feet away. “Hello, Evie.”
He was bigger than she remembered, but then, last week he’d been hunched over nursing his injuries. Now she realized he was a good half foot taller than her with the lean, hard build of a soldier. Another shiver went down her spine—but this one had nothing to do with fear. …
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The countdown has begun. I officially have twenty-two weeks and a day until my novel “The Pariah Child & the Ever-Giving Stone” releases. To sum it up, that’s five months and fifteen days. Needless to say, I am feeling the pressure and I am completely exhausted. All I really want to do is crawl into my bed and sleep through all the madness that is to come. Sadly, I do not have that luxury nor is my sleeping skill at that level (I’m still training).
Still, this got me thinking. Being a writer is a stressful job. Whether you write full-time, part-time or whenever you can manage to find the time, this is not a road for the faint of heart. However, like anyone, we writers sometimes need to take a break. We need to refuel our creative chi and show ourselves a little bit of that TLC. If you don’t, you’re likely to have a complete shutdown, hit writer’s block, have a general freak out or maybe all three.
With this in mind, I’ve come up with a short list detailing some of the ways I relax when the writer’s life just becomes too much.
First, sometimes you’re going to have to take a break from your writing. I know that sounds like terrible advice. You want to finish your novel. You want to publish it, so, the world can see your genius and you can finally kick your feet up and let the royalties pour in, right?
Well, not to be a downer but the publishing process is so much more than writing. Honestly, writing is just the first step among many. So, even though you think taking a short break from your work-in-progress is going to set you back by a lot, it won’t. After the writing, there’s the querying (if you’re taking the traditional route), the editing, the betas, the marketing, and etc. Therefore, it’s not as big a loss as you think. …
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Hello, I’m Rebecca Rivard. First, I want to thank Natasha Lane for inviting me on her blog today! As a paranormal romance author, I create worlds with magical creatures like shifters, fae and vampires. I have books in two series—my own Fada Shapeshifter series and Michelle Fox’s Vampire Blood Courtesans series. When I started my Fada Shapeshifter series, I wanted my books to stand out in the crowded world of paranormal/fantasy romance. So, I set out to create a world that’s a little different—but that seems alive, real. To my delight, I succeeded, since readers often say they don’t want to leave my world. How do you build a fantasy world/paranormal world that readers want to visit again and again? Here are some tips.
1) Study your favorite fantasy/paranormal world(s).
Setting: Is the series set in the real world with magical elements such as Harry Potter (paranormal) or an imaginary world such as Faerie or Middle Earth (fantasy)? What is the geography and the socio-political system?
Magic: Note the rules for magic—and yes, your magic must have its own, consistent rules.
Origin story: A good fantasy world has its own origin story, one that affects the characters’ beliefs and actions. For example, the origin story may be celebrated with its own holiday.
I could go on, but for a thorough list of world building questions, check out this post by Patricia C. Wrede on the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America website: http://www.sfwa.org/2009/08/fantasy-worldbuilding-questions/
2)Give it a twist. Is everyone else writing fantasy worlds based on medieval times? Then create a fantasy world set in a different time; for example, 1920s steampunk, as my friend L. Penelope did in her Earthsinger Chronicles (coming in 2018 from St. Martin’s Press). …
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Time management is probably a skill listed on every college graduates resume in the last three decades. It’s something we all have to do but we’re all not necessarily good at. For writers (aspiring, traditionally published, self-published, etc), being mediocre at managing your time isn’t really an option. I think this skill is even more crucial when you’re self-publishing but I’m going to try to speak generally here.
Currently, I’m planning for my novel “The Pariah Child & the Ever-Giving Stone” to come out in the next five to six months. This deadline essentially means that I’m in crunch time! And what I’ve realized since entering crunch time is that I’m already so far behind where I need to be. I seriously had no clue how many steps behind I was and now I’m racing to catch up.
My social media interaction isn’t where it needs to be, so, I’ve been really pushing it. I’ve outlined optimal posting times for my different accounts and have started planning specific content that needs to be posted. Additionally, I plan on hosting a blog tour and Facebook release party as part of my publication process. Oh, how lovely it would be if these things could magically plan themselves but sadly I still haven’t received my Hogwarts letter, so, I’m stuck handling things the muggle way.
Now, like any aspiring author I have to eat! So, that means I need to work. A few weeks ago, I did a video on my YouTube channel about the different ways aspiring authors can earn money. Since returning from visiting friends across the pond, I’ve been putting these resources to work. Sometimes I’ve applied to eight or more jobs on the freelance website I use, several on Wyzant and I’m hoping to get another request on Rover soon, too. …
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