Traditional or Self Publishing…What I Chose

Courtesy of Pixabay

Courtesy: Pixabay

After a long time researching and contemplating between traditional publishing (finding an agent to represent me; sending queries, synopses, the first 10 or 20 pages to an agent, etc.) and self-publishing, I’ve decided to self-publish my middle grade fantasy novel, Secret of the Golden Heart, and I’m totally excited! Self-publishing comes with the freedom that you don’t have with traditional publishing. You’re in total control and that’s why I think self-publishing has become more popular and has grown tremendously in the past eight years.

I began this blog several years ago to route my journey of writing and publishing my first book as well as follow my main character on his journey. Going with the traditional route, you’re kind of limited to how much you can talk about your story in the public arena before publication. That’s why I’ve been hesitant to talk about my book or some of my characters because I never knew how much information I could give away.

It’s been a long journey, lots of ups and downs, discouragements and roadblocks that I’ve had to work through. Not to mention the pesky questions that made a nice, cozy bed for themselves in the corners of your mind: What are you doing? Do you really think you can pull this off? You’ll never finish this book so why not just give up, save yourself the grief, and go on with your merry life? And, I admit, I fell for it sometimes.

So, I put *threw* my writing life into a plastic bin–hundreds of notes and information–and sadly said, “I’m done. Writing fiction is too hard.” I shoved the bin beneath a desk and stared at it for about half an hour. I could finally see the top of my computer desk, note-free, clean and sparkly. Wasn’t that better? I sat . . . staring at the bin . . . thinking about the past several years and hours of hard work I’d put into the book.

I began my new-found freedom as a non-writer . . .

At least for a day or two. I inched myself back to my office and “piddled” while at the same time thinking, I’m not getting any younger. Time is a-wasting. *Blah, blah, blah.*

Well, forgive the cliché, but you can’t keep a good horse down. I thought about my future without writing. When you’re more unhappy not writing than you are by the discouragements that comes with writing, then it’s almost impossible to quit.

So . . . I didn’t . . . I couldn’t . . . quit.

Courtesy: Pixabay

Courtesy: Pixabay

I decided to take my journey to the next level and self-publish. There’s a lot to learn, I had to hire a professional editor, but I’m half way there, and I hope to pass along what I’ve learned so I can help make the process smoother for others who are thinking about self-publishing. Unfortunately, self-publishing means there is some cost, whereas, when you sign with an agent they take care of that. But being accepted by an agent means being a good fit on their list and whether they want to take a chance on a newbie author. This is time-consuming when searching for an agent. It can take up to two years to get your book published and this is after an agency has accepted you as their client. It’s hard for first-time authors, but surely not impossible. But agents aren’t so quick to take a chance on a new author. With this being said, it is a personal choice, and I know there are a lot of good agents out there waiting for a good story.

I’m relieved that I decided to self-publish. I’m looking forward to it. I’m meeting a lot of awesome people who’ve been there and done that and are willing to help. Now I can spend time doing what I really like to do: WRITE! I am hoping to have the book out soon and planning on it being a series of three.

What is the Secret of the Golden Heart?

What is the Secret of the Golden Heart?


Stay tuned to journey out of this world when twelve-year-old Kristian McNeal’s life turns upside down, and he’s swept from danger and taken to a place he never knew existed . . . until now. After arriving at his destination, he discovers that he has been chosen; now he’s bound to fulfill his mother’s destiny after stealing her golden heart heirloom for selfish motives. Now, it’s a race against time to find the key that unlocks the secret of the golden heart and save the dying planet of his heritage. Will he choose to follow that still, small voice, or go down an unknown path?


Books on Writing

I’ve wanted to do this post for a while on a list of books that I’ve read to help me to learn the craft of writing. I thought you might find them helpful, too.

  • The Marshall Plan for Getting Your Novel Published by Evan Marshall
  • Revision by Kit Reed
  • Dialogue by Lewis Turco
  • Description & Setting by Ron Rozelle
  • Characters & Viewpoint by Orson Scott Card
  • How to Write Science Fiction & Fantasy by Orson Scott Card
  • Word Magic for Writers by Cindy Rogers
  • You Can Write Children’s Books by Tracey E. Dils
  • The Children’s Writers Reference by Amoss & Suben
  • The Giblin Guide to Writing Children’s Books by James Cross Giblin
  • Fantasy and Science Fiction by Philip Athans
  • Showing and Telling by Laurie Alberts
  • Getting Your Foot in the Editorial Door by Thomas A. Noton
  • The Breakout Novelist by Donald Maass
  • The Art of War for Writers by James Scott Bell
  • Barron’s Essentials of English
  • And STORY by Robert McKee

These books are sure to further your writing career. I found them quite helpful. However, after reading so many “how to books,” it’s impossible to retain everything, but you’ll be surprised at how much you do retain when you begin writing and revising. The more you write and revise, the more you grow. Things begin to click over time if you’re willing to stick to it and work hard at the craft.

Happy writing!

What’s More Important . . . Plot or Character Development?

I’ve read many books on fiction writing while trying to develop my writing skills, and I’ve visited and subscribed to some great websites of author’s who have posted great advice. I’ve learned a lot. Each author has his/her own way of developing their stories, but I’ve learned that developing your characters first is easier than jumping right in to your story like I did. But, hey, I didn’t know.

However, character development was my weakest link. I had to take the time to know my character’s personalities. Once I learned who they were, how they’d act and react, my story became a little easier to write.

Characters are the story because they’re human. They have a past, they eat, they breathe, they evolve. They must go through physical and emotional setbacks and changes, ups and downs. But these things give them, and your story, life. Characters grow through trials and hardships just as we do, and they must also learn from their mistakes, and from the mistakes of the other characters. Good or bad, we root for characters, not plot.

It seemed I was spinning my wheels until I took the time to get to know my characters. I was so caught up in the plot and the setting that my characters suffered. They were one-dimensional stick figures, but when I turned them into three-dimensional characters, they and the story began to come to life.

If you’re a beginning writer of fiction, get to know your characters. If you don’t, your story will suffer. Picture your characters in your mind’s eye. How do they act and react?  Do they stomp their feet when they’re  angry? Do they sulk? Pout? How do they act when they’re happy? Angry? Worried? Betrayed?

Character development is harder for some than others. I believe that it is one of the biggest reasons stories get rejected. A great website on character development is Angela Ackerman’s and Becca Puglisi’s,  Writers Helping Writers, formerly The Bookshelf Muse. They’ve done an awesome job on their site, and they’ve written three books on the subject of character development, which are great reference and brainstorming  tools. Angela and Becca also have various sections on their site on descriptions  like settings, weather, colors, textures, shapes, symbolism, and much more. Check them out.

If there is anyone who would like to comment on this topic and help other writers, it would be appreciated.

Thank you and have a wonderful day!

“. . . for with God all things are possible.” ~ Mark 10:27


Writing Sites

Hello, just wanted to pass along some helpful information to those seeking help with their WIP.

First, I’ve been using software called MasterWriters that all you creative writers out there may find helpful if you haven’t heard of it already. It has a Dictionary, Thesaurus, Phrases, Parts of Speech, Rhymes, Pop Culture, Word Families, etc. I’ve used it for a while and find it very helpful. When I had a problem with the software regarding the font size, the gentleman was very helpful in solving the problem, and he did. He was kind, patient, and courteous. So, check out MasterWriter and see what you think.

Second, if there’s anyone who needs help with becoming a better writer, check out Be A Better Writer. This particular post helps with writing a premise.

On my writing journey, I discover helpful information and sites and pass it along to those who are looking for help in certain areas. It takes hours learning about the art of writing: publishing, social media, how to build an author platform, etc. Learning about the craft of writing is never-ending.

Have a great day and happy writing!


Are Your Characters One Dimensional?

I wanted to pass along some great information and tips regarding character development. No matter where you are on your writing journey, developing deeper and likable characters is what draws readers.

Are your characters all the same?

  Image Courtesy of Simon Howden

Since Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi, from The Bookshelf Muse, moved to a new site, WritersHelpingWriters, they held an amazing race last week by paying it forward and helping writers. There were authors and others who stood by to help critique queries, synopses, and to offer help with marketing, etc.. They also gave away some neat stuff. So, thank you Angela and Becca.

K.M. Weiland, one amazing author hopped on board. She’s posted 10 Things To Build Likable Characters, so you might want to hop over there and check out her site. She says, “Make me like your character and I will follow him to the center of the earth.” Great advice.

We must create these kinds of characters if we want to gain a fan base and have our story be a success. We must dig deep and discover who our characters really are, especially our MC/Hero, when no one is watching. What do they like? Dislike? Hate? What’s their passion? Their deepest desire? Their main goal? What do they want/need to accomplish?

And we can’t have our MC stand back and watch the action. He/She must roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty. They need to fail. They need to get back up. They need to fail again, and again, until they finally get back up in the end, hopefully learning a valuable lesson and becoming a stronger person than what they were before we met them in the opening paragraph.

I learned a lot from Angela’s and Becca’s Amazing Race and thank them for putting in some grueling hours. And I’d like to thank Author Elizabeth Spann Craig for doing some critiquing for me.

I hope you will find these sites and the information helpful.

Have a wonderful week!


Don’t Walk, Run . . .

. . . to the Writers Helping Writers website!

Formerly, The Bookshelf Muse, is under a new site: Writers Helping Writers. Check it out. If you buy Angela Ackerman’s and Becca Puglisi’s books: The Positive Traits Thesaurus and The Negative Traits Thesaurus, you won’t be sorry. These books are soooo awesome and helpful to any writer needing descriptions, character development. The Emotion Thesaurus is simply the best.

Happy writing!


Do You Let Your Characters Tell Your Story?

You’ve probably heard that every writer needs to find their Voice. But what exactly does this mean? Have you found yours? If so, how did it happen? I’m sure others would like to know.

There’s a good article posted at The Bookshelf Muse, written by Jodi Renner. She offers insight into Voice. Please check it out here.

I’d also like to send warm congratulations to Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi from the Bookshelf Muse on their books The Positive Trait Thesaurus and The Negative Trait Thesaurus. Great books that every writer should have in their library. Their first book, The Emotion Thesaurus, was a great help. 

Angela and Becca have just moved to a new site at Writers Helping Writers. Awesome! Hop over and check them out.

Have a great day!

Happy writing!


Beware . . . of Sending Your Material Off

. . . of sending your material off. Be aware of scammers who prey on the vulnerable, or those who are anxious to get their work published. Check these sites out first:

Preditors & Editors

Other Info Preditors/Editors


Happy writing!

Did Knights Use These Stallions for Battle?

Friesians, (pronounced Free-zhuh), they originated from the Netherlands and they are one of Europe’s oldest horse breeds. Yes, this breed was the choice battle horse of kings and possibly knights. Midnight black is most popular for this breed. They have a high-set neck, with an abundant and silky extra long, mane and tail. They are versatile, with powerful and high-stepping gates. Their strength, loyalty, and courage are beyond compare and they are a great companion for all ages.

Why am I posting this? You’ll have to stay tuned to this blog.

Take a moment and watch the short video. See for yourself how elegantly these majestic animals are.



Help For Writers (or non)

For any aspiring writers (or non), here are some cool sites that I’m sure will be helpful. Check them out.

1.) A site for aspiring Screenwriters.

2.) Do you need to keep your writing organized? Check out Hiveword. It’ll keep track of your stories and help you keep your thoughts organized.

3.) And what about rain? Yes, listen to the sounds of pitter-patter hitting your window and the distant thunder as you write, or surf the internet. I enjoy the sound of rain. It’s calming? So, head on over to rainymood, get a cup of coffee, put your feet up, close your eyes, and relax. You deserve it.