Today’s Featured Author – Dr. Bridgette Jenkins

Today I welcome author Dr. Bridgette Jenkins to my blog. She is on a Blog Tour promoting her book, Bounce Back: Tips for Overcoming Adversity, Life Challenges and Setbacks.

Book Blurb

Bounce Back will encourage you to be intentional about facing adversity and challenges while staying positive about your situation. With practicality, wisdom and experience, Dr. Bridgette shares strategies and tips that can be used to help you Bounce Back from any negative life situation. After reading this book, and applying the practical Bounce Back tips, you will be able to withstand, recover from and overcome any challenge you might face in life.

About the Author

Dr. Bridgette is a doctorly prepared registered nurse who specializes in education and community health. She has a heart for nursing students and those struggling to reach their education and career goals. She serves as mentor and coach to nurses and nursing students as they matriculate through the nursing profession.

She is the owner of Health Education Institute where she teaches lifesaving courses to healthcare providers and the public. She also offers a variety of courses to healthcare providers to help them stay current on updates and changes within the healthcare arena. Dr. Bridgette also speaks at churches and community events on various health issues that are prevalent among vulnerable populations.

She is the CEO/President of the Houston Chapter of Black Nurses Rock, a nonprofit organization committed to changing the lives of the citizens in the Houston area and surrounding communities through service and education.

Bridgette resides in Houston, Texas where she’s actively involved in her church and community. She is a mother to three adult children and a miniature schnauzer named Dallas. She is also MiMi to two adorable grandsons.

You can find out more about Bridgette on her website.

You can purchase Bounce Back on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

 

Deciding on Front Matter for your novel

This post is the forty-second in a series about writing a novel. You can check out the list of past topics at the end of this post.

Now that your cover and book description are complete, it is time to think about what else you want to include in your book because you need to include more than just your story. Everything that goes before your story is called the Front Matter.

It comprises at a minimum the book’s title and copyright information, but can include other things such as a preface, dedication, or table of contents.

What you include is up to you but don’t want to have a lot of front matter as this is just more pages your reader has to flip/scroll through to reach the start of your book. Also, if you put in too much at the front, it will decrease the number of pages your reader can download or view online as part of a sample of your book.

Title Page (*a must)

This page is pretty obvious. You list the title of your book (and series) and who wrote it. This looks best if you center it.

Quietus

Book Two of The Elemental

 By Susan Leigh Noble

 Copyright Page (*a must)

On the copyright page, you list the copyright notice which will contain the name of the copyright owner and the publication year. This page may also list the permissions and disclaimers. Keep the information to this page to a minimum.

Here is the copyright page from Quietus.

This book is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places and incidents are products of the writer’s imagination. Any resemblances to persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.

Copyright © 2011 by Susan Leigh Noble

Published by Susan Leigh Noble

Cover design by Donna Casey (www.digitaldonna.com)

Photos used to create the cover were obtained from dreamtime.com.

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or retransmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by an information storage and retrieval system — except by a reviewer who may quote brief passages in a review to be printed in a magazine, newspaper, or on the web — without expressed written permission from Susan Leigh Noble. 

Dedication/Acknowledgement (optional)

If you would like to dedicate your book to someone, it is done in the front of the book. It is located after the copyright page but before any table of contents or start of the actual book. Again, keep this short – one or two people.

My dedication from Summoned:

To my husband,

Without you, this book would not exist.

Acknowledgments are to thank those people who have helped in the creation of your novel – the police officer you interviewed, your editor, your spouse for their support and so on.

List of other books (optional)

This is where you list other books that you have written. This can be listed in the front OR the back of the book. I personally like it at the back of the book when publishing an e-book.

Here is what could be listed in the third book of my trilogy.

Discover other titles by Susan Leigh Noble

The Search (short story prequel to The Elemental trilogy)

Summoned: Book 1 of The Elemental

Quietus: Book 2 of The Elemental

Preface (optional)

This piece written by the author often tells why the book was written, your research methods and perhaps some acknowledgements if they are not listed separately. This is more common in non-fiction.

Forward (optional)

This is a short piece written by someone other than the author and may provide a context for the main work. If this is a work of non-fiction, a forward by an expert can lend authority to your book. The forward is usually signed with its author’s name, place and date.

Table of Contents (optional)

A table of contents (TOC) is most often added to non-fiction books. It also could be used for a collection of stories whether an anthology, short stories or a “box set” of your trilogy to aid the reader in finding the story or section they want to read.

Now whether your fiction book needs a TOC is a matter of preference. Some authors and readers prefer a TOC. If you have given names to each of your chapter, a TOC might make more sense. Otherwise it will be just a list of chapters (Chapter One, Chapter Two and so on.) If you do include a TOC, it should be right before your first chapter or prologue.

Next week we will look at Back Matter which is all the stuff that comes after your story.

Previous topics

#1 – Deciding to write a novel – Writing Myths

#2 – Three areas to develop before starting to write a novel

#3 – Finding a Story Idea and How to Know if it “good enough”

#4 – Developing Characters for your Novel

#5 – Major characters? Minor Characters? Where does everyone fit in?

#6 – Developing the Setting for your Novel

#7 – The importance of developing conflict in your novel plot

#8 – To Outline or not to outline 

#9 – The importance of a story arc

#10 – The importance of tension and pace

#11 – Prologue and opening scenes

#12 – Beginning and ending scenes in a novel

#13 – The importance of dialogue…and a few tips on how to write it

#14 – Using Internal Dialogue in your novel

#15 – More dialogue tips and help with dialogue tags

#16 – Knowing and incorporating back story into your novel

#17 – Hinting at what is to come with foreshadowing

#18 – Tips for writing different scenes in your novel

#19 – Dealing with Writer’s Block

#20 – Killing a Character in your Novel

#21 – Keeping things realistic in your novel

#22 – Establishing Writing Goals and Developing Good Writing Habits

#23 – Using the five senses and passive voice in your novel

#24 – The benefit of research in fiction writing

#25 – Novella or Novel, Trilogy or Series – decisions for writers

#26 – Avoiding Plot and Character Clichés

#27 – Novel Writing – Endings and Epilogues

#28 – Fantasy Novel Writing – World Building, Dragons, Magic and More

#29 – Finishing your First Draft

#30 – Your Second Draft and Beyond

#31 – Picking Stronger Words and Watching out for Homonyms

#32 – Omitting unnecessary words in your novel

#33 – Beta Reader, Proofreaders and Copy Editors

#34 – Knowing your grammar or at least using a grammar checking program

#35 – Using a Revision Outline during your Novel Editing

#36 – Editing Techniques: Taking a Break and Reading Aloud

#37 – Publishing Options for your book

#38 – Self-publishing an ebook decisions

#39 – Picking Your Book Title and Your Pen Name

#40 – Investing in an eye-catching book cover

#41 – Writing an awesome book blurb

Are two X Box gaming consoles better than one?

A few weeks ago, my husband confused me with his line of thinking. This confusion happens from time to time but this one really had me pondering his thought line. When did the solution to getting the kids off the Xbox One in our bedroom be to get a second Xbox One? Wouldn’t have been easier to just move the Xbox One to the downstairs TV?

Ok…let’s go back a little bit and describe the whole scenario.

We have way too many game-playing consoles as it is. Before the latest addition, we had 4 gaming consoles – 2 upstairs and 2 downstairs.

Downstairs we had an Xbox 360 and a Wii U. When we got the Wii U, we moved the old Wii game console upstairs. We probably should just get rid of the Wii as no one plays it any more. My husband also bought an Xbox One when they came out and placed it upstairs, so he could play video games in the bedroom. At the time, the kids usually played video games in the living room.

I don’t know how or when they migrated to playing upstairs. Maybe it was that the Xbox One games couldn’t be played on the Xbox 360. Or perhaps it was the comfy carpet they liked to sit on verses the downstairs couch. But I guess the reason doesn’t really matter. The fact was that they were in our bedroom a lot. We would have to kick them off the Xbox if we wanted to watch TV in our bedroom or when my husband wanted his turn at the Xbox. (Remember, he did buy the upstairs unit so HE could play video games even if he doesn’t play that often.)

So, one evening, after my husband got fed up with the kids dominating our TV, he did a little late night online shopping, which is never good. (He is dangerous when he shops online at night. Who knows what he will decide to buy but that is a topic for another blog post.) He bought an Xbox One X using the money he inherited from his grandmother.

When it came in and he told our son why he bought it, Jase said, “Why didn’t you just move the Xbox downstairs?” And I said the same thing when he told me. It is nice that Jase and I are so logical about the problem.

The new Xbox was placed downstairs and the Xbox 360 that we were rarely using was removed. So, did this fix the problem? Did it clear the kids out of our bedroom?

Nope. Not at all.

In fact, I think it made the situation worse. Now Lexie uses the Xbox in our bedroom, and Jase uses the one downstairs. And since they are playing on Xbox Live, they are playing the same game together – just in separate rooms.

Sigh. So, I still don’t have my TV or bedroom back – unless I boot the kid out of the room. It looks like it might be time to try something else. Perhaps it is time to address their video game obsession. But that is a topic for a future post. Until then, I guess I am hanging out in my home office.

Today’s Featured Author – HL Carpenter

Today, I welcome a returning author (actually authors) to my blog. HL Carpenter first visited my blog back in 2014. Now the mother/daughter team of Helen and Lorri Carpenter return to promote their latest book, The Ghost in the Garden, a middle grade mysterywhich came out on June 17th.

Book Excerpt

I had the future planned out.

The ghost was not in the plan.

After the first visit, I still didn’t really believe in ghosts. But when she came back the second time, I had to change my mind. I hadn’t been dreaming and I wasn’t crazy. The only other alternative was: I had seen a ghost.

I started researching ghost visitations. What made them stick around in this world? How did they choose who to haunt? Why had no one ever caught a legitimate sighting on video or made a recording?

Mostly what I learned was that people argued a lot about whether ghosts existed. People who believed in ghosts liked other people who believed in ghosts. People who didn’t believe in ghosts thought people who did were crazy.

I was not crazy.

Finding out the answers to my questions about ghosts should have been easy. I had my own personal ghost to ask. But every time she visited me, I couldn’t say a word. My thoughts got all tangled and my breath stuck in my throat and I got dizzy. Having my own personal ghost was not helpful. The visits were…creepy. Like are-you-here-because-I’m-going-to-die creepy. Maybe the creep factor was why no one had ever documented a ghost.

I shivered, though I hadn’t seen the ghost in hours and cheerful sunlight warmed the early June morning. The Water Garden, a magical green fairyland of trickling streams and arched bridges, closed in around me. Shadows shifted. Bushes rustled.

I’d never seen a ghost before, not even when my dad died. Why had one decided to haunt me now?

“Just lucky, I guess,” I said. “What do you think, Barkley?”

My long-legged Schnauzer scratched his ear with his hind foot.

“That’s what I think too.”

I tugged Barkley’s ear and picked up one of the quarter-size flat stones scattered beside the path. I tossed the stone into the deep end of the Water Garden pond.

Barkley scrambled to the bank, then yipped and jumped back, almost jerking the leash from my hand. The ruff on his neck rose straight up. He stared at the pond, his lips curled, his teeth bared.

I gripped the red plastic leash more tightly.

The ghost liked water.

Barkley growled.

In the pond, twin black shafts of water shifted into the wavy outline of feminine eyes. Pale lips, reed-thin and white as unearthed slugs, parted. The lips tried to form a word. A gurgle rose from the depths like a deep sigh.

“Daaaaay…daaaay…”

Bubbles roiled the surface of the water.

Barkley growled again. Then he barked, as if to prove the ghost hadn’t silenced him.

I tried to speak, to ask the ghost what she wanted. My tongue clung to the roof of my mouth. My lips moved in a quivery jiggle as if I were silently whistling. But I could not force out a sound, much less a whole question.

Maybe if I could think a question, the ghost and I could communicate. Maybe she didn’t need actual words to hear me and to answer.

I tipped forward. My glasses slipped down my nose. I wanted to ask her…something…something…important…

What would touching her feel like?

I stretched out my hand.

Book Blurb

Until the first spooky visit, ten year old Chrysantha Howe doesn’t think about ghosts. She thinks about plants.

All.

The.

Time.

She has her future planned out, and that future includes plants. Chrys is going to be a plant scientist like her uncle and her favorite teacher, and she’s determined to find the very rare Coralroot orchid.

The ghost is not in the plan.

But when her teacher disappears and the police suspect her uncle was involved, Chrys has to figure out what the ghost is trying to tell her—before it’s too late.

***

You can purchase The Ghost in the Garden on Amazon.

Writing an awesome book blurb

This post is the forty-first in a series about writing a novel. You can check out the list of past topics at the end of this post.

Last week, I wrote about designing your front cover to entice readers to pick up (or click on the link for) your book. Now that the cover has done its job, you need an awesome book description to convince the reader to purchase your book.

A good book blurb is an essential element in selling your novel. Some people find writing book blurbs easy while others struggle with exactly what to say and how long to make their description. The important thing is not to dismiss this significant element in marketing your novel.

The purpose of the book description or blurb is to grab the reader’s attention. Think of the blurb as a movie trailer. A good blurb hints at the story but doesn’t give everything away. A well-written blurb can be the deciding factor on whether the reader purchases your book so definitely spend some time perfecting your copy.

For a short story, the book blurb should only be one or two paragraphs. For novels, consider three paragraphs of no more than 250 words total. Here is a brief overview of what each paragraph might contain but worry more about good prose instead of following this formula.

First paragraph: Introduce your character and the setting. Or open by building the overall plot and setting.

Example: At the age of four, Lina discovered she could start fires with a mere thought – a trait which had died out long ago. Cautioned by her telepathic cat, Tosh, she kept this Elemental power a secret to avoid being an outcast. That was easy to do growing up in the remote grasslands of Zena.

Second paragraph: Set the mood and the conflict. In other words, delve a little deeper into the plot.

Example: Now an adult, she had no plans to leave her beloved homeland. So when a strange urge compels her to travel north to an unknown destination, Lina resists this unnatural feeling. But her plans to stay in Zena are taken out of her control when she is kidnapped by gypsies and wakes in a foreign land. The desire to travel north is as strong as ever. She fears she will have no choice but to give into the compulsion. When a raging fire prevents her return home, she realizes she must find out once and for all what or who is summoning her.

Third paragraph: Steer toward the resolution (Remember to hint at it and not give it away.) Leave the reader wanting more.

Example: On her journey, Lina befriends an odd assortment of allies. Together they battle mystical creatures and unnatural forces despite the fact that such magic had died out over 800 years ago.  Lina reluctantly begins to use her innate Elemental power as she becomes more certain that someone is using magic against her. When she discovers the shocking truth, it will change her life in ways she could never imagine.

I read a lot of book blurbs through the authors I feature on this blog every Friday. I lot of them are not doing their job of enticing me to buy their book. They are chocked full of unnecessary information and often are too long.

Questions to consider so you don’t reveal too much of the plot.

Does the reader really need to know that? (And be harsh when answering this.)

Could what I wrote be a spoiler?

Am I revealing how the conflict was resolved?

Use Action and Emotive Words

When writing, pick words that show action and evoke emotions.

Here are some powerful adjectives often found in book blurbs: devastating, heart-wrenching, harrowing, passionate, terrifying, joyful, entrancing, searing, unforgettable, enchanting, chilling, heartbreaking, heart-rending, pulsating, bewitching, captivating, shocking, endearing, and spell-binding.

But make sure if you use these terms that they are accurate. Don’t tote your novel as fast-paced, action adventure when it isn’t.

End with conflict

Always leave the reader wanting more. The last line should have them dying to know what happens. You can end with a question or hint at future danger. But most of all, do not hint at how things will be resolved. You want them to read the book for find that out!

Remember, the book blurb is your sales pitch. Don’t skimp; spend time polishing it. The well-written blurb really can make all the difference.

Previous topics

#1 – Deciding to write a novel – Writing Myths

#2 – Three areas to develop before starting to write a novel

#3 – Finding a Story Idea and How to Know if it “good enough”

#4 – Developing Characters for your Novel

#5 – Major characters? Minor Characters? Where does everyone fit in?

#6 – Developing the Setting for your Novel

#7 – The importance of developing conflict in your novel plot

#8 – To Outline or not to outline 

#9 – The importance of a story arc

#10 – The importance of tension and pace

#11 – Prologue and opening scenes

#12 – Beginning and ending scenes in a novel

#13 – The importance of dialogue…and a few tips on how to write it

#14 – Using Internal Dialogue in your novel

#15 – More dialogue tips and help with dialogue tags

#16 – Knowing and incorporating back story into your novel

#17 – Hinting at what is to come with foreshadowing

#18 – Tips for writing different scenes in your novel

#19 – Dealing with Writer’s Block

#20 – Killing a Character in your Novel

#21 – Keeping things realistic in your novel

#22 – Establishing Writing Goals and Developing Good Writing Habits

#23 – Using the five senses and passive voice in your novel

#24 – The benefit of research in fiction writing

#25 – Novella or Novel, Trilogy or Series – decisions for writers

#26 – Avoiding Plot and Character Clichés

#27 – Novel Writing – Endings and Epilogues

#28 – Fantasy Novel Writing – World Building, Dragons, Magic and More

#29 – Finishing your First Draft

#30 – Your Second Draft and Beyond

#31 – Picking Stronger Words and Watching out for Homonyms

#32 – Omitting unnecessary words in your novel

#33 – Beta Reader, Proofreaders and Copy Editors

#34 – Knowing your grammar or at least using a grammar checking program

#35 – Using a Revision Outline during your Novel Editing

#36 – Editing Techniques: Taking a Break and Reading Aloud

#37 – Publishing Options for your book

#38 – Self-publishing an ebook decisions

#39 – Picking Your Book Title and Your Pen Name

#40 – Investing in an eye-catching book cover