Weekly Update – NaNoWriMo Is Almost Here!

It’s that time of year again!

Late nights writing.  Endless supply of tea (or coffee, depending on your preference).  Sticky notes with plot changes stuck all over the walls.  A perfectly crisp outline suddenly becoming a scribbled and crumpled heap as characters do their own thing.  Becoming a hermit as you attempt to write a novel.

Oh, and this all happens in a month’s time.

Yep, folks!  It’s NaNoWriMo!  

I’m coming in as a veteran of about four years, and I’ve yet to finish a novel in a month.  (Edits are too tempting for me.). But despite the lack of finishing, I will say that attempting to write a novel in a month is not only fun, but also a good way to build a habit of consistently writing.  It’s not easy to take time out of your day to write, especially when you work other jobs and have other commitments.

So as we inch closer to November 1, I’d like to wish all my fellow writers good luck at NaNoWriMo this year!  There’s going to be lots of great stories being told, and even if you don’t finish by the end of November, don’t be discouraged!  Telling a story doesn’t have to be limited by time.

Have a wonderful week!

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Weekly Update – Craft Show Fun

Over the weekend I sold some of my books at a craft show.  It’s not the typical place you see authors set up, and truth be told, some do well and some don’t.  But if you decide to try selling your books at a craft show, what should you expect?  How many books should you bring?  Is it worth the booth rental fee?

Here are some things I’ve learned after a few years of doing craft shows (selling both books and crafts.)

  1. Do your research.  Visiting a craft show during show hours or talking to current show vendors is a great way to get a feel for how the show works.  You can see if other authors vendor there, see what a typical visitor count is, and whether the booth rental will be a good fit for you or your budget.
  2. Remember that not all shows are created equal.  If you decide to vendor at a show, remember that it’s not a guarantee that you’ll sell well.  I’ve been to some big shows where I only sold one book and small shows where I sold nearly my entire stock.  Weather, other area events, and just plain luck factor in to show success as well, too.  Some shows would be successful one year and disastrous the next, and vice versa.  The point is don’t get discouraged- you never know when success will come your way.
  3. Use your time at shows to network.  Meet potential readers.  Gain a following.  Make new friends with fellow authors and vendors.  I’ve even gotten some speaking engagements booked from people I’ve met there.  Craft shows are a great way to grow your brand.

Remember – craft shows aren’t for everyone.  But if you’re up for the challenge, they’re a great way to increase sales and make your name a little more known, especially in your local area.  

And a piece of advice – don’t forget to bring some spare cash, because chances are there’s going to be a few bake sales.  😉

Weekly Update – Oops…

I’m in the final edits of Captain Patty and Veronica’s Vengeance, and I have to tell you…I’m regretting something major that I’ve done in this series.

(Incoming spoilers in case you haven’t read the first book in the Captain Patty series or are not wanting some small snippets from the upcoming book.)

So…Patrick.

Yes, Patrick.  The original Patrick Peterson and the second Captain Patty’s husband.  If you recall, there’s a small blurb about him in Book One that says he was shot and killed by Rudiger Bartleby during a pirate raid.  Patty (the wife) and baby Reuben escaped and went on to become who we know them as today- a chocolate-addicted cartographer and a sassy pre-teen with a love for all things stink pot.

But as I’ve been working on Book Three, and writing Patty’s backstory on how she met and fell in love with Patrick, I find myself saying, “Oops!”  Maybe I shouldn’t have offed Patrick so quickly before I developed his character to something more than a name.  He’s been too fun to explore and he’s brought a lot of comedy and life to the story.  Should I have really ended it so soon?

It’s one of the struggles of being an author: when do you write off a character?  Grant it, Patrick’s death leads Patty to get her own ship and keeps her and Reuben safe for a while from Bartleby, but still…when you grow to love a character so much, it’s hard to part with them.  (Believe it or not, character write-offs are sometimes just as hard for the writers as it is for the readers.)

So I guess this post serves as a giant “Oops” to my readers.  If you enjoy Patrick as much as I, I’m sorry to say he doesn’t come back (what happens in Book One can’t exactly be erased).  I do hope that, despite his appearance in only one book, you’ll enjoy his presence and contributions to the story, short as it might be.

And if people really, really, really enjoy his character, well…I guess there’s always a spin-off.  😉

Have a wonderful week!

Weekly Update – Captain Patty Hashtag Game

Remember last week when we used the old Twitter hashtag #MovieSynopsisIn5Words to describe The Ripple Affair Series?  Today, we’re going to do the same with The Adventures of Captain Patty!  Once again, book characters will be talking about what they know best – their own series!
Listed below are what some of my book characters have written for their own hashtag game: #CaptainPattySynopsisIn5Words…

Charles on Captain Patty and the Nameless Navigator

Smelly coat leads to capture.

Hammy on Captain Patty and the Boston Buccaneer

Pirate fails at singing career.

Franky on Captain Patty and the Nameless Navigator

Hamster survives; is suspected immortal.

Luc on Captain Patty and the Boston Buccaneer

Asthma and smoke?  Bad combo.

Samantha on Captain Patty and the Nameless Navigator

Girl discovers love of pants.

Bartleby on Captain Patty and the Nameless Navigator

Unbeatable captain beat by whale.

Louis on Captain Patty and the Nameless Navigator

Businessman makes parrot mortal enemy.

Reuben on Captain Patty and the Boston Buccaneer

Boy friendzoned by first love.

Patty on Captain Patty and the Nameless Navigator

Chocolate addict obliterates unstoppable fleet.

Percy on Captain Patty and the Boston Buccaneer

Boy suffers sunburning without parasol.

Happy Thanksgiving to all my Canadian readers!

Weekly Update – The Ripple Affair Series Hashtag Game

Have you ever seen trending hashtags on Twitter?  They can be awfully fun to read sometimes.  Recently, a hashtag called #MovieSynopsisIn5Words had been trending, and many took to their phones to Tweet funny phrases describing movies using only five words.  

Well, book characters can do that too!  Only this time, they’ll be talking about what they know best – The Ripple Affair Series!

Listed below are what some of my book characters have written for their own hashtag game: #RippleAffairSynopsisIn5Words.

Edward, on The Ripple Affair…

Romance novel becomes soap opera.

Waffles on Reign of Change… 

Apples contain lots of fiber. 

Emmerich on When Dreams Break…

Nice guy finally gets girl.

Bernie on Heart of Deceit…

Bernie/Marcus becomes the new ship.

King Arden on Reign of Change…

Good king makes bad dad.

Queen Maria on When Dreams Break…

Dinner party fails despite plans.

Aldaric on When Dreams Break…

Ex holds grudge for decades.

Malum on Heart of Deceit…

Boss must do everything himself.

Bohden on When Dreams Break…

Mysterious prophet covers plot holes.

Sir Rikert on The Ripple Affair…

Wise guy ignored like always.

Stay tuned for next week where the characters for The Adventures of Captain Patty do the same!

Also, thoughts and prayers for everyone affected in Las Vegas today!

Weekly Update: Encouraging Words

Hi everyone!  Sorry again for the late update.  It was a very busy weekend, and I’ve finally had a moment to take time to post.

Yesterday, while teaching Sunday school to my early elementary kids, I finished a month long lesson on friendship.  We learned a lot about what it is good friends do – forgive one another, be there for each other, etc.,  but yesterday’s lesson was one I had been looking forward to since the unit began: friends encourage one another.

Anyone knows that words can make or break us.  Like the Scriptures relate, words can build us up or tear us down, and we need to be wise with the words we use, especially when those words are aimed at other people.  I can’t be the only one who has noticed that there’s been a lot of not-so-nice words being used lately (especially on social media), so with my Sunday school kids, I wanted to make sure they learned how they could use their words to encourage.

First, we learned about the story of Job and how his friends responded to all the bad things he went through.  If you know the story, you know that in the long run, Job’s friends weren’t the most encouraging.  They said some pretty mean things, even so far as blaming Job for not loving God enough or secretly sinning to cause so much heartache in his life.  Now we know, in the story, that Job was completely innocent and God blessed him double in the end after he had went through everything, but (as I asked the kids), could you imagine how Job felt hearing his friends’ discouragement?  How did those unkind words effect him, and what could’ve been said instead to make him feel more encouraged?

After our story, we went back to our tables and decided to do a special project.  This was going to exercise the kids’ abilities to think of kind words for their fellow classmates as well as give them some extra practice with using kind words to encourage.

First, they chose a piece of construction paper with their favorite color.

Next, they were given a cut out of a circle where they had to write their name on it.  After they wrote their name, they glued it on the center of the construction paper.

Next, we listed some kind words on the dry erase board that could be used to describe someone.  Examples include “kind”, “funny”, “loves God”, “loyal”, “true”, “honest”, “brave”, etc.  

After that, I handed out more blank circles, and then we went around the room.  I pointed to the child in the first seat and instructed the kids to write down a kind word that described that child.  They could use a word from the board or they could come up with their own (one of the kids wrote “cool” as an example.). 

When they were done writing their word, they were instructed to hold up their circle for me to collect. After I collected the circles, I gave them to the child we talked about.  That child would then glue the circles on their paper and decorate it.

We repeated those steps until we said encouraging words about everyone in the room.

You can see an example of the one I made for myself before class here in case you want to know what the project looks like:


What I enjoyed about this project wasn’t so much the fact that the kids got to practice using kind words (to be honest, they already knew a lot about kind words to begin with), but the reaction they had when seeing what kind things others had to say about them.  It was priceless!  There were smiles all around the room, and some even mentioned how glad they were to hear such kind things said about them as they had heard some mean comments from classmates at school.

The project was a huge reminder at the power of our words and just how important encouraging can be.   How can you be an encouragement to those in need today?

Weekly Update – You Mean Book Characters Aren’t Real???

Apologies for the late post, friends!  It was a busy weekend and I’m finally able to post!

A while back ago, I made the comment that I tended to know my book characters better than real people.  I meant it as a joke, of course, because as a writer, it’s part of my job creating, developing, and getting to know these characters from beginning to end.  But some of the reactions I got were quite comical, as some thought it meant I really, truly was being isolated from real people!

I had to explain that it was a writer joke, and we all had some good laughs over it, but the truth is there is a special bond that develops between a writer (or even a reader, in many cases) and a book character.  We see what’s inside their head, we learn what makes them happy or sad, we witness their proudest accomplishments and greatest defeats.  And though we know (deep down inside) that fiction book characters aren’t real (unless we’re dealing with historical fiction, lol), we still develop a great love, loyalty, and understanding between them, often similarly like we do with real people.

Though I can’t speak for others, I find myself rejoicing in the fact that I have such a great “relationship” with my characters.  Like real people, I learn about myself and others through my interactions with them.  And though I can’t replace real people with them (as much as I’d love to get a hug from Marcus Peterson, it’s just not going to happen…*cries*), I can still be swept away on incredible journeys and exciting escapes with every page.

I have fun with my friends and I have fun with my book characters, and I’m happy to say that both have made me into who I am today.  Who are some characters that have made a big impact on your life?