Thursday, January 30, 2014

Are Things Looking...Scary?

I know we're not even close to Halloween, but I couldn't resist sharing a good scare this afternoon.

  • Do you ever feel as if you're not alone in the room, when you know you are the only one currently inside your house?
  • Do you ever get a bit, well, queasy, when you consider what you've watched on the news?
  • Do you find yourself turning on the hall light when you know exactly where the bedroom is?

I've had time times these, and, surprisingly, these times correlate with writing.

I know, I know, I am constantly correlating life with writing, but you know, it's what helps me remember.

  • Do you ever feel like you're sharing the room with your characters, even though you're home alone?
  • Do you get a bit, well, sick to your stomach, when you have to write a frightening scene?
  • Do you find yourself trying to turn on the hall light "called your brain" when you have writer's block?

Writing can be a scary process, especially when you feel as if your characters are speaking to you and you want to write something else. Not all scenes are a pleasant to write. You might find it a bit creepy or uneasy and feel the need to turn on the hall light just so you know that everything's going to be okay.

But I guess that's what we all want, don't we?

We want to write our best. We want to write what our character's want. We want to write even the 'hard to write' stuff. Because we want to write.

And, frankly, we need all of it.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

When the Power Goes Out

I don't know what it is about feeling as if the juices should always be pumping, but I think we kind of expect it as a writer.

I will always want to write.
I will never get discouraged about writing.
I will always have ideas.
I will never have writer's block.

When the truth is we will not always want to write, we will get discouraged, we will not always have ideas come to us like a voice in the night and we will not always have our minds and hearts wide open ready to receive.

light bulb
I might be a dreamer, but I am also a realist.

Life isn't always what I planned, and sometimes, writing isn't going to come easy.

Do you find yourself stalled when:

You're stressed?
Have too much on your plate?
When the power goes out?

Yep. The power went out this morning for about two hours...two hours! You'd think that life as I knew it had ended! My first thought was, now, what am I'm going to do? I have a million and one things I've scheduled today at my computer and there's no power.

I put away the dishes.
I read.
I talked with my husband.
I reflected on life.

Wow. Maybe now I truly have something to write about!

When the light goes out at your house or in your brain (or both), don't get discouraged. Please, don't. The best thing you can do is to keep moving forward.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Marketing Your Book on a Budget 2014, NOW AVAILABLE IN PAPERBACK!

Read most of your books the old-fashioned way?

Then you'll be interested to know that Marketing Your Book on a Budget 2014 is now available in paperback. You can get it here.

As usual, I am also interested in obtaining some reviews, so let me know if you'd like to help with that.

Thanks, and happy marketing!


Monday, January 27, 2014


Time for another interview! 

Where is Rhonda's 'dream' writing place? What is her favorite part about writing? What FUN ways has Rhonda discovered to promote her books?

Don't miss the answer to my last question. It is truly profound.

Purchase Willie Out West
Purchase Beyond the Shadows of Tomorrow

Tell me a about yourself. What got you started in writing?

I took a course from the Institute of Children’s Literature in 1976, while I was at home recovering from Bronchial Asthma. I submitted my first two stories to Scott Foresman, and received derisive letters from my instructors. They told me submitting was a waste because “publishers do not publish stories from unknown authors, as they have their own stable of writers.” 

Surprise! The two grammar stories were published in Scott Foresman’s 1st Grade, Teacher’s Read Aloud Edition (A Questions of Markus, and The Runaway—Peter Period.) This encouraged me to continue writing. Three other grammar stories were accepted, but cut due to book length. I still have the dream that they will all eventually find a home in a children’s storybook.

How and where do you write? Do you prefer a lap top or do you prefer writing freehand? 

I have familial tremors, so freehand writing is out of the question. I love the quiet and beauty which are mine as every morning I look out from my porch to the open water of a very large lake. I often think I will sit down at my desk to read e-mails and then go to the porch to write, but I never get there. Each Spring, I promise myself I will spend every morning on the porch, looking out on the lake and distant shore, listening to the ducks fight in the water, and writing while relaxing. It would certainly be more relaxing.

What's your favorite part about writing? Your least favorite part about writing?

I love the way all of the story parts come together into one believable and understandable unit. I enjoy describing scenes and painting pictures with my words. My least favorite part is realizing that when I stop writing for a time, some fleeting thoughts will desert me while I’m ‘back in the real world’. And, once I get away, too often life fights to keep me away.

How do you come up with your characters? Why would readers want to get to know them?

Sometimes, I will see a humorous animal picture, and think “that would make a cute story.” Or, something in life will trigger a memory that I just know would make a great story-line for a book. Or, a scripture will turn on my imagination and I can hear myself explaining the scripture in a devotional. 

What types of marketing do you do to promote your writing?

I set up a booth at school and local events, hand out bookmarks with my book image on one side. I also have books on display in several stores in my small town. The problem is that this small, rural area just doesn't have much potential for book sales. We are moving back to the Dallas area next month, where greater opportunities await, I hope. Currently, a sign expert is creating a large display to use in my booths, so that my booth can compete with the often very decorated and overwhelming booths surrounding mine.  I also joined the library’s reading club, and intend to join several of them in the Dallas area. Although I have not had time the past few months to contact radio stations in the Dallas area, they are on my ‘to do’ list. This summer, I read my children’s book to children at two local libraries. 

How do you schedule your writing time? When do you write?

I am compulsive when I get started, and put writing aside while helping my in-laws get settled in a nursing home and renovating their home for us to move into. When we move in, I intend to sit down to write right after breakfast. This is an effort to get the writing done before I become involved with daily life activities.

What are you currently working on? Do you have a new book out?

I have several children’s stories ready to send to my illustrator, but the house renovation took up my resources. I have completed outlines on a couple of inspirational themes, including ideas for a women’s devotional. In addition, outlines for my own story are complete. (I have a medical issue which takes up a lot of my time at the moment, but several people have encouraged me to tell my story. It would easy to do, but I have difficulties with my publisher and this story needs an agent to help get it out. Right now, I have neither the money nor the contacts to go forward with the project, and I will not go the self-publishing route again. My writing engine is, at this moment, somewhat stalled. 

What would you tell a beginning writer who wants to publish but doesn't believe he/she has enough talent?

I do not believe the author is a good judge of his or her own talent. Even the best and most “talented” writers occasionally find doubt floating to surface. I read often of the self-doubt that famous authors still encounter. I would encourage you to  “just sit down and start.” You have seen poor writing throughout your life. You cannot be as bad as some of them, and they made money off of their “bad.”  Why not sit down and write to those you know and trust?  All writing is just talking to others. A hearing impaired person “talks” to others. His/her medium is hands. Your medium is the written word. Just talk to your friend. After you share your message, there will be time to make sure it is grammatically appropriate for publishing. Do not worry about it now. Editing comes later. Just talk in your own language, without concern that it is or is not a product of talent.  The talent is often in your words and the atmosphere you create with those words. I often hear, “It is not rocket science.” That is true, although you are utilizing the science of your own mind and personality. So, take off, explore the written universe, and see where it takes you.

Thank you, Rhonda!

Learn more about Rhonda:

Rhonda Walker
facebook: rhonda.r.walker or

Friday, January 24, 2014

Writer's Conference Coming Up in March!

Need some writing, editing or publishing assistance? Can't afford to spend tons of money on a conference? Then you'll want to check out:

I will be teaching a class entitled: Marketing Your Book on a Budget: How To Market With Little or No Money.

Check out the Facebook page.

You can learn more about the conference here:

If you have any questions, please feel free to email me. I would be happy to help.

I have been to many, many conferences, but not one that does a great job for $15! Come and have some fun!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Marketing eBook Released!

A heads up in case you didn't hear the news yesterday.

If you're looking for some new ideas on marketing your book, ideas that will cost you little or NO money, check out:

Marketing Your Book on a Budget 2014!

This is the eBook version; expect the paperback this weekend or early next week. I'll let you know when the day is finally here.

I've heard from a few of you about my new book. Thank you so much for your support.

I am also still looking for reviewers, so if you would like to review this book and post your review on Amazon, please let me know. I appreciate all those who have reviewed the book thus far.

You might also enjoy reading my article posted today at Words Unlimited. I give some timely ideas on putting together a book trailer without spending ANY money.

Come and see me at Words Unlimited and leave a comment. I promise to respond.

And thank you again for all of your support.

Happy Marketing!


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Do Your Characters Speak to You? Do You Listen?

I had a great conversation recently was a fellow author about characterization, and the importance of making their fictitious characters REAL.

What makes a character real? I asked.

I suppose they are like the rest of us, was the answer. They say the right things based on their likes and dislikes; perhaps where they sit in a family situation, whether first or fifth in line. They do the right things. You can count on them to visit particular places and settings.

Photo by: Menage a Moi, courtesy of Flickr

So what happens when your character doesn't feel like that to you?
I asked.

Well, you're probably not listening to them them, he answered.

Listen to a character?

You bet.

Have you ever been writing along merrily, when suddenly what you have written seems awkward, almost forced?

I have.

And the best thing I can do is to stop and take notice. The scene I have just written, does it run true for the character, or am I forcing the character into a place he/she wouldn't really go?

Is the character speaking like themselves, or like me? Do I want the character to say something so bad I forget that the character might just feel differently about that?

Okay, so maybe we writers are a little bit crazy. I'm almost saying here that we hear voices... but I want you to reflect on the last time you wrote dialogue.

Did you listen?

Was it more important to get the feelings of the character authentic over your agenda for them?

There's something soothing and yes, REAL about a character who appears real on paper because we've remembered to listen.

So listen...

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Marketing Book in Review Process: UPDATE!

Front and Back Cover

UPDATE: Marketing Your Book on a Budget is available NOW in Kindle! Get it at Amazon!

Expect the paperback later this week or early next week.

Happy Writing!


Monday, January 20, 2014


Are you a single parent? Find out why listening to God is so important to Lisa:

Tell me a about yourself.   

I am a parent, writer, author, and speaker, whose passion is sharing my 'parenting' journey with others.  I'm presently in a place where there is a lot of happiness and soul searching going on in my world.  My life has changed so much since I wrote my first book, THE BOOK "I'm Doing The Best I Can!" (They won't always be cute and adorable).  This was based on some of the most amazing lessons as well as awful ones of being a single parent and a parent who married.  I have come to the conclusion that parenting isn't always what it is cut out to be, especially if you get caught off guard by the changes your child will take you through. 

What got you started in writing?

Actually, it was a very spiritual encounter that took place in which I felt God's presence.  I had been journaling my thoughts for several years and during the time I was in such crisis with my son, he asked for me to take all of my words and to put them in a book for other parents to read.  It was to show them how life can be when you have no spiritual foundation versus how it could be with one.  When we speak, I will go into further detail.

How and where do you write? Do you prefer a lap top or do you prefer writing freehand?

I'm kind of old school!  I really like sitting in front of my desktop in my office while being as creative as possible. 

What's your favorite part about writing? Your least favorite part about writing?

Favorite - being creative and sharing positive and helpful information.  Least Favorite - all the editing!!!  My editor is amazing though.

How do you come up with your characters? Why would readers want to get to know them? 

There really aren't any characters because most of what I write comes from past experiences.  Readers will enjoy the self-help tidbits that will allow them to know that just because things may not be exactly what they think family life should be, that there are many ways to change those expectations.  My books are written with such compassion because I don't want mothers and fathers to hurt so much.  Family life was meant to be a blessing not a curse.

What types of marketing do you do to promote your writing? 

I've been contacting radio, television and print.  I don't like to give up, so every two weeks if I've not heard from them, I'll either call or send an email which reminds them of me and then I usually land an interview.  I'm now in the process of setting up book signings and contacting seminars and  women's ministries that may require a speaker.  

How do you schedule your writing time? When do you write?  

I usually wake up around 2 am.  It's always been that way.  Someone told me that the creative angels are out at that time.  I believe it!
What are you currently working on? Do you have a new book out?  

Yes, my newest title has been available for a couple of months.  'Manifesting God's Love in Your Family,' took me about a year to write, edit, re-edit, and print.  It was amazing to be in God's presence listening for that long.

Do you have a project on the back burner? Tell me about it.  Not at this moment.  I'm so busy promoting this book, I don't have the time for one more endeavor.

What would you tell a beginning writer who wants to publish but doesn't believe he/she has enough talent?  

Never discredit yourself.  I have absolutely no experience and when I allowed myself to listen to to God, I found that we each have an inner talent.  All you can do is try and then make sure you have a great editor!


Thank you, Lisa! Contact Lisa at: 

My website is

Friday, January 17, 2014

When in Doubt...Write!

I talk to many writers who believe that if they feel like writing they write, and when they don't feel like writing they don't.

What I know to be true (at least for me) is that when I don't feel like writing and write anyway, the best stuff comes. I think this is because:

  • I am angry about something in my life and the heat is just flaring up. What better way to get some emotion out?
  • I am just plain lazy, and so my writing might start out like, "I really don't want to do this, I'd rather not write today but I'm told by ______________ that if I do something great will come out of this. What? I ask you? What?" Something amazing happens when you just start writing without a destination or even a beginning in sight. You actually get somewhere. It may take a little while, but I promise you something wonderful will jump out that you can use.
  • Photo by tonyhall, courtesy of Flickr
  • I feel as if I'm too busy. When I feel as if I'm too busy it's usually because I AM. Did you hear that? Let go of something material or immaterial that really doesn't matter anyway and get down to business.
  • I'm sick. When I am ill all I want to do is lay around and watch television. But when I've picked up a pen and paper and got started writing, miracles have occurred! Notice that I said nothing about the computer. When you're ill, and have no intention of sitting upright, don't. Do some lounging and writing.
When in doubt about writing, write! Writing is healing, it helps you sort through your personal gripes, and most of all, it's FUN!

Have a happy day writing,


Thursday, January 16, 2014

Marketing Cover!

Good news!

We're nearing the publishing of Marketing Your Book on a Budget 2014.

There have been some last minute needed changes, and a bit of tweaking to the cover, but all in all the changes have been a success.

I should have everything edited by this weekend, so expect to see a new book on my site as well as on Amazon within the next couple of weeks!

Here's the book cover:

I would LOVE to know what you think of the new cover!


Wednesday, January 15, 2014


You'll not want to miss my  interview with author, Jeanne Rogers. Why is the wild animal population so important to her, and how does she get children involved in reaching out?

Learn about some great marketing methods that Jeanne uses, yes, even though she HATES marketing. Find out what she truly loves.

Tell me a about yourself. What got you started in writing?

I have two interests in which I am very invested. First, I have a reverence for life and a sincere concern for the status of wild animals. I believe human life on this planet is intrinsically connected to wild life. I have always wished I could do more to bring attention to the issue, other than donate to the World Wildlife Federation, or the Environmental Defense Fund. I also believe that it is possible for man to live in harmony with nature. It is something we should strive for.

So, after thinking about ways that I could do more, it came to me that I just might be able to combine my love of writing in such a way as to teach youngsters about wild animals. It’s a big subject, and an important one. There are many animals whose lives are either threatened or straight out endangered. Some are critically endangered to the point that one day soon we may never see them again.  A long time ago, I read a book entitled, Last Chance to See. This book was the catalyst for me, and it still holds a place of honor on my bookshelf. The plight of endangered animals gave me a reason to write.  

But, to attract kids, the writing needed to be fun, and subtly introduce youngsters to endangered animals. In an effort to achieve this goal, I have placed, and will always place, a glossary at the back of my books. The glossary provides tidbits of information and a web site where my readers can see what the animals look like in real life. It’s an adventure; it’s a teaching tool, it’s just plan fun, and shouldn't that be what we offer to young readers? Isn't that what might spark them to read more? Now there’s a thought!

How and where do you write? Do you prefer a laptop or do you prefer writing freehand?

I actually start by writing freehand, but once I reach a certain pace (too fast for my pen), I switch over to the computer. Seems a bit cumbersome, but it works well for me.  I am sure that most writers will identify with the muse attacking them, and when she does, woe to the writer who doesn't listen. I tend to listen, so when those words start to flow, I switch over to the keyboard.

As to where I write, I admit to carrying a small notebook, and sometimes a recorder so if something comes to mind I can write it down no matter where I am. Under optimum conditions, I am sitting at my desk gazing out at the woods in the back of my home in Connecticut. The view inspires me.

What's your favorite part about writing? Your least favorite part about writing?

Writing is an artistic process, and if you allow your imagination to run wild you can create a great deal, and become immersed in that creation. You can take your story anywhere. There are no borders, no limitations. With my pen (or laptop), and a great deal of imagination I can go places that don’t exist, and I can stay there for quite some time. No one can tell me that what I’m envisaging is wrong, or that my plot is too wild, or doesn't make sense. I’m just typing away, creating. I’ll worry about the details after I’m finished.  Those thorny details may include necessary things like, plot flow, story structure, character enhancement, etc., etc. Then there is grammar and all the other aspects of editing. It’s tough to edit your own work. I tend to look toward the professionals, and I do have a wonderful editor that I rely on to catch me when I fall into the bad grammar, misused comma, overly adjectivized (is that a word), pit.

Did I mention that marketing is the work of the devil? Yes, I've said it a million times before. Just for emphasis, marketing is the work of the devil. It is my least favorite thing about writing. In the current publishing environment, there is sooooo… much competition. For example, last year over 300,000 self-published books were listed on Amazon. The number will certainly not decrease. So today’s writers must have a good marketing plan, which goes hand in had with a good author platform. Both items are necessary, and both are difficult to properly construct. Marketing is something that needs to begin well before one’s book is published, and you have to work at it all the time. You need to be familiar with all social media: LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Google +, etc. You name it; you had better have a presence there, or else! Ugh! Can you tell that this is my least favorite part?

Purchase The Sword of Demelza
How do you come up with your characters? Why would readers want to get to know them?

It’s easy for me to come up with characters. Most of the characters in my books are animals and many of them are endangered. I pull them from nature, bring these animals to life, and it’s a blast. Then I dress them, give them hopes and dreams, give them problems, and place elaborate obstructions in their paths, which requires them to rethink their original plans, then they watch those plans fall apart, and suddenly come back together again. I hope my readers become invested when they meet them, because they have never met nor spoken with any characters quite like these before. Also, I am sure that my readers will be able to identify with my characters. There are dilemmas within the story that the characters have to deal with. These dilemmas will make the reader reflect on situations in their daily lives. Issues like family trouble, making friends, love, the value of teamwork and dedication to a cause, are woven into the story and brought to life by the characters.

My creatures are interesting characters. They talk to me daily and insist that I get their stories down on a piece of paper. I listen to them. If I don’t, they’ll be there in the morning when I wake up, and they’ll bother me until I pay attention.

What types of marketing do you do to promote your writing?

I believe I mentioned above how much I enjoy marketing – NOT! I’ll elaborate a bit on what I believe is necessary to appropriately market yourself and your book. In my opinion, in order to promote/market a book, several factors should be considered. First, you have to know your competition. Some writers just have an idea and they move forward, take out pen and paper and start to write. But have they considered similar books? Writers need to know their competition.

Another factor, which helps a writers properly promote their writing, is knowing your audience. Your audience is your market, and believe me when I say, marketing is the work of the devil (did I say that already?), so you had better consider your audience ‘cause it’s your market. Once you know your audience you can set up a plan to promote and build your platform for them. Your platform is another essential marketing tool. You must think about what it is that makes you different from everyone out there, zero in on it, and focus on it.

Promotion and building a platform are essential. You can’t wait until you have that manuscript ready to publish or send to an agent! Begin establishing yourself and building your platform well in advance of your planned publishing date. I started years in advance on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. I started a blog focusing on what my passion is: animals, educating youngsters, highlighting Australia, and having a bit of fun while doing it. Make it your business to know yourself and know your market/audience.

How do you schedule your writing time? When do you write?

I would really like to say that I am SO disciplined that I set aside three hours beginning at 4:00 a.m. and ending at 7:00 am. At 7:00, I switch over to writing my blog, which continues well into the afternoon (snicker, snicker). Lies, all lies!  I truly operate on a first come first served basis. That sounds a bit weird, but if the muse for Facebook arrives before the muse for blogging, then Facebook it is. I am a creative writer, and I work creatively. It’s more fun that way, and if I’m enjoying what I’m doing, like typing out this interview answer, I leave all other muses waiting in line.

What are you currently working on? Do you have a new book out?

I am so glad you asked that question! I am working on book two. It’s entitled, The Gift of Sunderland. I am so excited about it. The main characters of the story will once again be anthropomorphized animals. They will run rampant through the pages on an exciting and thrilling adventure. Oh, what’s that you say, you’d like to read an opening paragraph? Wonderful: 

“In the northern lands of Acadia, deep in the realm of Sunderland, there once stood an ancient gum tree. The ancient tree fell so long ago that the event was no longer a part of the Forest’s memory.  Now it is a comfortable and cozy home for a regal line of numbats named Ayers. Roland Ayers’ family history was a source of pride for the great marsupial. He was patriarch of his immediate family, advisor to his extended family and Guardian of the Forest. The creatures throughout Acadia recognized his strength and the power of his sorcery. Like the fallen tree, Roland was old. Soon the role of Guardian would be passed on.”

I am working toward a publishing date in April this year. Thanks for asking.

Do you have a project on the back burner? Tell me about it.

I don’t really have anything on the back burner. However, I do have many ideas that are percolating for the third book. There certainly will be a third. I already have the title. It will be called The Last Ayer. I know where it will head, but nothing has been put down in concrete yet. The muse is waiting in the wings.

What would you tell a beginning writer who wants to publish but doesn't believe he/she has enough talent?

I think the one thing that new writers need is tenacity and faith. You have to keep trying. Depending on where you are in your writing process, whether you are in the midst of writing that book you always wanted to write, or you’re still in school studying the craft, the best advice I can give is keep at it. It’s the fire in the belly, the sense of urgency that will get you to where you want to be.

You must have faith in yourself. You must believe that what you are writing is worthy, and then write it. This takes some courage, but stay with it, seek help when you need it, and keep writing. Write about what you love and the rest will fall into place.

Finally, be sure that you have plenty of beta readers, consider hiring a professional editor, and seek out help when you need it. That’s where social media comes in. There are tons of individuals out there ready and willing to help and advise you.  Remember, if you are enjoying what you’re doing it will all come together.

Thank you, Jeanne! 

Learn more about Jeanne here: 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Ugh! When Stress is Created by the Clock (and by Those Who Fail to Watch It)

Don't be disturbed by the title. It's what came to me this morning as I tried to get things done and others around me didn't quite see the need to do their part.

You know what I mean. You are trying to get ready for the day, the other person (whom you're dropping off at school) doesn't care as much as you do, so everyone is late.'re trying to make it to church on time the other person (maybe even more than one person) doesn't think it's a big deal to walk in while the opening song is being sung.

You want to get out the door, to anything, and the other someone is always holding you back. If it was just you, well, you'd be on time no matter what it was.

You wouldn't blame the ice
the snow
that phone call

Photo by: Ian Crowfeather, courtesy of Flickr
not being able to find your shoes

You would get there.

Yes, I am a fairly organized person. Though I'm not a perfect soul, I do schedule time for things like going to school and to church. I do like it when I know when I'm going to write and when I'm going to work at my business. I like to know when I'm babysitting my grandchildren and what I'm going to have for dinner, though the last scenario doesn't always work out. It's just easier to let that one slide.

But I hope you get the idea. Stress is often created when those around you see life differently, and this can wreck havoc with a person like me.

So, I guess I am venting today. I'm writing, yes, because I try to write on my blog at least five mornings a week, though I'm sometimes interrupted by other duties (that admittedly have been forgotten by someone else). And I'd like to think that I'm learning something by all of this.

About patience, surely.

About differences in living life, most definitely. About priorities?

Why is it that something that makes you scream can make another person just look at you and blink their eyes?

Photo by: Razmataz', courtesy of Flickr
What about you? What ruffles your feathers? Just get it out.

Monday, January 13, 2014


Find out why JoAnne begins her writing process by hand and why she loves revision.

Tell me a about yourself. What got you started in writing?

I was born on the South Side of Chicago and lived in the basement flat of my great aunt's two-flat. I was an only child, a dreamer, who played alone for hours in the attic and in the backyard. I guess the writing started in my head. I've wanted to write as long as I can remember. I think the first moment I knew I wanted to write was in the first grade, when I made my first book out of manila paper and crayons. I was also inspired to write by my father who once told me a story about his friend and him being locked inside a haunted house. He had me at the edge of my seat with this story. Afterwards when he told me he made it up, I knew that I wanted to make up stories too. But stories didn't come to me until high school, starting with pure symbolism and fantasy, and then in my twenties and thirties with realism. At forty, I finally found my genre—YA paranormal and fantasy.

How and where do you write? Do you prefer a laptop or do you prefer writing freehand?

When I wrote Obsession, I wrote it first by hand in a composition notebook. I didn't think at the time I could compose at a keyboard. I needed that hand-to-brain connection. But while revising Obsession, I learned that I could craft new scenes at the keyboard.

I've now evolved to a mixture of writing at the computer and writing by hand. Writing by hand really helps me get into the character's head and is helpful when writing introspective parts or parts in which the character is recapping what happened and how he or she feels about it. I also write by hand when using my journal to brainstorm and work out problem scenes.

Right now, I prefer writing at my desk because of the fast computer and big display. If I had a decent laptop (I have a net bookL), I would write everywhere—patio, yard, living room, kitchen table—wherever it's quiet.

What's your favorite part about writing? Your least favorite part about writing?

My favorite part of writing is revision. I know, it should be the least favorite, but at the revision stage you have the raw material down and have something to reassess and work with. Plus, the novel is closest to its finished form, and that feels good. I don't think I have a least favorite part of writing. It's all fun.

How do you come up with your characters? Why would readers want to get to know them?

I can't say exactly how I come up with my characters. My story ideas come from reoccurring dreams. I guess I have an inner sense of who the character should be—what they look like, how they act. Maybe I get that from the personas in my dreams. I guess I look for characters that fit the mood of the story and who will interact with the conflict in interesting ways. Even after I have an idea of who the character should be, I spend time developing the character further—or maybe you can say I get to know the character further, for example, what happened in the character's past to make the character the way he or she is.

I think the main characters I've developed so far tap into real feelings and qualms that we can all relate to. My characters are not perfect. They make mistakes, and they don't have flawless personalities. They could be spoiled, controlling, vulnerable—but they always learn from their mistakes and grow.

What types of marketing do you do to promote your writing?

I hate marketing. I hate saying "Buy my book." I do, however, want people to know that my book exists and where to find it if they are interested. I do have a Twitter account and try to tweet at least every week about Obsession. But, to me, it feels like shouting into a void. I also have a Facebook page for Obsession. I would like to use that page to engage with my readers. The thing I love about Facebook is being able to meet and be in touch with many people. I love doing giveaways. My goal is to increase the number of books I'm giving away for each. I believe that word of mouth is the best way to market a book.

How do you schedule your writing time? When do you write?

Because I also work as a freelance technical editor, the times I have to write shift according to my work load. If I've edited all day, I may or may not write for an hour after dinner. If I've had a full week of editing work, I'll spend time on the weekend to write or revise my work. If I don't have editing work for the day, I'll spend the day writing or revising. My best times to write are in the morning and in the evening. But typically, I can write any time as long as I've quieted my mind first.

What are you currently working on? Do you have a new book out?

I am currently planning a series of books to follow an urban-fantasy novel I wrote called Gargoyled.

Do you have a project on the back burner? Tell me about it.

My back-burner project is a contemporary science fiction novel. Yes, this is different than ghosts, paranormal, and fantasy that I've written about in the past. It will be told in a different narrative than my other three novels. The others were told in the first person present. This novel will be in first person past. I want the main character to be able to compare how she felt then with how she feels now.

What would you tell a beginning writer who wants to publish but doesn't believe he/she has enough talent?

First of all, you have to believe in yourself. It will energize your writing. Second of all, if you define talent as writing flowing prose or great metaphors, then I'd say this type of talent isn't mandatory to publish. What you need is to learn how to craft a great story and how to write clean prose. These are skills, and skills are learned, practiced, and honed.


Thank you, JoAnne. Learn more about JoAnne here:

Social Sites
Twitter: @JoAnneKeltner

OBSESSION can be purchased as an eBook from:

Barnes and Noble (
Musa Publishing (

Friday, January 10, 2014

Marketing Your Book on a Budget 2014

If you haven't yet heard the news, here it is again...

My newly updated book, Marketing Your Book on a Budget, will be available this month! My initial goal was the 15th of this month, and the book may yet come out at that time, but we have had some last minute issues come up.

Suffice it to say, Marketing Your Book on a Budget 2014, needs to be in tip-top shape before it's released. So I'm working hard on making that happen.

Here's the cover:

Chapter headings include:

Blogs: Yours & Others
Social Media
Speak for Free
Offer Your Book for Free
Get Some Free Advertising
Book Trailers
Do Some Unheard of Book Signings
Carry it with You
Offer a Free eBook or Paperback in a Contest
Use Postcards Instead of Business Cards to Promote Your Work

New ideas included!

I could use some REVIEWS so let me know if you'd like to review this updated book!


Thursday, January 9, 2014

Too Busy?

Photo by: Chapendra, courtesy of Flickr

I received a repeat assignment from my husband today.

I have neglected to get to updating our publishing site, and my husband is feeling the pain.

"How are we going to advertise it, if it's still incomplete?" he asked.

I finally put it on my list today.

Let's get serious. Whatever is on a list manages to get done. Those things merely in my mind have a tendency to drift away to nothingness. Either I forget, or something ELSE gets put in the things place.

I like lists. They keep me organized and keep my mind straight. Every morning when my mind swirls with all of the things that need to get done, I stop the swirling motion by writing what I have to do: down.

And then I get going.

What do you do when you feel as if you're too busy?