Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The Writer's Palette: How to Write Concise Description to Liven Your Scenes

As writers, we have the power to tear down the boundaries of paper and ink when we craft a description that triggers the imagination of our readers. That’s the power of writing a concise description.

I’m sure you’ve heard it’s best to limit your descriptions. Pretty prose does not equal a pretty story, and ultimately it’s your characters and plot that will push the story along.

So how can you write scenes in a way that accomplishes the job of description — to bring the story to life — without interrupting the flow?

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

6 Ways to Find Hope as an Aspiring Author in Today’s Industry

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The writing industry has shifted over the past decade or so. There are more options available for today’s aspiring author—therefore, more writers are seeing their books in print. It’s tougher to write books that will stand out in the midst of a crowded market.

If you hope to make a living from your writing, you either have to A) have a part-time job, B) write HUGE bestsellers, or C) become an author-entrepreneur. And did you know that only 1% of the authors whose books are sold in bookstores actually make a living from their books?

Perhaps you’ve grown up with a specific (yet potentially unrealistic) vision of what it would look like to be an author someday—and that vision didn’t include having to engage a readership on social media, the blogosphere, or working hard to prove yourself as a writer.

If this is you, then let me encourage you by telling you to first of all, don’t give up! Be careful that you don’t hold so tightly to that “author fantasy” vision you once held onto that you neglect to take advantage of what could possibly become your writing career.

Now that writers are no longer working in private, we’re in this journey together. Let’s take advantage of these changes and use them to thrust us forward in our writing careers.

Here are 6 ways you can find hope as an aspiring author in today’s industry:

⇢ Find relationships.

Let’s be honest here: I have more writer friends than I have friends in general! But they’re the best kind because they understand where I come from. And do you want to know a little secret?

Relationships will get you further in your career than possibly anything else. (This is why I’m a huge advocate for writing conferences. Don’t go for a contract; go for connections!)

Writing marathon at a coffee shop with my writing friend and fellow YA author, Caroline George. =p

How do you find these relationships?

  • Conferences. (I met my writer friend, Katy Kauffman, at my first conference in 2010. Our debut books released within a month of each other in 2013, and we continue to communicate on a regular basis. That same writing conference—BRMCWC—is our yearly “reunion”.) =)  
  • Critique groups.
  • Online Facebook groups.
  • Social media. (I met my writer friend, Anna Schaeffer, when I discovered her book through social media. Although we don’t see each other often, we regularly communicate; in fact, we’re beginning to meet via Skype weekly to discuss a writing craft book.)
  • The blogging community.
  • Local events—book signings, writing workshops, etc. (My writer friend, Caroline George, and I met when we both heard about another young author in our hometown. We then held a book tour to promote our books.)

⇢ Find encouragement.

I don’t advise that you intentionally seek encouragement, but do put yourself in the right position so you can receive feedback. This feedback should encourage you in your strengths and give you criticism on how to grow in your weak areas. Use the criticism to push you as a writer, and keep the encouragement on hand any time you begin to doubt yourself as a writer.

Encouragement can also be as simple as finding a writer friend who will remind you that your dream is valid—someone who can be the person you call whenever you start to feel discouraged. (Just remember to keep the relationship two-sided! The encouragement and support should be reciprocated.)

⇢ Find community.

Writing can often be a lonely vocation. Thankfully, these industry changes have introduced us to a community of other writers via social media and blogging. Take advantage of this!

Sure, you might want to use your valuable time to write on your book. But by plugging into a writing community, you will receive support, encouragement, and feedback when you come across a roadblock along your writing path. There’s nothing like connecting with other like-minded individuals who share the same writing dream as you do. We need hand to hold along this journey—people who will remind us of why we’re on this journey, people who know our struggles and doubts, etc.

⇢ Find support.

Does your family support you? Your friends? Boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse? If not, tell them how important writing is for you. Let them know that passion is the fuel behind your writing journey and (not necessarily a large income). If it weren't for my parents, I definitely wouldn’t be where I am in my writing career today. It’s because of them that I attended my first conference and met the publisher for my first book, Purple Moon.

⇢ Find time.

Find time to dedicate to your craft. Find time to dedicate to reading. Find time to dedicate to writing. Find time to dream and set goals for your writing career. You can’t hope if you don’t have time to dedicate toward making your dreams come to pass!

⇢ Find refreshment and renewal.

We can only go for so long before we begin to lose fuel. Find opportunities to refuel yourself. Writing can become mentally exhausting. Give your brain (and eyes!) a break.

Spend time with God; find a good book to read; take a bubble path; drink herbal tea; do yoga; take a walk; visit an art museum. If you don’t do this then don’t be surprised when you begin to lose passion and enthusiasm to sustain your writing journey!

*** {PS ... Would you mind filling out a quick 5-question survey for me? I'm trying to get to know my audience a bit more, so this would be a HUGE help. Click here for the survey. Thank you!} ***

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When you start to have writing doubts or lose enthusiasm, how do you find hope to continue along your writing path? Is there anything I left out on this list?


Friday, February 3, 2017

Introducing Illuminate YA Fiction, New Imprint of LPC Books {Searching for teens & young adults!}

It's with great excitement that I officially "cut the ribbon" and introduce to you Illuminate YA!

Illuminate is the new YA/NA imprint of LPC Books that I have had the pleasure of launching. Our goal at Illuminate is to shed light on positive and inspiring books that engross readers in an entertaining journey from beginning to end. We don't shy away from reflecting today’s authentic youth culture, yet we do so in a way that promotes good morals and values. Our stories touch teens’ deepest needs, answers their life questions, sweeps them away in a can’t-put-me-down adventure, and portrays their world with a thread of hope.

Why am I beginning this new venture? Simply put: I'm passionate the YA genre. There's a need in the market for books that satisfy teens' reading needs and promote good morals, yet do so without delivering a sermon. The books at Illuminate will be safe for young readers (although we always advise that teens have parental guidance in their reading choices).  

Do you want to be a part of the team at ILLUMINATE?

If you're a teen or young adult who is passionate about books and wants to support our mission, we'd love to have you join us! We're searching for 15 teens/young adults to join our Teen Advisory Board. Please see this page for more information.

Do you want to submit your proposal to ILLUMINATE?

While we aren't actively seeking submissions at the moment, we will begin to acquire manuscripts in the spring. If you'd like to be among the first of our submissions, please see our submissions page for more details. Please note that we will only accept unagented submissions temporarily.  

 Free YA books!

Who doesn't love free YA books? Sign up for our newsletter and you'll receive free YA books delivered to your inbox as soon as they're available for free on Amazon.

Also, you can join our Street Team and receive free ARCs of our upcoming books and participate in members-only giveaways! Click here to join

Support our mission!

Want to help us shed light on on positive and inspiring YA/NA fiction? Follow us on social media, and don't forget to invite your friends!

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What genre of YA books do you enjoy reading?