Sunday Scoopful and #ROW80

On Saturday, November 9th, we had another speaker for our NH Chapter of Romance Writers. We meet in Bow, NH the second Saturday of the month from September to June. Each month we have a speaker to give us tidbits on what they found worked best for them as in writing or promoting.

So yesterday, we had a visit from none other than – wait for it – wait – Marie Force. That’s right. She was our speaker.

What she brought to us was tidbits on being a hybrid author. You see, she is not only traditionally published but she is a self-pubbing author as well. If you ever get the chance to hear her speak in person than take it, she has a lot of insight into what comes into factor for being a hybrid author.

She spoke mostly about the importing things a self-published author needs to know before hitting the mighty publish button.

  1. Write a book that is not just good – but great. Make sure your plots are sound and your characters are likeable.
  2. Have your book professionally edited. It is costly but well worth the money spent. That is copy-edited for the most part. They are the ones who pick up on a lot of grammar problems and spelling problems, maybe a proofreading error or two.
  3. Use a professional designer to make your book covers. Book covers do have a huge impact on whether your book is going to attract a reader.
  4. Make sure your manuscript is properly formatted. If you can’t figure out how to format your book then pay someone to do it for you. Lots of times sites like Smashwords will tell you to try again if the formatting is not correct. But if it takes you more than five tries and you still don’t get it or all your hair has been pulled from the top of your head then you really need to seek out a formatting service to take care of your manuscript properly for you.
  5. Even eBooks do need front matter. This is where you put the name of the book followed by author name then published by and so on. Smashwords has good examples of this in their style guide that is free for everyone to read and use.
  6. Every book needs an ISBN. Or should read, every different format of you book needs its own ISBN. That means that an eBook needs its own for ePub and Mobi, PDF and so on. Right down to making sure that you have a separate one for you paperback. You can’t use the same ISBN for all the books under that same title. Each one has to have its own.
  7. You need to distribute your book. This can be done by setting up an account with the various venues like Amazon Kindle Direct, Barnes & Noble Nook Press, Kobo Writing Life and so on. Or you can do the one shoe fits all and use Smash words for you distribution needs. (Note: you still need a separate account for Amazon Kindle Direct when using Smashwords unless you are a bestselling author, otherwise, if you are not a bestseller, Amazon will not open their distribution gate for your Smashwords file. So it is best to work with amazon direct in the beginning.)
  8. Promoting your book. Marie found that Facebook was the best social media avenue when it came to promoting your book. This is without posting multiple posts about your book. Just engage with your readers and treat them the way you would love to be treated and word of mouth about your book and how nice you are really makes a difference in how well your book sells. Readers love to say my friend – so and so – Facebook link – wrote a book that I loved. This is so good for you and your reader. Let them have at it. Friends are some of your best readers. Believe me; everyone wants to be someone’s friend.
  9. If your book is not selling, revisit it and take a peak to see why. If the cover needs to be improved than change it. If your formatting is not good enough than fix it. Update your books periodically so they can keep pace with the ever changing face of technology.

If you need help with your self-published book Marie has a solution for this as well. She runs a service called
Formatting Fairies
. They do everything from formatting to copy editing and book cover design. She also has a self-pub loop at

ROW80 Update: My NaNo Work in Progress

It has been a couple of weeks since I last checked in or maybe just over a week. I’ve been working on a Nano project for this month. It will be interesting to see how far I can get with this WIP. I missed two days this week and fell short on word count on one day too. As of yesterday my word count sits at 7k words. I might be done after the first of the year. (LOL)

I have to keep telling myself that the best I have done is writing a first draft in 90 days. That is still not too bad. So if I don’t make the NaNo deadline I will not beat myself up over it.

Next weekend Sunday Scoop: Monadnock Writers’ Group

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Monadnock Writers’ Group Meeting Minute and #ROW80 Check-in

It is the third Saturday of the month and time once again to let you all know how my monthly Monadnock Writers’ Group happened to be. Our speaker for today was Hilary Weisman Graham. I met her a few months ago when she spoke at our NHRWA meeting in Bow, NH. That time she had told us all about the marketing things one should not do. This time she spoke about her other form of writing that she feels she loves even more than writing fiction. She is a screenwriter at heart.

Hilary wrote a YA Contemporary a year ago called Reunited. I still have yet to read it. Winter is coming. There should be plenty of time to read then.

Her explanation of what she had to go through to pitch a screenplay for TV Shows, explained how difficult that kind of writing tends to be. It is a never ending battle to come up with the right story line, the right characters, and what they are looking for in a screenplay during that actual moment. Many screenplays are tossed in the file after file to become lost in time.

She was asked about the difference between managers and agents. Hilary said that the managers are more personal, and she can cry on her manager’s shoulder about things easier than crying on an agents shoulder. The relationship tends to be closer.

All in all, I found her screenplay presentation much more enjoyable and funny. Thanks Hilary. Hope to see you again soon and good luck on your screenplays.

Other News:

Along Came Neil is up on Smashwords – finally.

I don’t believe I will bother taking part ever again in the Kindle Select program, especially now that Smashwords has come out with the prerelease feature. I really do like Smashwords so much more than any other venue. The meat grinder was my nemesis in the past, but I do believe I may have conquered that. Now I just need to wait for them to approve the file for their catalogue. In the meantime I have a little treat for my readers. I have a coupon code to share with all of you and if you want you are free to share this code with your friends and your friends’ friends, and their connections too. So please pass it around. I am hoping to get some ratings and reviews if possible in exchange for this code.

For your Free eBook in your choice of format. Promotional price: $0.00
Coupon Code: MH37M – Not Case Sensitive
Expires: November 19, 2013

ROW80 Check-In:

I missed my check in for Wednesday. So much for my goal of not missing a post, but I won’t give up on that goal just yet. I plan on trying again and again until I finally meet that goal without having to force myself to make the posts.

What I do have to report: I started working on the next Orgarlan Book. The first 1k words are done. I will give it a shot again tomorrow and see what kind of word count I can get before noon time. I know that 3k would be too much to ask for, but then again, that can be about the same length of a chapter, so one never knows.

How’s your writing going this week? I would love to hear from you. Do you attend writing groups? Who have your speakers been?

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Missed Meeting – ROW80 Check in

Normally I would begin this post with my monthly post about my RWA meeting. Not this month. I spent the whole day in bed yesterday and sadly missed my meeting. The bug that has been going around at work got me, and it got me good. I had a nonstop cough and total blahs.

After filling up with cold medicine all day yesterday, today I feel much better, even though today my back and chest hurts from all that coughing it is an improvement. It looks like I will not have any problem making it to work tomorrow. So here’s to the day job winning out this week.

Not so fast.

Since I felt better today, I tackled my plot outline for the next Orgarlan Book. It still does not have a name. I may wait until it is half way written before I commit to its name. At least the ground work has been done. Even the log line is done.

Check it out: A magic book and a magic claw can be damaging to the world by whom wields these powers. Who has the ability to take them away?

Next up is to sit down and start writing…

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Falling Plot and finding Plans for NaNo – ROW80 Check – In

It is fall – no doubt about that. Here I am, on a Wednesday with my Round of Words Check – In. Sadly I do not have anything to report except for my up and coming NHRWA meeting that is coming up this Saturday in Bow, NH. I’m certainly looking forward to it.

My lack of writing does not have anything to do with writers block. I’m sure it has a lot to do with shifting gears by going from Teen Contemporary to Fantasy. The switching from one set of characters back to the other set does slow the muse down. I guess that is why some writers recommend staying with only one genre. Other writers recommend not writing series or trilogies.

I can’t help it. My stories come in spurts. It is just the way I write and the stories come about.

But today on our Facebook group for ROW80 one of our comrades posted a link to a post for NaNo Planning 2013. I checked it out. I must say I will need to use this when I begin work on my next story. It just might be the plan I need to get my butt in gear and get the story written.

Just think – NaNo is right around the corner. I’ve been using this challenge for the past three years to get my stories into motion.

Hm… Maybe that is what my muse is waiting for.

But I do remember one of my goals for this round is Deliberate Writing. So I had better go and get to work by planning and plotting.

I hope your writing week is going strong.

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Speaker at the Bow Meeting #ROW80 #RWA

Yesterday I became officially hooked into the Romance Writers World. That’s right, now I am a member of the NH Chapter too. This is a good thing. They are such a great bunch of gals and fun to be around and full of great information. They meet at the Baker Free Library in Bow, NH on the second Saturday of the month.

We had a speaker visit us at the meeting yesterday. This is one of the great benefits of attending a local writing group meeting. Next weekend I will be attending the meeting at the Monadnock Writers’ Group at the Peterborough Library on Saturday. They too will have a speaker.

Our guest was Kristan Higgins and wow what a speaker!


She is the author of 9 bestselling – 9 mind you – romances. She is also funny, witty, and full of great information. I see she has a blog too.

So yesterday she left us with some tidbits on writing. These bits would probably work for almost any type of fictional writing and not just Romances.

The title of her presentation was Chapter One – I am born

Kristan explained to us how the first chapter is the most important chapter in any story. It is the chapter that gets the reader to keep coming back for more. It is your hook. So here is a condensed version of some of her tidbits.

  1. “Wicked Awesome First Line”
  2. Tone – Funny, Tragic, Terrifying, Elegant – “Don’t mislead your reader by writing a funny opener and having a tragic ending.”
  3. Theme – “What is your Book about?” – Show what your Character does not know.
  4. Personality – Demonstrate through action – “Beware of the cliché in character development – Create a Character the reader can relate to. “Romances are about the Character.”
  5. Character’s beliefs is somewhere stated
  6. Everyday life & World – where the story takes place and how things work in the character’s world. If the character has emotional scars, give glimpses and let the readers use their own imagination.
  7. Keep the first chapter Lean and only include the key players of the story.
  8. Seeds of the past – Flash backs, but don’t tell the reader EVErything.
  9. Immediate Goal
  10. Character Flaw – “why she doesn’t have what she wants just yet.”
  11. Character in Action – “Don’t have the character just sit there doing nothing. Create some disturbance or conflict, hooking into the emotions of the character so the reader can relate to them.
  12. The Hook – Last line of the chapter and its job.
  13. Call to the Adventure – Why life can’t continue to be the same after what has taken place in the first chapter.
  14. “The last chapter of the story should echo the first chapter.”

Then she gave us a list of NO – No’s

  1. Flash back – sometimes okay if used properly
  2. Dreams
  3. Secondary Plot lines
  4. The next four heroes & heroines in your series – keep them out of the picture as best as you can and don’t let them steal the show.
  5. Overt revelations
  6. Grocery list of descriptions
  7. Prologues can sometimes be allowed if they are very important to the story. But don’t give away the trump card.


At our meeting we have a Pro Liaison and she is great at giving us writing challenges to take us through the month. They are more like exercises to help us get out of the way of our muses. This month’s challenge is to write crap for 5 minutes every day to kill your inner critic.

Okay – I found an outlet for my crap writing. I have this manuscript I started in 2010 for NaNo and never finished it because I thought the story line was crap – Maybe something can happen with it and I can shape it after I finish writing the crap in the first draft. Yesterday I did 500 words in the five or so minutes I worked on it. Who know what could happen with this story.



This week was a blah week. I was sick and didn’t feel like doing much of anything but sleeping. I even missed a day of work from my everyday job. It isn’t like me to call in sick.

I’m feeling better, and yesterday I was able to pick up some motivation from the girls at the Bow meeting. So yeaH! I added another 1k words to Road Salt. The first draft isn’t anywhere near the word count I am seeking but at least the story line is over 2/3rds done. I can see the end of the story off in the distance.

After what I did with the revision on Witch Book I am sure I will be able to make my word count when I go back and add some fluff to the story. I tend to do the opposite of most writers. I write tight and have to force myself to add the stuff our imaginations are made of.

Have a great week and may the ROW be with you… If you have time come check out some other ROWers and cheer them on Linky List.



Getting Hooked to RWA


Have you ever gone to a writers’ group?

If you haven’t yet you really should check one out sometime.

I’m pumped. My word count for the week is around 2k. This is kind of low with NaNo looming around the corner but then again it really isn’t half bad.

Why am I so pumped?

Today I attended my second RWA chapter group. They meet at the Baker Free Library in Bow, NH. I really like these gals, they are so much fun. In fact I never really realized how fun it could be to write a romance until now.

We had a guest speaker too, one of the things I like about attending writing meetings.

Today’s guest was Shannon Stacey.

She is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author from New Hampshire who is published with Carina Press and Harlequin. Her presentation was on Infusing Your Romance with Humor.

What a great topic…

How many times do you try to write with a little bit of wit? I know I try to add at least a small amount of wit in my works. Even Friends of Choice had a smidgen of wit when I wrote the scene where Karla had her old friends sleep over at her new home. I just can’t leave a dark read totally dark, if you know what I’m saying.

She said one of the best things for finding the humor in your writing is by shutting off the internal editor. One of her examples about this was how she accidently came up with the “magic penis” in her book Yours to Keep. Shannon said it was late at night when she was working on this scene and it never occurred to her until she went to edit the story. She almost cut this part out of the story but her editor loved it along with all her readers.

We had a blast listening to all the examples she gave us in how she used humor in her stories and warned about forcing, or trying too hard to make your story funny. She said just write and wait to see where all the pieces fall and try to keep it natural as possible.

You can learn more about Shannon Stacey by visiting her website:

Another part of our meeting, a part that I like most besides the speakers is the challenges. One of the members comes up with monthly challenges for us. I guess last month was clean up your office and organize it as best as you can. I didn’t take part in this challenge. I must not have been thinking about how hooked I was to this Chapter Group.


This month’s challenge, created by Lisa, is called bichokwed. This stands for… you got it… butt in chair – hands on keyboard – write every day.

I’m going to do this one. NaNo is right around the corner and I really need to get this manuscript done. I will be happy with even having the first draft done by November.

I’ll even set the draft aside and edit it after NaNo if I have too. I want to get to work on the next book in the Orgarlan Saga for NaNo, or at least start it.

So if any of you want to take part in the bichokwed with me we can use the hashtag #bichokwed on twitter and you are welcome to share my little BICHOKWED logo for you blog if you would like.

I’m just piling the challenges up. ROW80 will go hand in hand with bichokwed this month. Maybe I finally find my discipline I have been shooting for.