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Infographic First Person

June 4, 2018-I LOVE writing in First Person narrative! Why? Because it allows my reader to sit beside the main character and feel everything that he feels and experience everything that she experiences first hand. Check out this handy infographic on ways to start a first-person story! Brought to you by our friends at NowNovel.com

How to start a story in first person: 8 pointers

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Places to Write…

June 1, 2018- Where is your favourite place to write? What place inspires you? Do you enjoy writing outside? In different countries? At home on your dining room table?

As an author, I most definitely have my preferred places to write. I enjoy writing in these spots because they inspire me and I’m able to get fresh ideas and conversations for my books.

  1. Different Countries: I’ve been fortunate enough to write in many places around the world. Some of my favourites include, Jamaica, London, and Tampa Bay. I also really loved writing in Havana and was very lucky to have visited the bar Floridita where Ernest Hemingway frequented. This was SUPER inspiring, not only because one of the greats visited it, but because the atmosphere and the energy it has.
  2. Outside: One of my favourite places to write is on my back deck. I love being outside with my laptop while listening to nature and the sounds of birds bickering back and forth and occasionally the odd neighbour! There’s something to be said about escaping the same four walls every once in a while to reconnect with your characters. Another place I love to write is the beach. The sand, surf, and salty air will be featured in my upcoming beach novel that is set to debut in late 2019.
  3. On Planes: I do a ton of editing while flying, but I also do a ton of writing. I’m a huge believer of writing during the spaces in between and not wasting minutes. What better time to write than during a seven or eight hour international flight? I get super inspired on flights because we all know the many characters that are on board! Sometimes we can find the perfect character inspiration sitting in the seat next to us.
  4. In Bed: “I only love my bed and my mama, I’m sorry”…wait, didn’t Drake say that? I know that experts say that the bedroom should only be reserved for sleep and sex, but there is something magical about writing in bed. The fluffy, white covers, two sleeping cats, a snoring husband, and if I’m really lucky, there will be a thunderstorm! This is by far my most favourite place to write and when I look around at who I’m surrounded by, I feel like the luckiest person on the planet, because I have everything I’ll ever need right there.

Where do you like to write and why? Let me know in the comments below.

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How To: A quick and dirty guide to get the creative juices flowing!

June 1, 2018- We’ve all been there; we’re on our sixth cup of coffee, it’s two o’clock in the afternoon, and we’ve been staring at our blinking cursor on a blank page for almost an hour. The sound of our head thudding off our desk is the only sound except for the voice in our head that screams, “You’re a failure! You’re a no talent hack who can’t write!” And this is on a good day! Ok, maybe that’s just me. Nonetheless, we’ve all been stuck at one time or another while trying to write the next New York Times Best Seller. I want to arm you with some tools for your toolbox the next time you get stuck, so I’ll share with you my dirty little secrets for getting inspired!

  1. I change ANYTHING. Seriously. When I’m stuck creatively, I change anything that I possibly can. There were two weeks where I switched sides of the bed with my husband to see if I could get out of my creative writing rut and guess what? It worked! Why? Because any time you change up your perception, creativity happens! It’s true, sometimes the simplest switch in your routine is just the kick in the ass that you need. Also, try switching up your location, go to the mall, go for coffee, sit in nature for a while, do whatever it takes to get inspired.
  2. Read outside of your genre. If you’re writing non-fiction, read anything fiction based. If you are writing a thriller, read a romance, if you’re writing a romance, read a biography. Reading outside of your genre does two things to help your creativity, it expands your imagination, and it lets you take a much needed mental break. I write books that are psych thrillers, and sometimes I need a break from the genre so what do I do? I pick up the total opposite to read during my leisure. My choices have ranged from The Unauthorized Biography of Axl Rose to cozy romances, and everything in between. It works and lets me escape from the murders and dismemberments that I have created.
  3. Use writing prompts. The internet is full of writing prompts and my advice to you, if you’re stuck is to start writing ANYTHING. Scour the headlines for something that you can expand into a storyline, go on Pinterest and type in writing prompts and I can assure you that you’ll come up with something.  Re-write one of your favourite fairytales or movies to have a completely different ending! The important thing is to write and keep writing.

What tips do you have for other aspiring authors? What’s the best advice that you can offer them to get unstuck? Sound off in the comments below!

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All About Fiction Genres!

May 30, 2018- Let’s talk about fiction genre descriptions; there are a number of fiction genres, so I am going to take a couple of minutes to describe a few of  them pretty briefly.

Action/Adventure: Action is key, there’s a quest, jungles, deserts, and mountain ranges make ideal settings. Usually geared towards a male audience.

Historical Fiction: A story that is fiction set in a real time in history. Involves political/social events of the time.

Mystery: Everything gets explained at the END of the story. A modern mystery contains a character’s struggle, psychological obstacles, and motivation.

Psych Thriller: A story that explores the “WHY” something happened. This genre focuses on character’s motivations, feelings, and mental activities. This genre also creates feelings of excitement or suspense. Psych Thrillers are usually based on illegal activities, sex, and violence. It’s a kill or be killed type of situation for the characters involved.

Glitz: Usually feature wealthy characters who are high profile career persons,and are set in exotic/metropolitan locations, e.g. NYC, Hollywood, etc.

Erotica: Graphic descriptions of character’s sex lives.

RomCom: Romantic comedies are usually in the author’s voice or the voice of the main character. Comedy is intertwined and the main character has a love interest that may cause them hilarious problems. At the end, they live happily ever after.

Of course, there are so many more genres and sub-genres, when it comes to fiction, that I couldn’t possibly cover them all in one post! Which genre are you currently reading/writing? Sound off in the comments below.

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Rejection…Why Does This Keep Happening?

May 25, 2018- Rejection isn’t easy, but it’s a natural part of life. A lot of the time editors and publishers give very little insight/info about why your work was rejected.

Usually, there are a couple of major reasons why work is rejected-I’m speaking from my own personal experience about why I reject manuscripts.

  1. Your work isn’t ready to be submitted but you submitted it anyway.
  2. You queried me incorrectly, didn’t follow the guidelines, disregarded the submission process and were unprofessional.

Yikes! I know that this sounds harsh, but you deserve the truth. Now, I’m not saying that these are the ONLY two reasons, there are others. Let’s explore some of the additional reasons why editors/publishers reject submitted manuscripts.

Reasons for rejection are totally subjective, but here are some possibilities and additional reasons why I would reject something:

  • Something was recently published that is similar. Simply put, someone already thought of it, and it’s on my desk at this moment in queue for publication.
  • The timing is wrong. I’ve cut back on my list or maybe I’m at my max for whatever genre has been submitted. Maybe something has changed in the market or perhaps the manuscript submitted is not saleable.
  • You have no author platform or you have major controversy surrounding your online presence. This is not always something that will disqualify you from getting a deal with my publishing house, but it’s a pretty big factor.

Keep these things in mind when you’ve been rejected and remember to never give up!

Happy Writing!

X LLB

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Journaling…Do You Do This?

May 18, 2018- How many of you journal? I am definitely in the YES I DO camp of this question. I find that journaling helps with my sleep, my creativity, and when I’m feeling anxious.

If you’re not currently writing in a journal every day, I highly suggest that you start! Let’s examine the benefits of putting pen to paper. Of course, you can use any type of journal you’d like including digital, but I prefer to use a beautiful notebook and a nice pen. It’s completely up to you!

  1. It will help you express what you’re really feeling. The thing about writing in a journal is that you can write whatever you want without judgement, because it’s your choice to keep it private. Journaling can reveal your inner most thoughts and feelings and allow you to say what you really want to. I’d even go as far to say that it helps unlock and unblock your subconscious mind. This usually happens when journaling is done before bed.
  2.  It helps you know yourself. Journaling is essential to getting to know yourself better and is a wonderful problem solving tool. It allows you to see things from a different perspective and can help answer questions about yourself. Try the method of bullet-journaling and ask yourself some questions such as, Who am I? What do I care about? How do I see myself?, etc.
  3. It’s healthy. Writing in a journal every day is so healthy for your mind, spirit, and immune system, believe it or not! As for the health benefits of journaling, they’ve been scientifically proven. Research shows the following: It improves cognitive functioning, it strengthens the immune system, and it counteracts many of the negative effects of stress.

So, pick up your pen and start journaling today! It will change your life.

X LLB

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I Finished My Manuscript and My Book is in Hand! Now What?

May 16, 2018- My book is here! Now what?

I hear this statement all the time from new authors and although it’s a valid question…it makes me cringe. I know that this might sound a bit harsh, but as your big sis in the writing world, it’s my job to bring the rain…I mean truth.  It makes me shudder because it tells me that the author didn’t put in the work BEFORE finishing their ms and they’re about to have one hell of a rough time. Give me a chance to explain.

I’m focusing on one camp of authors, and that is our self-pub’d friends. So, the author has done the work, their book is completed, printed, and ready for sale! Yay right? Hold on a second…now is where the real work begins.

Too many times our self-published friends end up with a garage full of boxes of their books and that makes me sad because it doesn’t need to be that way! It’s not that the book was sub-par, it’s that they didn’t have a clear plan as to what they’d need to do at the selling stage. It’s an amazing feat to finish writing a book, but the truly incredible achievement is getting them into the hands of readers. A lot of the time there are visions of grandeur where tons of people line up to meet the author at book signings. Let me break it to you gently, this doesn’t happen unless your James Patterson or you’ve marketed the S*&T out of your upcoming event/book signing/book.

How are our friends going to sell their book? Where are they going to sell their books? Are the books available in print only or are they available electronically as well? Do they have a marketing plan? Do they have a solid author platform? And so on. See my point?

Let me pass on the best piece I’ve ever received from my mentor, “When you’re writing the book, it’s art. When the book is completed, it’s business-NEVER confuse the two.” That statement will stay with me for as long as I am in this world of publishing and well beyond.

My advice is to finish the manuscript, and then, before getting to the books in hand stage, craft your marketing plan and answer, at the very least, the questions above. It’s harder than it looks in the self-publishing world! Be prepared and remember that I believe in you! Tell your story-the world needs it.

X LLB

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