Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Cover Reveal: Taking on the Writing World

Thanks to the cover creator on Amazon KDP, I was able to create a professional cover that I am absolutely happy with!  Drum roll please...

Note: I made a change in the subtitle.  The book with be called: Taking on the Writing World: The Ups and Downs of the Writing Life.

I can't wait to finish the book and put out there for readers to read.  Stay tuned for an excerpt.  

Sunday, October 26, 2014

WIP: Taking on the Writing World

Hi, I guess that it is not too early to announce that I have been working on a new book project.  I have been reading a lot of books about writing and reading about experiences from different writers. Reading those experiences inspired me to tell my story.

I wanted to write about my experiences with writing contests, classes, rejections from publications, and other adventures and misadventures and share some words of wisdom I picked up through the years.  I still consider myself  a newbie although I have writing online for almost five years.  I still have a long way to go, but I am not as green as I use to be.

I am not so quick to enter just any contest promising money and publication.  I am not in a big hurry to hit to publish button.  Case and point, I wish that I would've taken my time with the short stories on Smashwords.  There have been times when I have caught mistakes and had to upload a new version.  I hoped to make money off my stories, but it took me nine months to earn $11.03.  The lesson here is don't publish to make a quick buck.  These things don't happen overnight.

I am half way through the book and I have written almost seven thousand words.  That is a world record for me.  It is more than the word count of the failed unfinished novel that I attempted.  What's different this time around?

I have been writing out each chapter by hand in a notebook and when I am ready, I type it on the computer.  This strategy cuts down on getting distracted by the Internet.  I feel more productive when using this method.

I plan to publish through Amazon's KDP to reach a wide audience.  I can't wait to publish, but I don't want to rush it.  I am so glad that KDP has a book cover creator so I will have a professional looking cover.

The working title for my first full length non fiction book is Taking on the Writing World: The Ups and Downs of Getting Published.  I hope to have it on Amazon by January 2015 at the latest.

Stay tuned for updates!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Book Cover Make Over

I have exciting news!

I thought that it was time to get more professional looking book covers for the eBooks I currently have on Smashwords.  I have learned a valuable lesson: don't make your own book cover if you don't know what you are doing or if you do not have the right tools.

I am still learning the ins and outs of the self publishing business.  I think that having a lack of professional covers for my books is the reason why the aren't selling so well.  In order to reach a wider audience, I plan to publish them on Amazon as well.  Not everyone knows about Smashwords.

There is a new project in the works.  Stay Tuned!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Book Review: Socially Awkward by Stephanie Haddad

Goodreads says:

Have you ever wanted to be someone else? Did you ever try? Jennifer Smith spends most of her time wishing she had a more exciting name, lived a more exciting life, or that she could just become someone else for a while. With her sister Claire's help, Jennifer channels her life's desires into the perfect graduate research program: a fake Facebook identity that allows her to "study" the world's reaction to perceived beauty. Making up a new name, designing a new personality, and doctoring a photo or two seems like the perfect plan; how could it possibly backfire? Especially if it helps her get the attention of a long-time school crush... Lost in her new-found "popularity" as Olivia Saunders, Jennifer's real life starts to slip out of her grasp piece by piece. Before long, she finds herself caught in a love square--where one of the four corners is an imaginary person. While Olivia's life has all the glitz, glamour, and guys she could ever have wanted, Jennifer has to decide if she can walk away and learn how to be okay living life as herself.

I discovered Socially Awkward by Stephanie Haddad on Amazon one day.  I read the description and thought that it would be an interesting story. I decided to take a chance since it was a freebie.  And this story is interesting.

As I started reading reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, I began to have second thoughts.  People were saying how horrible this novel was.  One person even compared it to an after school special. I am 31 years  old, I believe that I missed ABC's after school specials by a few years. So I headed over to  You Tube to watch a few.

In my personal opinion the novel was not that bad. I continued to read to find out what happens to Jen and everyone involved. I think that Jen went overboard and got too involved with her project.  The plot sounds like something that would be on MTV's Catfish.  At least Jen had her profile picture photo shopped instead of stealing someone's photo from Myspace.  The novel makes a few valid points.

  • It paints  a very real and vivid picture of how so many people allow social media to take over their every day lives.
  • It speaks very truthfully about how a lot of girls feel about themselves. That they have to be somebody they aren't for someone to want to be with them instead of finding the one who accepts them for who they are
  • Committing yourself to something will yield results. Excuses will get you nowhere. 
It was interesting how Sean accepted Olivia's friend request simply because he thought he recognized her from school.  I remember when I first signed up for Facebook back in 2009, I received a friend request from a girl I went to school with.  I didn't accept because this girl never talked to me and made fun of me back in middle school. Sure, I had classes with her.  But I didn't see the point in following each other on Facebook.  I agree that so many are absorbed with social media these days.  They have to broadcast all their where abouts -where they are hanging out, when they are going out of town,  the fact that they are at a Luke Bryan concert, etc. 

It is sad that so many girls believe that they have to be someone they are not in order to be accepted. When Jen poses as Olivia online, she received more attention.  I thought that it was also interesting that the author gave Jen a physical challenge.  Jen is hearing impaired and has to wear hearing aids.  Jen feels self conscious about them and hides them with hair.  I can understand where she is coming from because of my vision impairment.  I can't go without my glasses, but I feel self conscious about carrying around my white cane.  I appreciated the fact that Haddad didn't dwell on Jen's impairment and didn't make this a pity party story.  It rare to find stories featuring physically challenged individuals.  Usually when we read or watch these stories (movies and TV shows) they are held as a hero or someone famous.  Mostly, we hear about famous people.

Jen has another issue to deal with and that is her weight.  Her doctor tells her that she needs to loose 30 pounds.  I think that Jen becomes committed to this task because of the push from her sister Claire and the research project.  Because Jen is committed to getting healthier, she begins to feel better about herself.  

Socially Awkward wasn't as bad as reviews made it seem.  I think that readers can learn a lot from this novel if they looked deeper into the plot. 

3 out of 5 stars
Personal digital copy from Amazon.  

Friday, October 3, 2014

Five Things On A Friday

  1. I have been replacing things lately. The battery in my laptop hasn't been holding a charge lately, so I always had to keep it plugged up.  Last week, my computer suddenly cut off and it would not come back on.  What to do? I called the manufacturer to order a battery but they were out of stock.  They told me to call their partner for a battery.  It was going to really expensive.  So I turned to Amazon.   Saturday, I noticed the charger had a strange smell and heard a low sizzling noise.  I immediately took the the plug out of the computer and out of the outlet.  It felt strange going without a computer. I have done it before.  This time I have a tablet and smartphone to keep up with mail at least.  
  2. I decided to buy a new laptop.  I have been planning to buy a new computer anyway. Fortunately, I had put some money back for this purpose.  What will I do with my old one? I plan to give it to my mom once the battery and new charger arrives.  I purchased a new HP laptop. I was stunned when I that I have a web cam.  I know that web cams are great for Skype, but the thought of having a web cam creeps me out for some reason.  I am probably just thinking about too much.  I have to get use to Windows 8.  The whole start menu has it's own screen.
  3. I finally got my new iPod nano up and running.  I spent all that time the other week trying calling customer service to help resolve my issues. Part of the probably was my old computer. I like it  because it is accessible for visually impaired persons.  The only downside is the screen being so small.  I have to get use to the navigation.  Also, the Nike+ app is awesome.  It tracks who many steps you take, calories burned, and how many miles you have walked.  I burned over  140+ calories in two laps around the neighborhood.  Which means I burned off that 100 calorie snack I ate yesterday and probably those mini blue berry muffins.  (I probably shouldn't had ate them).  I have been eating salad for dinner the past few nights, so that should make up for it.  (Someone is shaking their head).
  4. I am still reading of course.  I downloaded some free books from Smashwords about writing.  I am usually reading my YA romance novels, but I think that it is time to expand my reading tastes. I also think that it is important to read books that will benefit me.  I just finished  I am a Writer by C.G. Cooper.  It tells the story about a woman who is struggling with her writing until she meets a guy who helps her reach her goals.  No, this is not going to be another sappy love story.  Although it is a fictional story, at the end of each chapter, the author gives exercises like Sherri (the woman in the story) gets from Daniel.  After reading these writing books, I felt inspired to work on a project.  More details to come.
  5. I have been asked to write up a business plan for a local project.  I have never written a business plan before.  So I gulped when I was given this task and gulped again when I started going through the questions. I never knew that business plans were so in depth but it makes sense.  I looked at some samples with charts and graphs.  Also, a lot of research is involved.  As I transcribed my pages of handwritten scribble, so far it has amounted to three typed pages.  This should get interesting.