Friday, April 25, 2014

We have a lot going on the next couple of weeks and I thought I would catch everyone up. This past week we were guests on the wonderful book site Bittenbybooks and it was great! 

I was worried that very few people would get involved and leave comments or questions and I ended up answering them until 10:30 that night and a few more yesterday. I appreciated the enthusiastic writers and readers who participated, it made us feel fantastic!

What a great place to get to know the authors you like and meet new ones. Plus, you get introduced to all the great books out there. They even did a review of Fable and it was so wonderful I cried. I loved it!

This weekend we are at Meet the Author's at Englewood Library. This is the first time for us and I am rather excited because these people that will come to participate are actual readers, otherwise they wouldn't be at a library. When we do Starfest next weekend, most will be there for their favorite Sci-fi and fantasy shows, not necessarily for books. But I was told the author's do well at this event.

We are very excited about Starfest too. That's scheduled for May 2-4 and I am hoping we have a hopping time. I've been told several stars will be there and I'm hoping to get a glimpse of one.

After that, we should be closer to getting our new website up! We are setting up the form on the page early to let people go ahead and sign up for the email announcements/contests/newsletter. If you get a chance fill it out and we can get working on our page for that.

Plus we will have an ongoing interactive blog. It's going to be great. We will have trivia and contests and even discussions about the Lorn Prophecy series in the hope that all of you can be involved with the process. We would love your ideas, and comments. 

This blog will still be ongoing but will be mostly about writing skills and social media marketing. I will post on here once a week as I have been.

I really hope to get you all talking about the books and being a part of the ongoing series. I think it will be fun and all voices are welcome.

Thanks to everyone's support these last couple of years. All of you are great and we appreciate you! We look forward to the future of our journey in this writing world and would love it if you came along for the ride!

I am going to be doing a giveaway on here and the fanpage on facebook soon. It has been a year since we published Fable and want to celebrate! So stay tuned, there's more to come!

Love, Lisa

Friday, April 18, 2014

Working on our Website

These last few weeks have been so busy. I haven't had a chance to get much writing in but I did manage to meet with our website builder, Heather. I am very excited to see what the outcome will be.

Toni and I have decided we want our website to not only be informative, but interactive. There will be a separate blog on there that will encourage participating in discussions about the books. I am so looking forward to delving in and hearing thoughts and suggestions from our fans and then implementing them in our books!

But the design is what Heather and I mostly talked about yesterday and I did get her creative juices flowing when I told her the hidden messages behind the story. I could see the wheels turning in her head and the smoke coming out her ears! 

Most of us don't really dive into our imaginations and least of all other's. As I explained to her the shows or movies that inspire me, or ancient history that I get ideas from, she was ready to go and watch these programs for ideas to emphasize the pages on the site.

When I finally sat down and thought about our discussion there were some insights that came to me. Her and I discussed the differences in our personalities  and also Toni's and mine. Toni is more out going and funny, I'm the standoffish and the observer type. When it comes to social media, she would probably do better at getting people engaged than I am. 

But no matter what, you really can't get your true self out in Facebook or Twitter. People really don't know what moves you, or who you truly are. I think sometimes people have this certain idea of what a writer is truly like when in fact, they have no idea. 

What inspires a writer, or moves them, is probably completely different that what you thought. Some of us lead totally normal lives, like most. We have families, friends, hobbies, and plans for our future. 

Some of us are shy, some clowns, and some of us can separate ourselves from the writing as if it were a 9-5 job. Some of us have book brain, like me, and some don't think about their books until they sit down to write for the day.

There are those who prefer the more engaging scenarios with social media, like Facebook or emails, and some like the 140 character tid-bits of Twitter. Some love the images they can play with on Pinterest and some enjoy their blogs.

I, for one, am looking forward to designing a newsletter and getting out our announcements and engaging people in a more personal agenda. Facebook is daunting anymore and hard to really engage since the Facebook page cuts out more and more how many people your posts will reach. 

Really looking at the differences of our personalities got me thinking of better ways to reach our fans and interact with them. This website is going to be awesome, I can feel it, and I for one am ready to reach my fans and have fun talking about the books!

What do you do to engage your readers? Have you really thought about other ways than the normal marketing strategies we have all been taught?

I would love to know your thoughts on this subject. Leave me a comment and let me know if you take the time to really think up the best ways to find your readers.

Have a fun and wonderful weekend all!

Love, Lisa

Monday, April 14, 2014

My Writing Process Blog Tour

Yes, you're right, I didn't post on Friday. Well, there is a reason for that. I was invited to jump on the Writing Process Blog Tour and told to write the post today, so here I am.

This sounded like a fun post and want to thank Amanda Harms for inviting me to join! Amanda recently published her first book - Bewildered available on Amazon.

It wasn't to long ago, in fact almost a year, since we published our first book and I understand her excitement and feeling of elation. She deserves to be excited, what an accomplishment and I wish her all the luck in the world!

The idea of this blog hop is to explore different writers process by answering four questions. 

1. What am I working on?

2. How does my work differ with others of it's genre?

3. Why do I write what I do?

4. How does my writing process work?

After I finish answering these questions I will leave you with the name and link of another author who is part of the blog hop and will post next week so that you can follow along and get a real feel of the different aspects of being a writer.

Okay, here goes!

1. What am I working on?

Right now my sister, Toni, and I have several different things going on. We are in the process of rewriting Lore - Book 2 in The Lorn Prophecy series. I wrote the rough draft for this book five years ago, so it needs a lot of extra work. We are in the middle of chapter ten.

Besides the work on Lore, I am plotting out the rest of it so I can begin to write the rough draft of Tale - book 3. I am also writing the rough draft for Lineage - Book 2 in The Djenrye Chronicles, the compendiums to the original series.

We are also working on building a website and other social media marketing strategies to get the word out about our book(s). This part is a long and arduous road and one to not take lightly. Although not my favorite part of being an Indy author, it is nice to meet new people and gain new fans!

Of course there is the side work to writing a series, such as outlines and brainstorming, which can hold you back, or feel like it's holding you back, but that's for another discussion.

2. How does my work differ with others of it's genre? 

When I began to write Fable I wanted the story to be different than the usual YA or NA series out there. Most lately had been with Vampires, or Werewolves, and the like, or now a days the dystopian, and I wanted to create a new world for my readers. I decided to create another dimension parallel to our world and after some discussion with my sister, I realized the Djinni was one aspect that not many had written about.

I didn't want it to be the cheesy Genie in the bottle, but a race of beings that through the centuries the fables of Genie's were based on. I created a female heroine who grew up on this side of the portals that separated the two worlds and finds out that she was more unique than she ever dreamed. 

Yes it's true I do have the basic fantasy elements, but I combine urban fantasy with epic and later there will be some sci-fi also. I don't think there are many books out there that have all these elements in one series.

3. Why do I write what I do? 

This is an easy question to answer, because I love it! I have always loved fantasy books and movies. From Harry Potter, to Lord of the Rings, and my newest love, A Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones) series. 

It only made sense that I would write what I love and what would keep me going. I have always had a wild imagination and I have always loved stories. My love of reading, and I do read other genres, and my yearn to write has always been prevalent in my life.  

It was a no brainer and I have no regrets!

4. How does my writing process work?

Well, it's a process all right! I don't think there has been some regimented way that we write. As time has gone on we finally found what works for us. 

I write the rough draft. Then once I have gone over it once and added in places where it needs it or cut what needs to be, my sister and I get together 3 times a week and go over each line, each paragraph and chapter with a fine toothed comb. Well as fine toothed as we can make it since you can't edit your own work very well.

As we are doing this, we are adding to the Djen language we have created and keeping track of that, along with working on the outline and character outline, too. 

Once we have revised a chapter, we send it off to our two critique partners, Robin and Janet. They make their red marks and suggestions, sometimes brainstorming is part of that process, too, and then give them back to us.

We go through the marks and change what we agree with and sometimes we send it back for one more critique if there was a lot of changes. After we feel the chapter is up to par, it goes to an old friend of mine and colleague, Michael McFadden. 

He is an author himself and very talented in the art of creative writing. He will do his critique and then call me on the phone and we work on the chapter together. 

Then, onto the next chapter. Once we are through the book, it goes to our beta readers, Jessi and Ken. We fix any mistakes with the story or with punctuation, and then off to our professional editor, Susan Uttendorfsky. When we get it back from her, more red marks to fix and then we publish as long as the cover and everything that goes along with that process is ready. 

That's the whole process in a nut shell. Of course things change or new problems arise, but that's to be expected. After we are ready we move onto the next book.

Thanks for being a part of this blog hop. I hope this helps give you the feel of being a writer and the process of creating a novel and self-publishing. I invite you to continue the hop next week with my author friend, Shay West. 

Her link and bio are listed below and she will post for this hop next Monday, the 21st of April. 

Shay West  is the author of quite a few fantasy books. Her Portals of Destiny Series is her most recent.

Shay West was born in Longmont, CO and earned a doctorate degree in Human Medical Genetics from the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora, CO. Dr. West currently lives in Grand Junction, CO with her two cats. When not writing novels, she plays with plushie microbes and teaches biology classes at Colorado Mesa University. She is the author of the Portals of Destiny series and the Adventures of Alexis Davenport series. She has also been published in several anthologies: Battlespace (military scifi), Orange Karen: Tribute to a Warrior (fund raiser), Ancient New (steampunk/fantasy).

Thanks for joining us on this blog hop and I hope the rest of the week is awesome for all of you!

Love, Lisa

Friday, April 4, 2014

What Should Go and What Should Stay

I know, still on the plotting your book subject, but one of the dilemma's you will face when plotting your scenes is what should you keep and what should you cut.

It's hard to cut what you've written, but one of the quotes we have to live by is "don't fall in love with a line" and that includes a sentence or even a scene. Now, what do we take out of our baby's? 

Have you ever been reading a book and felt like something was missing from it? You don't quite understand what happened and where certain things came from because you don't remember reading that? Or maybe the opposite. Your skimming too much information because you really don't care and it doesn't add to the story? These are the places you need to work on.

I've been plotting Lore for the last week so I can begin to write the next book, Tale, and have found that there are certain places where the story drags. I need to keep the tension up and still get the information to the reader since this is a series and a new world we are creating.

It's not an easy task, but one that can be accomplished if you take the time to do it. The last thing you want to do is publish a droning book, or one that leaves out scenes that are valuable to the story. Here are a few pointers for you to read and hopefully you will be able to implement them when plotting.

1. First, keep the scenes where the action is taking place. These are the most important to get the reader to turn the page. Yes, there will be scenes where dialog between the characters happen, but you want to keep the characters moving, or discovering as you go.

2. You want the scenes that keep the story going forward. Sure action scenes are exciting but if your story is all action that can drag the book as well. I don't know about you, but it exhausts me or leaves me feeling like I don't want to read another battle scene or scene where the antagonist is torturing another person. Sometimes a little does a lot more for your story.

3.  You want to keep the emotion high as much as the action. People want to know how the characters are feeling. This brings the characters to life and adds more richness to the story. But don't go into too much back story to explain what the character is going through. Here, little can go a long way also and you don't want to beat the reader over the head with unnecessary information.

4. Include scenes that more than one thing is happening at once. This keeps the tension high and the reader wondering how they are going to solve their multiple issues. 

5. Don't always repeat information. Sometimes it's nice to have a reminder, but you don't need it continuously. The reader will remember most but if it's an important part you might want to remind them. If you do too much it bogs the story down with repetitive info. Usually in the more climactic scenes is where you can remind.

6. Usually your story is spread out in weeks, months and sometime years. Your not going to write everyday occurrences. Keep these to a minimum. It will bore the reader and there's no reason to write what they do all day, everyday, just what they do that moves the story along and still describes the world their in.

7. Make sure to show instead of tell as much as possible. Describe what's happening to pull the reader into the scene. What does it smell like, taste, feel. I recently read a book, well, skimmed a book, since most of it was telling. The author actually wrote lines like, "they rode and they rode" believe it or not.

Well, I hope these points help you in your journey of plotting. It's okay to cut scenes that are unnecessary and even add where the story is lacking. That's the nice thing about plotting, you can see these issues before you decide your book is ready and take care of them. 

I hope that when you finish your book you pick good beta-readers who are honest and forthcoming to where your story needs work. And don't forget to have an editor go over your book before you take the leap.

Until next Friday, I hope all of you have a wonderful weekend and that you have beautiful weather to enjoy in your neck of the woods!

Love, Lisa