Thursday, September 15, 2016

Prioritize Your Time

My, how the weeks fly by. I find myself wondering where the time goes, not only in my day to day stuff, but also with my social media marketing stuff. I tend to lose track especially if I get caught up on Facebook, or any other social site.

Lately I've been putting more time in my latest WIP (work in progress). I've got so much work to do that using up my time scrolling through Facebook is losing valuable minutes. So I've chosen to back off the endless hours of dog videos and political talking points. It's amazing how much more I can accomplish.

Choosing to limit your time on your social sites is the best way to organize, not only your work, but your life. I think one of the best things I ever purchased is my smart phone. I can jump on any site and spend a couple of minutes, then get on with other things. I'm still engaged, but on a much smaller time table.

I've been working on building ads for Fable and my website. I'm almost ready to send out my first one. I've also been trying to update my website with pictures and contact letters for my newsletter. In fact, the most valuable way to reach your readers is through emails and I've refocused on doing just that.

Writing on this blog is another social marketing tool. It's nice to be able to reach people with a click of a button on my Fanpage. 

But the most important way to connect: getting my series written and publishing it so my readers can enjoy my hard work. I mean, isn't that what it's all about? My writing?! 

I am going to be offering, not only a free book - Fable - but if you leave me a review on Amazon you can read Fated for free. Refocusing on what's is vital, which is reviews, takes me to a whole other level. I want to get my books out there for readers to enjoy and hopefully can't wait for the next one. It's truly what I strive for.

And I want to build my fanbase so reorganizing how I market is key to reaching my goals.

What do you do to reach your fans? Do you find yourself spending too much time on Facebook? Leave me a comment and let me know your thoughts or secrets. I would love to discuss it with you.

Taking time out to do for you and to continue doing what you do best is what's important. Think about this before you spend all your time on social media. Everything needs balance.

Love, Lisa

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Creative Writing Skills Blunder

Finally getting back on track with life. It's been overwhelming lately, but things are slowing down now to a crawl - which I prefer. I decided maybe it's time to get back to discussing some creative writing skills and maybe some marketing hints on this blog. It's never to late to touch on the basics.

Today I thought one issue that comes up a lot in critiques, at least with my critique partner and I anyway, is redundancy. And not just in descriptions, but also in using the same word(s) a lot within the same scene/chapter.

You don't even realize that you're doing it, which is where having a critique partner comes in handy. I thank God everyday for Robin. I'm also blessed with Heather and Michael too. Without them my books would not sound, or read, as crisp as they do. It's absolutely worth seeking out a great team!

Now onto the subject at hand: Redundancy.

One lesson that most writers are taught is: You Can't Edit Your Own Work.

It's a hard one to swallow since we tend to think our writing is amazing, no matter how long we've been at it. Even a lot of the veteran writers need edits. At least that's what I've seen with all the reading I do. But letting go of that ego and constantly working on bettering your craft will take you much farther in this business as apposed to just publishing anything - like your rough draft. Which I have often thought when reading some of the new writers out there. 

Life is a constant learning curve, and that's okay.

For some reason when we are typing away on the keys, really focusing in on a scene we want to get down on paper, we tend to use a lot of the same words. That's fine as long as you realize that you have to go back and revise your work. We like to over use "was" "things" "looked" and a whole host of other junk words. And we can find ourselves choosing a word that we use for describing the same action over and over. Lately I was pointed to the fact that I use "heading" a lot. You know, instead of, walking, strolling, anything other than "heading". 

I didn't know I was doing it, and even though I read over my work and attempted to revise, I didn't see I my mistake. It could be any word like the one I used above. And it's not hard to find yourself repeating - we all do it.

The other redundancy we do is trying to point out an important event of issue, we tend to point it out several other times within our dialog or internal thoughts of our characters. I think the reader has gotten the point, especially if you've said it twice already. A third or more times gets monotonous.  

But at the same time, when the subject of that issue or event comes up again several chapters later, you do need to remind the reader. Otherwise they will become confused about it and find themselves looking back to see what you're talking about. That's just as obnoxious. 

The same goes for past events in your previous series. Sometimes you need to remind the reader about the event so they understand what the characters are facing. This can also become redundant. You don't have to do a "tell all", just key occurrences to juggle their memories. If they haven't read your previous books, then they will have to go back and read them to understand the full extent. 

Redundancy is more than a typical issue, it is a constant one. As we become more aware of our craft and the skills we need to focus our efforts on, this one will hopefully fall to a rarity. Remember it's our readers that are the most important if you want to gain fans, and possibly a huge following.

I hope this helps those of you who are new to writing, and maybe some of you who have written a few books. What do you do to prevent redundancy? Do you have great critique partners, or do you even rely on one?

I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject so leave me a comment!

Have a great week/weekend all!

Love, Lisa

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Struggles With Writing and Reading

Well, summer is slowly coming to a close. Only a few more weeks and we will have the official first day of fall. I don't know about you, but I'm ready. These last few months have been chaotic. 

I look forward to curling up on cold days and delving deeper into my book and getting it finished asap. I don't believe this one will take as long as I anticipated, but things creep up as we all know. I'm on chapter 13 now, moving right along. Once I get to chapter 20 I will be meeting with my cover-artist, Karla, to do some brainstorming for Tale. If you have any cool ideas I'm open to suggestions.

And I've been reading several of my friend's books. I touched on this a few posts ago, but I loved their stories! I just started a trilogy by an author I don't know, that could be a great story, but the writer needs to work on a lot of creative writing issues. I'm not sure if I will be able to finish even the first book because of all them. But alas, I've said it before, you need strong critique partners and editors. 

It's not that she makes a lot of mistakes, it's her putting forth the story - in other words - it's dull and has a lot of telling as apposed to showing. Her main plot has a lot of holes too. 

What amazes me is she has over 242 reviews and they're all 4 + stars. I guess it must be young people because anyone who reads a lot would probably feel the same as me. I would think anyway.

But her friends and fans write reviews, and what a difference they make. The amount of reviews with Amazon can make you or break you so if you have read my books and liked them, but haven't left a review, I'm asking you PLEASE and THANK YOU! 

Not to mention, I would really appreciate it, not only hearing from you, but it gives me motivation. 

When you have 50 + reviews you fall into another category with Amazon. They advertise your books more. So when someone is looking for a new adult fantasy my book will be further up on the list. Amazon is my only source, other than my website, where I sell books so if you have a minute I would love it if you would jump on my page on Amazon and leave a review. Fable on Amazon

Now, onto other business. 

Recently, I was having a hard time with how the direction of Tale would go so I had a brainstorming session with Robin my critique partner. With this book in particular I didn't know how I wanted to end it. As most author's know, if you know the ending, you can figure out the direction you need to reach that goal. 

I told her what I was thinking and she agreed it would be a great place to end it, not the entire story, just this piece of the series. We also brainstormed a scene I had started and she thought it was a good route too. So needless to say, I'm feeling much better about moving on in the story.

It's amazing how talking about your story with someone you can trust can help you in your struggle to make the story come to life. Not only is having great critique partners help in catching mistakes, but they know your story as well as you do and their insight is invaluable. 

So those of you that write, take it from me, it can make all the difference in the world. It doesn't mean they will take over your story, only enhance it. 

Have any of you gone through some of these struggles? What helped you to get passed them?

Until next week, have a great weekend and keep in touch!

Love, Lisa 

Friday, August 12, 2016

Do You Got Those Few Fans? The One's That Keep You Going?

Well, looky there - it's Friday! Another busy week in the Fender household. I finished painting my office yesterday, which by the way, was crazy! I have an all oak, executive desk that I picked up at a sale at my daughter's job a few years ago. It's a monster. Try painting a small room with a desk parked in the middle of it the size of a twin bed - good thing I was a gymnast when I was young. Even overweight I managed to finagle around it, but it took longer than normal. 

But it's done! Now I can write again!

As I was reminded by my newest, and very awesome fan,Stephanie. 

It feels good to have those fans that can't wait for your next book. The one's that reach out to you and leave you a message about how much they love your story. People like her make what I'm doing well worth the sacrifice. 

I have a few fans/friends like that. And I appreciate them with all my heart. If it weren't for them I don't know if I would be pushing myself to get Tale published as soon as possible. I would, however, love for them to leave me reviews on Amazon. Reviews make or break an author. Even if you leave a two line comment makes all the difference in the world.

So While I'm trying to get Tale written for them, I'm pushing for my fans/friends to get their reviews done for me. 

Now back to my fans. I have to say there's nothing like showing up to a conference that you sell books at every year, and have people run to your table to purchase your next book, or email you and tell you how great your books are. The fans that sign up to your newsletter, or fanpage. The one's that keep you on track.

They really are what keeps me writing. And Stevie loves them too! She told me so! ;-)

Until next Friday, if you haven't read Fable, here's a chance to download it for free. Free Fable 

And If you wish to join my email list, you can sign up for it on my website too. I try to keep everyone up to date without bombarding them with announcements in their email so you don't have to worry about that.

One more thing you can do - sign up for this blog!

Take care and thanks for being my cheerleaders! I need all of you!

Love, Lisa

Sunday, July 31, 2016

A Teaser From Tale

Hi Everyone! I hope this post finds you happy, healthy and writing. I said last week that I would post an excerpt from Tale and usually I post from the first chapter in my latest work in progress, but I decided this time to tease you with a vision-walk between Stevie and Queen Feya Lune. 

Here's the teaser and if you get a moment let me know what you think.

Stevie’s eyes opened and she found herself in a vision-walk—in the middle of a forest—one she was familiar with. A song in the distance became louder as tiny lights appeared all around her. The Faeries. She knew it was Queen Feya Lune that invaded her dreams.
            She looked around at the trees until she spotted the little Queen morphing from the size of her pinky finger, to a full grown human size. Stevie bowed and smiled as Feya Lune transformed in front of her. “Hello, Feya Lune.” Stevie gazed into the soft gold of her eyes.
            “Ty Greial,” the Queen’s ethereal voice said, her wings fluttering.
            “I have missed you. We haven’t talked in weeks.” Stevie knew this wasn’t just a catch up meeting. Feya Lune never called her unless it was important. “I’m sure there’s something you need to tell me.”
            Feya Lune inclined her head and then caught Stevie’s eyes with hers. “There is much to discuss—I fear for you.”
            “What is it?” Stevie asked. “You look awfully worried.”
            “You not accepted fully, Shylae—Guardian of Phraile Highlae. A few wish you gone. And others begrudge the Hundye who have breached the portal.”
            Stevie smiled. “I know. And in time the people will accept all of us.”
            “Tis true, but take care to be aware of surroundings.” She fluttered around the trees as if pacing, her colors changing from pastel to more vibrant. “There is more, Ty Greial. A prophecy unfolds. Yet there is knowledge not given. A dangerous journey must take place—and one will be sacrificed.”
            “What do you mean, one will be sacrificed? Whose life is in danger?” Stevie held her breath waiting for the answer.
            The Queen shook her head, frustration showing in her hues. “I know not. I see a death, but no face. I see an enemy, but know not who. There is a task that must be conquered to triumph the battle foretold.” Darkness settled across the Queen’s features.
              Now Stevie’s frustration became obvious. “Why do you always talk in riddles? I need answers.”
            The Queen’s song grew louder, filling Stevie’s ears with a trill. She brought her hands to her head, the sound pounding in her temples. “Stop, Feya Lune. I’m not trying to upset you, but I need to have answers.”
            The noise quieted, and the Queen slowed. She now stood in front of Stevie. “You are brave, Ty Greial, but will have to go on—even in the face of loss. I warned you long ago. Now you must continue your destiny.”
            Stevie huffed. “Feya Lune, I had no choice, even if I’d heeded your warning and left, I’d still be in danger. I am ready to face the Rebels, and the Behm. But I am afraid of the Jajing.” Stevie started her own pacing. “I don’t know how to be a leader of a war. And I don’t want to see any of my friends or family die.”
            The Queen began to shrink. “I must leave you now, my powers wane.”
            “You always do this to me. Can’t you tell me before you go?”
            Feya Lune became a tiny Faerie once more. Stevie could hear her voice through the trees. “I will return, Ty Greial. Until then—see with both eyes.”
            And she was gone.

Stevie sank to the forest floor, her head in her hands. Which one of my friends will die? I have to know who needs extra protection.

I hope you enjoyed my excerpt and look forward to the next book in my Lorn Prophecy series, Tale.
Have a great week all and don't forget to get your copy of Lore!  Lore on Amazon

Love, Lisa

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Critiquing Woes

I know it has been a while since I've touched on any of the creative writing skills, but it's been a busy, not to mention, wild summer.

Between moving, and now trying to put our new home together which includes painting, and errands, I've had really little time to just hang out in my office and get things done. I might get caught up at some point, we shall see.

But in the mean time, I have been reading at night before bed. I've read two of my friend's books. One was a fantasy fiction/romance and the other is fantasy/sci-fi. Both are great stories and both have strong character building. And although they have great attributes, they both have to work on certain creative writing skills. 

The first had a few mistakes, nothing major, but the author head hopped here and there. Not a whole lot, but enough so that it was noticeable. 

The other, head hopping all over the place, confusing scenes and a few grammar and spelling mistakes. Strong characters though.

I think both could have been great if only the author's had strong critique partners, and maybe listened to their editors. (I'm assuming their editors said something about these mistakes).

Now, not to say my book, Lore, doesn't have mistakes. I reread the entire novel and found plenty that I plan to go in and fix, but at least I will do that. For some reason you don't see all the mistakes until you're reading your book in Kindle format. I don't know why that is?! But it doesn't change the fact that they are there and I will be working on those and re-downloading in the near future.

I do keep hoping, however, that my message gets across to new authors - no head hopping. It can confuse the reader and makes it look as though you're lazy. 

On a lighter note, Tale, is coming along great! I've written 10 chapters so far and have just sent chapter 4 to my critique partner. Once my life settles down, which should be by Fall, I will be able to go more gung-ho on the book. I'm sure it won't take as long as the last books.

I will post an excerpt from the book soon for those who are interested. Until then, keep on writing, and don't forget to get your copy of Lore!

Love, Lisa

Saturday, July 16, 2016

On A Lighter Note

Trying to figure out what subject to write about in your blog post every week can become cumbersome. So I thought since I've covered most creative writing skills, social media marketing and other off the cuff stuff, that maybe today I would keep it real.

With all the stressful issues we are facing in the world today, one way to get away from it all is a good book. 

Those who have found solace in picking up a great mystery, fantasy, or science fiction know the value of escaping to another world, another life. There's nothing better than to take a trip to your favorite "other world" and enjoy a vacation in your mind. I mean, after all, isn't that where it counts?

To only pay a few dollars and be taken away is worth every penny. Whether you're looking for that perfect man with a romance novel, or a new realm to traverse in an epic fantasy, you can go to new places and a new life, if only for a while.

The good news is, when you're finished reading a book, you can always start a new one. 

We are always looking for a place to escape to. We spend thousands to go to the ocean, or mountains. And although they are lovely places, they're short lived too. Not to mention, probably 80% of you take along a favorite novel to immerse yourself in. 

So for those temporary getaways, buy a novel, or download one from the library. You'll be glad you did. In fact, you'll find yourself wanting to get back to the book as soon as all your errands, work hours, and other extraneous chores are finished.

Reading is not only an escape, but it builds intelligence. In other words, it's good for you. So jump on Amazon and download a book today, or go to your local book store if you like the feel of a physical book in your hands. 

Take my word for it, you won't regret it!

And if you like fantasy, you can start with a free book Free Fable Download!
What's it going to hurt to read a free book?! Try it, you might like it!

 Until next week, have a great weekend everyone and don't forget to relax and enjoy your new novel.

Love, Lisa