Q is for Quietus #AtoZchallenge

QjpgOn the A to Z challenge, the letter of the day is Q. My first thought was to write about the second book in my trilogy, Quietus.

When trying to come up with a nemesis in for this book, I developed a small purple insect that devoured anything in its path. I was looking for a name for my creation which would be the bane of the Land. Thanks to a thesaurus I found the word Quietus which means something that eliminates or kills. Perfect, I thought. But I failed to look up the pronunciation of the word and assumed it was quiet us (kwahy-it-uhs).

QuietusFINALFrom Quietus:

“Yeah. Some storeowner I guess started it. Some out-of-towner described the area to him and how quiet it seemed. Hence, he called it Quietus. Or as he said ‘One that will quiet us all.’ Anyway the name has caught on.”

Of course later I found out that it is pronounced – kwahy-ee-tuhs.

Regardless of how it is pronounced, I thought the title was unique. But a quick check on Amazon shows that at least dozen other books with quietus in the title. Go figure.

P is for poison #AtoZchallenge

PToday on the A to Z challenge, we are up to the letter P. I decided to go with Poison. As a fantasy writer, I have often written about poison, whether it be on a poisoned item such as a dagger or one that is slipped into someone’s drink.

poisonHaving a character poisoned can add drama and conflict to your story. Will an antidote be found in time? Or will it just provide a gruesome death?

When writing about a poison, be sure to research it well. You need to know how it is administered, how it affects the body, and whether there is an antidote or not. The Internet is obviously a great place to research poisons, but I love the book Deadly Doses – a writer’s guide to poisons. This is a great beginning resource for symptoms, toxicity levels and reaction times.

And if you can’t find a poison to fit your story, consider creating your own. For more information on that, check out my post: Creating a fictional poison to add drama to your novel.

Today’s Featured Author: Diane Williams

Today, I welcome author Diane Williams to my blog to discuss her latest release, Angels in Action.

Interview

What or who inspired you to start writing?

My mother inspired me to start writing. She told me that I talk a lot, so I should write. She used to say, “You talk too much, no one wants to hear all that talking. So write it down, and those who want to read it will read it!” Then she brought me a pencil and a pad of paper, and told me to start writing.

Do you write full-time? If so, what is your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?

Yes, I do write full time. I write all day, for seven to eight hours per day. I also do marketing, promotions, and public relations for probably an hour or so a day.

What is the best thing about being a writer? The worst?

The best thing about being a writer is the freedom. The worst thing is the rewriting, rewriting, and rewriting.

Please tell us about your current release.

Angels in Action is my personal account of learning to access and utilize my inner power to overcome adversity.

What inspired you to write this book?

When I saw the miracles in my life I wanted to share them with others, because I know problems are universal. I wanted them to know that the power and the answers are there within them—there’s always an answer, you just have to access it!

How did you come up with the title?

I called the book Angels in Action because for each situation, someone came out of the unexpected, something miraculous happened, and I knew it had to be an angel. Although that happened on earth, I knew that it was an angel in action, because the actions of angels produced miracles.

What was the most difficult thing/scene to write in this story?

The most difficult story for me to write was “Touched With Caution.” I felt like that situation, although I learned a lot from it, didn’t turn out to be completed for the best, and didn’t go in a positive direction. I learned the lesson too late.

Have you started your next project? If so, can you share a little bit about your next book?

My next project is The Invisible Child, which is about my daughters’ struggles between being my caregivers and having their own identities. It is an account of the first ten years after my diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis, which caused my use of a wheelchair.

If you could jump in to any book, and live in that world, which would it be?

I think it would be The Audacity of Hope, by Barack Obama. I would love to live the life he led before the presidency, because he was so positive, he was so driven, he was so self-motivated and passionate about his work. He knew what he wanted and what his purpose was, and I liked the fact that he was real with himself. He knew he wasn’t the privilege-born child… that’s why it’s called The Audacity of Hope. Because of his personality, he was able to attract people of all walks of life to him. He would go that extra mile, and he never gave up. I would love to have those qualities and the opportunity to use them for something great. But I do NOT want to be the president… that goal, I do not have!

Is there a specific place in the house (or out of the house) that you like to write?

I love to write in my backyard! I like the beauty, and the serenity, and the sounds of the birds… it’s so peaceful.

What book are you reading right now?

I am reading The President’s Devotionals, by Joshua Dubois.

If you could meet two authors, who would you pick and why?

I would definitely want to meet Maya Angelou, she’s my favorite author. I think the other would have to be Shel Silverstein… he has such an imagination!

Book Blurb

Angels in ActionAngels in Action is an inspirational book full of spiritual lessons and devotional reflections. It contains seventeen incidents of divine intervention, or “angel moments,” that took place in my life. Each narrative demonstrates how a woman learns to live with the knowledge and strength afforded by a relationship with a power greater than herself and how she is transformed into a self-actualized individual by communing with her inner spirit.

About the Author

Diane Williams is a full-time freelance writer of books, book reviews, profiles, and journalistic feature articles. A graduate of the Masters of Communication program at the University of La Verne and lifetime student at the university, Williams’ works have been published in When God Makes Lemonade, Guideposts, Angels on Earth, PLUS, Pray! magazine, and the San Dimas Writer’s Workshop’s Tales from the Authors: Stories, Essays, and Poetry Vol. 1. She is currently working on her second, soon-to-be-released book: The Invisible Child: A Memoir.

Check out Diane’s blog or find her on Facebook.

You can purchase Angels in Action on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Online marketing your books – #AtoZchallenge

As a self-published author of e-books, all of my marketing has been done online. I do not have physical copies of my books, so there is nothing to send to reviewers or ask bookstore owners to buy.

OToday is the letter O on the A to Z challenge, and I am talking about online marketing.

So you have written a wonderful novel that you know readers will love to read. But being a self-published author your job doesn’t end there. In order to be successful, people must know about your novel and the only way to do that is to market it (and yourself).

Every author should establish an author website or blog as places readers can go to learn more about the author, his or her books and what work is currently in progress. Now, I suggest you make an AUTHOR website and not one for a specific book or series. It is much easier to keep just one website up-to-date, and it allows the reader to easily find ALL your information in one place.

Be sure on your website (or blog) to include a brief author bio as well as a way to buy your boosk even if it is only a link to a major retailer. For other dos and don’ts of an author website, check out my blog – Tips to improve your author website.

In addition to a web page, you might consider doing a Facebook page and set up a Twitter account.

Many authors disagree on whether you should use Twitter as a marketing tool. Some authors consider it to be spam to send out self-promoting tweets. Well, I am not one of them. I think there is nothing wrong with tweeting about your latest release or blog post. But (and this is important) you do NOT want the only thing you tweet about to be all about you and your great book. Join conversations. Tweet about other interests. Tweet about other author’s successes too. If you do decide to use Twitter, consider using a few programs designed for Twitter users such as Hootsuite and bitly.

One of my favorite hash tags to tweet about my own books is #SampleSunday and #TeaserTuesday where you let readers know where they can find excerpts of your books. What  better way to introduce new readers to your books than by giving them a “free” taste?

Joining author groups such as Author’s Database or Independent Author’s Network can offer not only author support but allow readers to find you on these sites. World Literary Café is also a good place that offers many ways to promote your novel.

You can use reading groups such as Goodreads to help build a network with other booklovers but these typically are not places to spout off about your books. In fact doing so will turn readers off to you and your books.

There are of course many other marketing options out there for authors – some of them paid and some of them free. The key is to try as many different ones as you need to find out what works for you and your books. Remember that no one will buy your book – no matter how great it is – if they don’t know it exists.

M is for Main Character #AtoZChallenge

MjpgIt is the letter M today on the A to Z Challenge. I have previously written about antagonists, minor characters and sidekicks, but today I want to focus on the main character or characters in your novel.

I can’t stress enough that you need a well-developed main character for your novel. I can watch a movie or read a book that has a so-so plot if the main character is someone whom I like, am interested in/care about or can relate to.

Obviously, when developing a character, you will need their physical description (tall, blond hair, blue eyes, short, plump, scar on the forehead), but you need to know so much more than that. You need to know everything about them even if you don’t think it is relative to your plot.

You should know their family history, where they were born, who raised them, what happened to them as a child, their love life, his or her life experiences as each of these made your character into the person he or she is today.

Some areas to consider when developing your character…

1.)    What does he or she want?

2.)    Are there any obstacles they will need to overcome?

3.)    Who is their best friend? What is their family like?

4.)    Do they have any talents?

5.)    What is their strength? Weakness?

6.)    How do they look? How do they act? Do they have any unique mannerisms?

This is by no means a complete list.

Another great way to help develop your character is to interview them. Ask them some of these questions and more and let them answer in their own words.

Remember to give your character flaws and not just some random traits. There should be reasons behind those flaws.

Basically, you should know your character inside and out. By understanding their motives, their emotions and their response to what happens in your story, you will write better. You will write so your characters come alive for your readers and so then will your story.

Wiggle, wiggle – yes, it is a loose tooth #AtoZchallenge

The night before Lexie’s birthday party, Jase lost another tooth. I’m not counting so I can’t tell you how many he has lost. But for Lexie, it was a reminder that she still has yet to lose one.

LToday on the A to Z challenge, it is time for the letter L, and I am talking about loose teeth.

Jase lost his first tooth in February of 2012 – just three months before his 7th birthday. It was barely hanging on, and the dentist pulled it for him. Jase has always been hesitant to pull his teeth. He is afraid that it will hurt. I was the same way as a child and remember the dentist pulling a few of mine too.

Jase lost another one at the dentist office last September. The hygienist was polishing his tooth, and it just came out. He didn’t feel a thing. He was happy. Not only did he get another cute little treasure chest to put his tooth in, he knew the tooth fairy would be stopping by that evening.

For a first tooth, our tooth fairy leaves two dollar coins. After that the rate is one dollar coin per tooth.

The funny thing is this last tooth that came out is one of the first that didn’t have another tooth already come in behind it. Typically, you think of the new tooth coming in under the baby tooth and forcing it out. Sometimes, however, the baby teeth don’t want to leave the mouth, and the permanent tooth comes in behind it. This phenomenon is known as shark teeth. This happens with about 10% of kids.

Shark teeth really doesn’t mean much except that when the baby tooth finally did come out, there was a tooth already in its place so Jase never had that missing tooth grin that so many kids have. The one that just came out in March did not have a tooth behind it so it was his first chance at that classic childhood grin.

I would say that the most interesting incident we had with losing a tooth was two years ago. The family was getting ready for a trip to Disney World. Jase had a loose tooth, but we just couldn’t seem to grab it well enough to pull it. Those things are so small and slippery sometimes. (Even the dentist had a hard time with his first tooth.) So I went to Disney World prepared for him to lose his tooth. I just didn’t expect it to fall out the instant we walked through the gates of the Magic Kingdom. Luckily, I was carrying the tooth treasure chest. The tooth fairy even found Jase while we were there and left her customary dollar coin.

So now we are just waiting for Lexie to lose her first tooth. She checks quite often to see if any of them are loose. I know one day soon she will be thrilled to have one wiggle when she touches it. And then it will be time to put the tooth fairy on alert.