Blog Archives

Author Toolbox 1: My Top New Manuscript Planning Resource #AuthorToolboxBlogHop

The Author Toolbox Blog Hop is “a monthly blog hop on the theme of resources/learning for authors: posts related to the craft of writing, editing, querying, marketing, publishing, blogging tips for authors, reviews of author-related products, anything that an author would find helpful.” Want to jump into the writing tool box? Search #AuthorToolboxBlogHop or to join via blog, click here.

Thank you Raimey!


Looking for that perfect resource book with both exercise application and examples of successful work?

90 Days to Your Novel, A Day-by-Day Plan for Outlining & Writing Your Book, by Sarah Domet is my favorite thing these days. I’m currently Day 6 into the writing exercises. I’ve already defined 10 characters, four of them pivotal, threaded in background scenes, favorite places and personality quirks to include as I write. I can honestly admit though, I won’t make the 90-day mark. My timeline is a little longer. Sometimes I use one exercise to span two to three days.

Favorite Points on Scene Development

“Scenes are modules, a single unit of your novel … a reader should have learned something about the characters involved or about the unraveling plot,” (page 36, Domet).

  • Write for the reader and not the writer. As a writer, I love to get lost in detail and scenery. But a reader wants to know the who and the what, and not just the wow.
  • Include the main character as early as possible in any scene. Domet suggests as early as paragraph two and no later than paragraph three.
  • The middle of any scene should be heavy with conflict pushing against the main character’s nearest and dearest wish.
  • The end of a scene should show the reader a new character insight, a metaphor, or leave a question that makes it impossible to not turn the page and want more.

Points on Character

  • Need some writing prompts to get into your main character’s head and body, and all of the minor ones too? I LOVE the Biography worksheets in this book.
  • The “I Care Factor” is the connection to aim for which moves your reader through the book.
  • Emotion is conveyed in many different ways, and it’s different for each character both in public and private settings.
  • Write for the senses and express what they feel through word choice and physical characteristics.

A thought to ponder: Think of a moment in your life when you and someone else experienced the same emotional event. How did you handle it in public vs. private? How did they handle it? Would you blush? Would they? Would you tremble? Would you burst out in a slew of regrettable words? Maybe this someone you knew stormed off.  The worksheets in this book helped me figure out these reactions in all of my characters. I wrote three short scenes; first, one character who experienced intense emotion in a comfortable location; next, I wrote the same character freaking out in a public place; and finally,  I wrote a combined scene with two of more of my main characters. The best part is how everything I wrote can be used down the road in the book.

I hope my thoughts today helped. Heard of the book? Got a favorite tool you use to flush out a new manuscript? I’d love to hear it.

“What happens afterwards, when the heroics are over?” Interview with Author Olga Godim


To inspire hope and courage, I dedicate Monday posts through the months of March and April to authors and professionals on the subject of heroes, historically defined, and also the transformation in today’s society. I like to think of this term as the Everyday Hero. Here today, I have fellow author Olga Godim, answering three questions on the hero topic. Her answers inspire me.


The Interview

[Erika] What is your definition of hero (historically or in today’s world)?

[Olga Godim] Heroes come in two varieties: public and private. A public hero is the one people know about. He performed an act of courage in the service of others. The first responders on site on 9/11 – firefighters and the police – trying to save as many lives as they could, come to mind, or a soldier risking his life to get a comrade out of a danger zone. They are the people songs and novels are written about. They are the ones everyone interviews. But what happens afterwards, when the heroics are over, the songs forgotten, and life goes on? Sometimes it leaves those heroes behind because of their injuries or their non-conformity. Of course, they are remembered on anniversary dates, but on all the other days of the year, they are just neighbors, family, regular guys and gals. Sometimes they are even not very nice, because heroic deeds require certain personality traits that are seldom in demand in peaceful life.

The private heroes are trickier. A woman afflicted with a deadly disease but still trying to live her life with dignity and kindness is a hero nobody knows about. No songs, no interviews, but her website and blog are uplifting and have many followers. She is always generous with praise and support of others and she seldom complains. Nobody outside her family knows how much every step, every typed post cost her. I bow to this kind of heroism with deepest admiration, much more so than to the public type. It takes so much courage not to become bitter, not to succumb to the ravages of pain, to go on despite those trials day after day, with no hope of ever getting better and no public recognition. This is heroism of the highest order. And before you ask, yes, I have a specific person in mind, one of my online friends, but I won’t embarrass her by pointing a finger.

[Erika] How does your hero fit the definition?

[Olga Godim] The protagonist of my anthology story, Captain Bulat, doesn’t fit any definition of a hero. She isn’t one. She is a regular person, doing a job she was hired to do, mainly to get paid, like all of us. She is a Finder in a fantasy world, and someone hired her to find a lost hero, Captain Bulat. He was a valiant war hero whose heroic deeds warranted a statue, but he disappeared 25 years ago, before she was born, just after the war ended. Now, my heroine is searching for him, and she needs courage and compassion to deal with a heap of problems arising during her search. It seems not everybody wants the lost Captain Bulat to be found.

[Erika] Why did he or she fall? Did they find their way back?

[Olga Godim] When I decided to write a story for this anthology, I took its theme literally. For me, lost and fallen are not synonymous. My hero is lost, not fallen: nobody knows where he is. Searching for him is the gist of my story.

Anthology Story: “Captain Bulat”

When one of the most powerful men in the city hires the young Finder Altenay to find Captain Bulat, a hero of the last war, she is stumped. The war ended and the hero disappeared 25 years ago, before she was born. How can she find the lost hero now, after all these years, when her Finder’s magic keeps floundering? How can she stay alive, when some unknown persons don’t want her to succeed?

About Olga Godim

Olga is a writer and journalist from Vancouver, Canada. Both her children, a son and a daughter, have already flown the nest. To sustain her nurturing instincts, she now collects toy monkeys. She has over 300 monkey figurines in her collection. As a journalist, Olga writes personal profiles of the local artists, actors, and musicians. As a fiction writer, she prefers fantasy. In the past few years, her fantasy and magic realism short stories have been published in multiple internet and print magazines. Her book SQUIRREL OF MAGIC is a collection of urban fantasy short stories. Her novels EAGLE EN GARDE and ALMOST ADEPT are parts of her ongoing sword-and-sorcery fantasy series.  In 2015, EAGLE EN GARDE won EPIC eBook Award in the Fantasy category.


How to Find Olga Godim?

Website and Blog | GoodReads | Wattpad | Twitter


Questions: Ever searched for something frantically and never found it until the moment passed, you no longer needed it and it appeared? Who’s your private hero?

Thank you for stopping in today. My Everyday Hero interview didn’t pan out this week as my attempts to contact this individual didn’t get through in time. Hopefully, my interview idea for next week comes through. And Olga, I loved your post and your definitions on Hero.

Friday Celebrations: New Story Beginnings and Author Stephanie Faris

This week, I chose to do a couple of things to lighten my heart. First of all, I joined a Celebrate the Small Things blog hop. The mission coincides with what I’m hoping to do with my own writing, inspire and focus on the light when those slippery shadows creep around our shoes. Want to sign up? Click Lexa Cain’s link to find out more.

So this week, my accomplishment is starting a new manuscript. My writing partner Becky challenged me to start a series of flash fiction pieces based off of Pinterest images for writing prompts. I turned out three really great pieces, and one of them stemmed from a really crazy nighttime dream. I don’t care too much for alien sort of stories, but my dream wouldn’t let me go. So I transformed my strange dream of outer space beings into Star People. I always have to add that fantasy sort of twist. And no, there will be no spaceships. I will leave it to those creative tech authors to provide those wonderful details. I’ll keep you posted as I continue to brainstorm my whole new world.

My second good thing I’d like to share? Piper Morgan Makes a Splash, a new Children’s book out by Stephanie Faris. I’ve only recently met this sweet lady. I love the cover art, and I think Stephanie’s smile is really great too. So happy Friday all, reflect on the good things. And yay for Friday!


Piper Morgan Makes a Splash

By Stephanie Faris



Piper Morgan tries her hand at acting in the fourth book of the charming Piper Morgan series.

Piper’s mom is helping out at a local pool shop, and the owner wants to shoot a commercial for his store. Piper thinks it’s the PERFECT opportunity to get in front of the camera and experience a little bit of showbiz. But will Piper’s contribution to the TV commercial make a splash—or will it go belly-up?


Where can you buy the book?

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound



Stephanie Faris is the author of the middle grade books 30 Days of No Gossip and 25 Roses, as well as the Piper Morgan chapter book series. An accomplished freelance writer, her work has appeared in Writer’s Digest, The Writer, Pacific Standard, Mental Floss, and The Week, among many others.
How to Find Her?
Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

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IWSG POST 19: Honest Marketing Platform Tips I Need Now


[I wrote this post as a member of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group where we share our worries and also offer support and encouragement to each other on the first Wednesday of every month. If you’re a writer like me and you’re looking for a bit of support, you can click the link and sign up here]

This month’s awesome hosts are, Christopher D. Votey, Madeline Mora-Summonte, Fundy Blue, and Chrys Fey.

Thank you so much! And thank you founder Alex J. Cavanaugh!


This month’s IWSG Post is all about time and promoting. As a busy mom of two kiddos most days, and also managing them alone quite often, I fight time on a minute-by-minute basis. Especially lately where I’ve tried to jump back into the marketing world hardcore, only to find myself struggling to dog paddle above water.

So in a spin-off on the IWSG post question this month: Have you taken advantage of the annual A to Z Challenge in terms of marketing, networking, publicity for your book? What were the results?” I choose to think about social media and time. I am insecure about it all, and how to make marketing easier. Is that possible, by the way? 🙂

Blogging every day is not a doable feat. What is doable is a quick post on tips I’m currently studying on writer platform. I haven’t started these tips yet, but by golly, I intend to.

So here goes ALL, MY QUICK AND HONEST writing tips for marketing from two sources: The Book, Create your Writer Platform by Chuck Sambuchino, and a fantastic website I stumbled across The Write Life. WOW.

According to the book, Create your Writer Platform by Chuck Sambuchino, every writer should start with a website, a blog, Facebook and Twitter accounts. I, however, am currently testing the waters of Instagram and Tumblr. Recently, I stumbled onto Quora for some reason. LOL. I have no idea how I signed up for that one, but I keep getting subscribers. 😉

  1. Sambuchino, says, start by defining who you are, your strengths and market to those strengths. Review your top trafficked blog posts for ideas to see how others connect with you.
  2. Sambuchino suggests writing short posts with pointed headlines of about 5 words. Consider catchy statements, and spinning your posts in a way to entice the reader like a cat and mouse game.
  3. Twitter and Facebook are two of his tops marketing vehicles along with Google+. Posts should gear to 10% promoting, and the rest should be filled with personality.
  4. Use links, hashtags, and always keep an interaction going by answering comments or starting conversations, and also share posts.
  5. One tip I liked from The Write Life mentioned scheduling tweets in addition to general social interaction. They suggest 3 scheduled posts a day via HootSuite, Buffer or MeetEdgar. I have yet to check these links out.
  6. Pick two platforms to focus your efforts. Post once a day and the suggestions were also Facebook and Twitter.
  7. Lastly, another tip from the website came from “Live Periscope broadcasts” of writing and brainstorming topics. I haven’t ventured into podcasts or live streaming, but maybe in the month of May, I’ll tempt something to promote Hero Lost: Mysteries of Death and Life, by visiting my dad’s farm country in the middle of Kansas. I haven’t decided if I can make the trip happen yet.

Question: What’s your favorite social media vehicle? How many posts do you make a day or week? Do you find success with scheduling posts?

Thank you.