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When Your Time is Tied to Production

 

Since I’m not over here banging out my usual 2000K words a day¬†I have taken to writing a lot of poetry. It’s been pretty therapueutic and it’s quick as heck to push out. I never really think of the writing process as something difficult until editors get involved, lol. They want to make everything so polished so people can read things comprehensively and all that jazz. ūüôā

Luckily we have a nice publishing team here and the editors do their do diligence, Brooklyn and I look over the content, make changes and send it on back to the editing department. It’s nice having a division of editors that work with you so closely and understand your voice.

A lot of people say write and publish, write and publish but that doesn’t work well for fiction. It’s more like, write and edit, write and edit and then stockpile before you publish so you make sure there is a consistent stream of content or in this case, books for the readers to consume and you’re not pressured by the idea of a looming deadline (which tends to UNinspire creatives…that type of pressure) and THEN publish. It’s so much more effective.

Also we know the last thing we need is more stress. Stress causes belly fat and I’m not about that life.

Welp I’m off with The Kid now so I have to go. Be back soon.

-jaha

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Taking on a Writing Partner

Since I have so little time now-a-days to write my novels I am taking on a writing partner. She will be all over the blog here too as we are combining our efforts to build our platform. Her name is Brooklyn and we’ve been rocking with each other for a while! YAY! I have to go ahead and create a profile on here for her to welcome her to the Drama Queen Books side of thangs. I will create the outlines of the work and she will write them. It’s the perfect publishing team.

That way the percentage of books will increase because I’m behind the scenes orchestrating and she is out in front getting the work done. Le sigh. I am so happy about this you all…kinda over the moon about it. My editor was getting worried because I’m not pushing out the kind of volume that I did in 2012. I don’t even know what happened to 2013, with writing. I almost want to call it the lost year. I wrote things but they almost never came to completion. That’s what happens when you’re building a new business brick-by-brick.

I hope you all are fulfilling your dreams and making things happen the way you want them to, just as I am.

Until the next post, live & love soulfully.

– jaha

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Lessons I learned From Publishing Fiction (pt. 2)

  1. Amazon & Google Play – It’s easy to get into these stores directly. ¬†You don’t need an ISBN number for those properties, but when you don’t have an ISBN number, it makes tracking your sales for that property difficult. ¬†I personally prefer having them because it gives proper credit to my publishing company, Karasi Media Group and I don’t have to worry about someone trying to claim my book as their own (also what a copyright is for and I suggest getting that done as well.) 10 ISBNs are about $250 and 100 are $575. In some countries the ISBN number is free‚Ķ.sometimes I wish I lived in those countries just for that purpose, lol.
  2. Copyrights – A copyright is automatically applied to anything you write but to officially say, yeah this is my work if there’s a legal debate–it’s best that you just go on and get that done. ¬†It’s $35 if you send it in online and that’s a small price to pay to retain your legal right to your own work.
  3. Editing – Critical. ¬†I’ve had three different editors over the course of the seven books I wrote last year. ¬†Each one had their own strengths, but it’s best to find an editor that can do what you need done period.
  4. Read your book like a reader after you finish making your edits. ¬†Don’t read it as the author. ¬†See if you enjoy the story–if not, put the story down and walk away for a while until you can figure out how to fix it. ¬†I’m not an advocate of throwing words away, but I can see the reason for it (recently ran into a snarl with one of my new titles and I’m considering trashing those words.)
  5. Cover design– I know some people think they can do it themselves. ¬†I can do my covers myself and sometimes I get tired of that. ¬†However, due to the cost prohibitive rates charged by a lot of cover designers, it looks like I’ll be designing my covers for a long time to come. ¬†For those of you that aren’t designers–please get a cover designer. ¬†I look at some author covers and I cringe. ¬†Someone is out there that will fit your budget, always.
  6. iTunes, Kobo and B&N – I’ve used both Smashwords and D2D. ¬†Some authors don’t want to use D2D but honestly, it’s the fastest turnaround I’ve seen to get into those three distributors. ¬†Yes you can go direct with B&N because they have a publishers store but for some reason I signed up twice and forgot my previously entered information. ¬†So if you’re as absent minded as I am and have that problem, there is an alternative. ¬†SL SerialYou can also go direct with Kobo and iTunes. ¬†Kobo has a beautiful interface, but because the company is Canadian (I think) they ask for some kind of wire bank info and I could never figure that part of it out to make it work. ¬†So there is a reason for D2D. ¬†I haven’t even tried to broach the ¬†maze that I hear iTunes has–don’t need the hassle. Smashwords takes FOREVER to send your titles to the stores they aggregate to but D2D doesn’t.
  7. Reviews-They push you up the Amazon ecosystem as do sales. ¬†You won’t make sales without reviews unless it’s friends and family. ¬†The same friends and family won’t review your books, lol. ¬†Some of them may with enough harassment but generally they don’t realize how important it is to have reviews. ¬† Don’t respond to reviews, no matter how asinine and immature, childish or petty they are. ¬†It will make you look the same. ¬†If you do review someone’s book–no spoilers. ¬†Seriously. ¬†It ruins sales for the writer and they spent a lot of time on that book. ¬†I know in your enthusiasm, you may not realize that’s what you’re doing but it is and the next reader will probably read the reviews before purchasing the book. ¬†Your spoiler just ruined the read. ¬†You must seek out reviews in any way you can and you will figure out your way of doing that. ¬†I sent out 30 ARCs (Advanced Review Copies) for Soulphisticated Ladies Episode 1 (which is free on all platforms) and I have 9 reviews. ¬†I think 2 of those came from the ARCs I sent out. ¬†Thank you to those reviewers that did go through and review the book. ¬†Reviews are important as well because some sites won’t let you advertise if you don’t have a certain number of reviews on your book. ¬†Those numbers vary per site.
  8. Disclaimers– I don’t know when readers became so dependent on disclaimers but I am so not a fan of them. ¬†I do know things like prescription drugs and food need to have the ingredients spelled out on the packaging so you know what’s inside, but a book? ¬†I’ve never gone into a library or a book store and had a disclaimer on a book. ¬†I’ve done the only other reasonable adult thing–if I don’t like it, I stop reading it. ¬†The book isn’t going to come after you and demand you open it and read. ¬†But in this digital age, apparently disclaimers are needed. I don’t think disclaimers are even used on the news and it has the most heinous crimes announced with details there. Go figure. ¬†But I do recall there being disclaimers on Scandal (which returns from winter break on February 27th! ¬†WOOP WOOP! The Scandal Podcast returns on 2/28.)
  9. Study your craft– For years, I’ve been a voracious reader. ¬†The Kid is so used to me listening to a book on cd as we travel and do errands, that she asks me what she missed while she was out of the car. ¬†We discuss books and plots at my house. ¬†The Kid also has a couple books that will be released this year and I’ve written descriptively for as long as I can remember. ¬†I also take note of what I like and what I don’t when I read. ¬†I’ve long said one of the reasons I do the Scandal Podcast and structure the discussions more around plot and what is going to happen next is because I dissect the show in a way because of the way it’s written. ¬†That’s why I wrote Soulphisticated Ladies the way I did. ¬†Shonda Rhimes’ work influenced me as well as the cut ins and cut outs of soap opera scenes. ¬†If a soap opera is drama, Scandal is high octane drama and I wrote Soulphisticated Ladies to be high octane drama as well.
  10. Know when enough is enough – Know yourself. ¬† Know what will block you from writing, remove your excuses and get to it. ¬†Every writer can write EVERY day. ¬†Saying you can’t is an excuse. ¬†The more you write the better you are at writing. ¬†I like to tune out of social media when I’m writing a book (which is difficult when you maintain and promote a blog at the same time). But as much as I can, I do. I DVR most tv shows that I want to watch and I have scheduled times for breaks. ¬†It is all reasonable when you’re delving into your world to create characters and situations that are relatable or fantasy.
  11. Write the next book РEvery indie author I know says the best marketing for your book is to write another book.  Readers that are real fans will read all of your work or readers that are fans of one work will come back and read the next season/book in a series.  They want you to write it so get to it.

So those are a few of the lessons learned during my fiction publishing journey.  Soulphisticated Ladies Episode 1 is free on all retailers.

¬†5.0 out of 5 stars¬†And this is just episode 1, WHAT!!!¬†¬†Are you serious? Jaha Knight’s Soulphisticated Ladies: Episode 1 will leave you begging for more. Props to you Jaha, I was glued to this book from page one and begging for more at the end. Please hurry and publish the second episode.This novel brings it with a capital “B.” It has drama, comedy, romance,action you name it is in here. The characters that make up the Soulphisticated Ladies are for the most part strong black women. Strong in their careers but the novel would be an eye catcher without a little conflict. These ladies test of friendship stands up to domestic violence, work abuse, emotional abuse, adultery and more.¬†Whew this book, will not let you down trust me on that!¬†
The full Season’s links are also on the link for the free episode. ¬†Check it out and tell me what you think.
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Lessons Learned From Publishing Fiction

In November, I released my serial novel, Soulphisticated Ladies. ¬†It is a departure from what I wrote previously (non-fiction). ¬†I wanted to write about women who are just like me and my friends¬†at varied points in our lives. ¬†I didn’t expect it to not be well received but I also didn’t anticipate the success that has come my way from it. ¬†By the end of December, I released the whole season and I received some reviews. ¬†I was excited and still am. ¬†Early in January I rose to the #1 spot on Amazon’s African American Romance list and stayed there for a few days before sliding back down again. ¬†Selah, Moria, Vashti and Gennifer’s stories have resonated with readers and has made me a proud mama writer. ¬†Here are a few of the reviews from the full season.

5.0 out of 5 stars¬†OMG Moments! ¬†It was so full of drama that I ended up reading all 352 pages in one day. It also wasted no time getting to the “OMG moments”. It’s fast paced, without a dull moment. Because of this book I am seriously considering starting a book club. It has everything I want and need to keep my attention: Adult talk, circumstances, death and racy scenes, I was taken on an emotional roller coaster.

5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome  This book showed you loyalty among women that is so rare. The bond that these women shared was amazing. The drama is enough to keep you glued to your spot. You will not be disappointed. I cannot wait for season 2.
I thought this would be a great post because it can shed some light on the do’s and don’ts when it comes to publishing a novel that is clearly near and dear to your heart. ¬†After all, you’ve spent months fine tuning it and getting it ready for public consumption. ¬†You’ve also poured hard work into the plot lines and spent more time with your characters than anyone else. ¬†So much so that to put it out in the world can cause feelings of anxiety and stress.Lessons Learned From Publishing Fiction

You want everyone to love it.

First, everyone will not love your book–no matter how hard you’ve worked at it. ¬†Some plot lines will have readers upset and some characters will make them hate your book. Your job is, however to evoke emotion. ¬† At least that is what I consider my job to be. ¬†Soulphisticated Ladies is based on my spoken word pieces – the spoken word pieces are based on my life. ¬†Didn’t know that about me, did you? ¬†I’ve been writing poetry since high school and when I was in my late twenties, I decided that creating art that no one ever saw was purposeless. ¬†That’s when I overcame the first blush of fear that I wasn’t good enough to share my art with the world and did it anyway. ¬†
I wasn’t great at public speaking–I was scared to death every single time I crossed a stage but I studied other performers and saw what they did, then I made up my mind about what I wanted to do–I wanted and still do want, to make people feel. ¬†So I wrote my poetry based on that premise, my life stories in a 3 minute snapshot.
4.0 out of 5 stars¬†Kept me wanting more!¬†The plot lines in this series kept me intrigued. The relationships between the women were empowering. Very relatable stories of sisterhood, lies, betrayal, murder… Can’t wait for more!!!
I realized the power of words and creating connections when I performed; the audience reaction was amazing. ¬†To see someone tear up about my situations that I thought were mine alone or have people come up to me when I left the stage and say, I feel you girl that is exactly what I went through. In those three minutes, they were connected to me, my experience was a shared human experience. ¬†It was a healing for me and for others and I wasn’t so afraid of sharing anymore. ¬†How else does art heal the world? ¬†It has to be shared.
So when I pushed the publish button on the first episode of this four part serialized drama that is in large part, a fictionalized version of my life, was I afraid?  Heck yeah!  Was I worried about the crowd (reader) reactions?  Yes.  But I let the chips fall where they would, it was out and not hiding on my computer anymore.
After the second season is released later this year, there will be two spin off series from Soulphisticated Ladies (series not serials).  Also, the romance series I am working on this quarter will lead back to Soulphisticated Ladies in a way.  It is now my flagship serial and I want most of the worlds I create to lead back to it.

I generally like to post things and talk about the lessons I learned in the process so on part 2, I will give you the more actionable tips on writing a novel.

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I didn’t expect it to feel this good

I didn't think it would feel so good It was never really important to me to see my books in print. ¬†Getting the words on the page and out into the world was more prevalent. ¬†Having a great cover, plot, dialogue, characters and edited work were primary goals in my creative process. Then came distribution. ¬†Amazon was easy peasy, right out of Scrivener came a beautifully formatted mobi file. ¬†The Smashwords conversion to get into iTunes drove me batty. ¬†But before I totally threw in the towel, I found a diamond resource that helped me to convert my manuscript into a Smashwords-friendly document with none of the cursed autovetter errors. ¬†It was nirvana when it converted with zero errors for the premium catalog. ¬†That means my book will be on iTunes, B&N, Kobo, etc. all very soon. I figured out a marketing plan; because let’s face it, I’ve been slapping up books on Amazon and expecting folks to just ‘discover’ me in a sea of millions of books. ¬†I know that’s delusional and slightly self-sabotaging so there needed to be some sort of marketing plan with my novel release. ¬†When I began blogging, I studied and learned what I needed to do to gain traction with a blog; that took about 8 months. ¬†So I needed to study the tools authors use to gain readership of their books. ¬†This is a continual life study due to the constant in self-publishing–change.

I took a GoodReads Course on Udemy. ¬†In the course I learned a ton about how to use GoodReads as an author and one of the gems that came out of that was–you have to have print copies of your books. ¬†There are more than a few reasons why they give this advice: ¬†

  • Marketing and promotion purposes –¬†Hand selling an e-book has to be really difficult, lol. But seriously, to send signed copies out to fans to pass along to other readers who may not have discovered you yet is a great opportunity. ¬†You can create giveaways and gift your book to your biggest fans.
  • Print copies cause a mind shift in the consumer – ¬†No longer are you “just” a self-published author but you also have a physical book. ¬†When comparing your e-book price to your print book price, it can motivate the consumer to purchase either or according to their preference. ¬†It gives your book more perceived value. ¬†(Imagine what it’ll do when you add an audio version!)
  • Legitimacy to family and friends – I am not a big fan of creating things so others can see you in their idea of success but the print copy does create legitimacy with your family and friends. ¬†You can tell some folks that you’re an author until you’re blue in the face. ¬†It will amount to nothing unless they actually see the print version of your book. ¬†I didn’t get that until my brother said, “You’re a real author now,” after I shared the video and snapshot of The Kid holding it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sYE3Zjzydxo

What I did to get it into print:

  • Layout – It wasn’t hard, I layout print catalogs and magazines, ads, etc. (you know that whole graphic design thing) for a living. I laid out the interior of the book using Adobe Indesign.
  • Created some master pages with a left header on one side (Author name) and on the right header, name of the book. ¬†Then at the bottom of the pages, I put the page numbers. ¬†Once you set up the master pages, along with a set of blank master pages with numbered footers (you don’t want to have the headers on EVERY page) I was done with that part.
  • I exported a Word file from Scrivener and used that file to place into Indesign to layout the contents.
  • ¬†I printed a hard copy to review the interior for formatting issues (excessive hyphens at the ends of lines, awkward line breaks, etc.), made those changes
  • I already have a block of ISBNs but I bought a barcode from Bowker for $25 with the hopes of one day selling enough copies to have a retailer pick me up to sell my books. When they do, my trusty ISBN is embedded in the barcode.
  • When I designed my covers (which I usually do around the time I have an idea for a book) I create them for print and then change them for online sizing and format. ¬†I also do them all at once so I maintain unity in the design of my branding for the series and my author branding. ¬†But at that time, I didn’t have a back cover design so I took some time to create that. ¬†It will be pretty uniform throughout the series now that I have a layout for that.
  • Once all of that was done, I sent it to CreateSpace and looked over my proof copy. ¬†CreateSpace will send you a physical proof copy (which I recommend) but since I know what I’m doing, I didn’t get one. ¬†I just wanted my book printed and sent on over. ¬†It arrived and I feel really good about it. ¬†The layout had one minor hiccup but it can easily be overlooked as its not a big deal. ¬†As the author of the work, you can purchase your print novel wholesale from CreateSpace. ¬†It’s wonderful.

 

Soulphisticated Ladies Episode 1, Season 1 is now on Amazon and Smashwords until it goes to the other readers, (e.g. iTunes, Kobo, B&N, Sony). 

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I Don’t Believe in Writer’s Block

I don't believe in writer's blockWhen you’re writing a couple different book serials at the same time it can become challenging to create scenarios that move your book forward. ¬†Especially a book like The Sisters and The Soulphisticated Ladies. ¬†I am challenged often not to allow one set of ideas to spill over into the other.

But for a while I had writer’s block.

And it was extremely odd because I don’t believe in writer’s block.

You can write your way out of any situation, right?¬†So I sat down and thought about the scenes I had to write for each and came up with this “WWWWWH” Exercise.

I pulled from something I’ve used before for outlining

It wasn’t rocket science, I learned it in high school but I thought it was interesting that in a fit of writer’s block (a month) I went back to something I didn’t even know I kept in my memory banks. ¬†(It has been a few *cough* years since high school).

It’s the Who, What, When, Where, Why and How exercise. ¬†As I plotted out Book 3 for Soulphisticated Ladies (because that was the one that was kicking up a fuss for the last month) I interviewed my inner characters to see where they wanted to go in this book. ¬†It was a great exercise and a challenge.

  • First, I was mad at them because writing this book shouldn’t have taken this long but I had to put aside my differences for the good of completing the season.
  • I was also upset with myself for allowing it to go this long without me staying on task and on schedule. ¬†I believe I may have been burnt out with so many projects going on over the summer but no excuses.

I coaxed my characters’ stubborn butts out and got to work. ¬†It took a few hours but when I was done, I had a great outline with enough tendrils (the dangling plot lines) left over for Book 4.

Stop Being Lazy & Full of Excuses

Normally my way of powering through writers block is to keep writing but it seemed there was never time to write. ¬†I let every excuse in the world come between me and that Scrivener file. ¬†But now I’m back on my grind. ¬†As easy as it was previously to write fiction and challenging to write non-fiction, now I find it to be the exact opposite. I’m challenged more writing fiction than I used to be and when I sit down to blog, words pour from my fingers as if they were waiting to come out and eager for a fresh post.

Toggling Between Non-Fiction and Fiction : A Dance of a Thousand Groans

Hopefully as time goes on it will be easier to toggle back and forth between writing fiction and blogging and I will dance on that day so you will probably see a random meme here doing the butterfly off beat as I dance to something in my living room that makes my soul smile.

So the writing is going along and the book is coming soon.  Hopefully I can keep my word count up and finish it in two weeks.  I look forward to sharing all of these adventures with you all and you can use the WWWWWH exercise anytime you find yourself blocked or challenged with putting words on the page.

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Have you ever had writer’s block? ¬†What did you do to shake out of it?

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*Sneak Peek* The Soulphisticated Ladies Novel

Chapter One | Scene One

‚ÄúEvery man dies, but not every man lives.‚Ä̬† – William Wallace

He loves the way I ride it, was blaring from the club’s speakers.¬† Jacinta stood on the side of the stage watching the stripper gyrate and concentrate on moving her butt cheeks singularly back and forth until several men eagerly threw bills on the stage.¬† Her head facing the crowd, the stripper licked lips that were already glistening under the lights.¬† They were plump and soft pink with a hint shimmer.¬† Long red ringlets framed her face and dripped over her shoulders.¬† The thin fabric peeking from between her rounded butt cheeks contrasted starkly with the airy material that covered her torso. ¬† The men were in a stupor, mouths slightly agape as they watched her wiggle and alternately bounce to the music while bent at the waist, lightly caressing her calves¬† and ankles.

Cin looked around her, the club was filled with men on a Tuesday afternoon. She smirked a little at how easily men could be distracted.  She knew how to use that excitement to her benefit, though.  As the music throbbed around them, bass heavy mixed in with the sound of drinks being poured, she took in the smell of overworked pussies and horny male sweat.  Strawberry Dazzle was working the stage to Ciara’s song. The room was filled with scantily clad women smiling into the faces of sexually excited men, money dangling from their hands.

She nodded to Ricardo in the corner.  Her brother was six foot two and built like a linebacker.  He leaned over and spoke into the ear of a bartender. Cupping the champagne, he brought it over to her group presenting it with a flourish.  She winked at him, her smile a thank you.  No one other than her family knew she owned this club.  Five of her siblings worked here, in different capacities, but none of them worked the stage.

Jacinta popped the cork, her attention refocusing on Mr. Martinotti, the pudgy, sweaty man in front of her and the president of  Steak & Shoes.

She began speaking loudly over the music, breaking the group’s entranced reverie, “Mr. M, with this new marketing campaign, we can increase your sales by 79% within the first quarter, to be followed each successive quarter with a 65% retention plan to create customer loyalty and buy in.¬† We will be rolling out the first commercial during the Superbowl. ¬† Then we will follow that up with a social media campaign involving the fashion blogs.¬† It will feature models and their men to showcasing your shoes.”

Pouring them both a glass of the bubbly liquid, Cin handed it to Mr. Martinotti, her fingers lingering suggestively on his as she handed him the glass.  His glazed eyes widened slightly but he returned her smile.  He really did look like a chubby angel, Cin thought.  His blonde hair was wispy and thin on the top, the curly tufts silky and short.  His stomach protruded from his crisply starched white shirt and dark trousers were strained around the crotch area.  His eyes, a startling blue were unfocused and dreamy.  She wondered how someone who seemed this innocent could become the president of such a financial empire.  He didn’t have a sharp bone in his soft, doughy body.

‚ÄúWell, that sounds absolutely great, Ms. Cruz.¬† We knew The Alanis Agency would provide us with the marketing campaign need to launch our newly acquired venture.‚ÄĚ

He turned to Robert,¬† his second in command and said, ‚ÄúRobert get the details from Ms. Cruz.‚ÄĚ

Jacinta looked at Robert, whose glasses were now in the teeth of a Stacey Dash look alike, his hair ruffled and his conservative tie now sitting comfortably in her cleavage.

‚ÄúYes, sir,‚ÄĚ Robert said voice muffled by his own tie.

‚ÄúI will get your copy from my car,‚ÄĚ Cin said. She stepped away from the group and stood near the wall in the back to watch Maxim.

Cin was giddy inside.  She allowed herself a small victory arm pump.  This was going very well.  Two weeks ago, she called and rearranged the pitch schedule for Steak & Shoes to a day prior after getting her hands on Team Devine’s marketing campaign.  This was too delicious to be believed.  Selah had no idea Mr. Martinotti was in town and when she found out, she’d quake in her stilettos.  Cin was excited that her plan was in motion.

With her prompting, Maxim brought the whole¬† team to Jocelyn‚Äôs upscale gentleman’s club to pitch this marketing campaign. He was in the corner getting a lap dance from the newest dancer in her crop.¬† A blonde Russian named Juliette.

Cin loved it when another woman turned him on. It made her time with him that much hotter.¬† As Juliette ground her butt into Maxim‚Äôs crotch, Cin began to wiggle seductively.¬† His eyes on Jacinta, he cupped Juliette‚Äôs breasts in his large hands.¬† Jacinta bit her lip and rolled the glass of champagne between her own.¬† Maxim massaged Juliette‚Äôs breasts‚ÄĒeyes devouring Jacinta.¬† She lifted her skirt a little, subtly shifting her legs while flashing him her thin silver garter.¬† Maxim slipped his hands down Juliette‚Äôs back and to her waist.¬† He helped her grind into him, bucking into her in time to the rhythm she set.¬† Cin felt herself go moist.¬† She tipped the glass to her lips and swallowed the liquid hard.

Placing the glass on the bar, she walked slowly to the door going to her car to retrieve the pitch for Robert.

Maxim tipped Juliette and followed Jacinta outside.  She was in her Mercedes, apple bottom in the air digging for the proposal.  Her attention was firmly fixed on finding all of the components of the proposal to give to Robert.

‚ÄúHow is the pitch going, Cin?‚Ä̬† Maxim asked striding towards her.¬† His long lean body was a total contrast to Mr. Martinotti‚Äôs soft, round form.¬† His broad shoulders were encased in a well tailored suit. Sandy brown, shoulder length hair blew gently across his fully manicured beard and mustache.¬† Maxim exuded sex.¬† He was her boss but had also been her lover since she began working at the Alanis Agency a little over a year ago.¬† Coming in behind her, he began rubbing himself against her protruding buttocks.

She moaned a little and closed her eyes.¬† He was her one weakness, this man.¬† Grabbing all of the information quickly, Cin pulled herself together.¬† Slipping from the car she said admonishingly, ‚ÄúMaxim the pitch is going very well.¬† This is business so we are going to have to save anything else for later.‚ÄĚ

He slid his finger down the side of her face, charming her instantly.  It was a flashback moment to their first time in his office at The Alanis Agency.

‚ÄúYou know I am all about my business,‚ÄĚ he said, voice rumbling like thunder in his chest, ‚Äúbut you have me sufficiently distracted.¬† You send me a sexy Russian blonde and then you tease me with what you‚Äôre wearing under this very professional skirt and jacket.¬† How do you expect me to stay focused?¬† Don‚Äôt you want to sin with me?‚ÄĚ

Jacinta tilted her face into his caress, she knew this would happen and she welcomed it.  That’s why she’d parked at the back of the lot in a secluded area.  His Escalade and Mr. Martinotti’s stretch Hummer limo flanked her small car on either side. But she was conflicted, she needed to get back inside to hand off the proposal to Robert.

This coup was important to her.  She wanted Maxim to recognize her as a professional dynamo.  After all, he was grooming her to be more ruthless and she thought she knew why.  He wanted a partner in his bed and in his business and she was more than willing to fill that role.

Cin tossed her head at Maxim, gracefully exposing her neck and accepting his challenge.  He kissed her behind her ear, smoothing back her long, inky black hair.  Placing his hands on her hips, and with fingers over his, she slowly began lifting her skirt to give him a full view of the silver garters.

He sucked in his breath as she paused then¬†kept lifting the skirt…

 

Check out the Soulphisticated Ladies Novel Trailer. | Purchase Episode 1 | Purchase Season 1 

 

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4 Reasons that Compel Me to Write my Books Using Scrivener

4 Reasons that Compel Me to Write My Books Using ScrivenerScrivener is the fantastic tool that I use to write my books. ¬†It allows me to focus everything about that story into one location and I can quickly find the information I need while I’m writing.
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Reason number 1 – Outlining

The outline can be created right within the program. ¬†Who doesn’t like that? ¬†I enjoy being able to access this all in one place without it¬†interfering with the story when I want to export it to pdf to send it to my readers. ¬†I don’t want them to know what’s going to happen next, I want them to take the journey. ¬†The outline can look like story beats or you can have it look like a traditional outline.

Scrivener for Windows
I am an affiliate of this product, however I use it and feel comfortable recommending it to you because it truly is an amazing way to write your book, screenplay, technical articles, etc. Anything that requires research and writing.
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Reason number 2 – Editing

Editing mode allows me to see what I have to change quickly by changing the color of the words, which you can also do in a word document, but word doesn’t format the book the way you want it to with all the coding need when exporting. ¬†I actually started writing my book using Google Drive because I could access it everywhere. ¬†It was cumbersome. ¬†So while listening to the Self Publishing Podcast, they told the audience about a tool that I find invaluable. ¬†Buy Scrivener for Windows (Regular Licence)
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Reason number 3 – Templates

There are several templates that come with Scrivener and you can create your own as well for characters, scenes, locations and you have an area to store research for the book. ¬†This is extremely helpful, not spread out all over the place and pretty centrally located so you don’t have to open a million files that you have to find in a folder outside of the program, disrupting the flow of writing. ¬†This is the ultimate convenience. ¬†So Scrivener should add one more adjective to their slogan of : “Outline, edit, storyboard, write” ¬†they should add “convenient”. ¬†It is seriously convenient. ¬†Some of this stuff I didn’t even think about when I began my initial outline. ¬†As a new author, it helped me focus on my story and how I was writing it. ¬†This is one of the most compelling reasons of all to use Scrivener.
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Reason no. 4 – Characters In The File

I try to spend a lot of time with my characters when I develop them but sometimes it’s a challenge to remember who everyone is or what their personalities are like. ¬†One of the reasons I love Scrivener is for the character sheets. ¬†I fully fleshed out my characters. ¬†I went from having one paragraph in Google Drive to having motivations behind the reasons they did things and mannerisms and small details that help flesh out a person. ¬†It was awesome.

Scrivener for Windows

Bonus reason 4.5 – Compile

So since I have talked about a few (and I do mean only a few) of the features of Scrivener and the benefits you will receive while using it. ¬†Compile optionsLet me highlight the two most important features. ¬†When all the writing is done and you need to put your work ‘out there’ for the world to see-Scrivener compiles it in SEVERAL different formats. ¬† My books are primarily digital but you can compile it as a .pdf file as well with the headers, footers, and numbering options designed to your taste. ¬†The way you want to format your book.

You can purchase Scrivener for Mac or PC.  The price is extremely affordable (less than $50 at this posting.)


 

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8 Ways to stay fresh during your writing process

I have been writing two books since January 2013, but I’ve been writing poetry for over fifteen years. It’s a different medium when you’re writing poetry/fiction/non-fiction. Toggling between the three really requires that you refocus and get into the spirit of what you’re writing. They are all different genres but ultimately you want your writing and the story you’re telling to connect with your readers. Here are 8 ways I stay fresh while writing a story.

Inspiration

1. Listening to the characters

I spent a great amount of time creating my characters. I name them like they are my children. I want their names to reflect a part of the character’s personality. No one in any of my books has a random name (e.g. I have a character named Thorne what do you think his personality is like?) During the writing process I often find myself typing with my eyes closed so that I can see the characters in motion and I’m just an observer describing the scenes to the readers. It’s an approach that works well for me.

2. Coming up with interesting plot lines

In the serial novels, I’m writing there is high drama and it’s fast paced. With each book in the series, I focus on two of the main characters and I wrap up the drama from the book before in the next book (sometimes). It’s a great formulaic process that allows me to outline the books and chapters to get the characters to go where I want them to go. I watch soap operas and listen to books on cd. I take nuggets from the writer’s that are putting on these productions. I listen to the writing and I jot down scenarios that would possibly work well in other books or in the series at a different time.

3. Using writing prompts

I have been using The Write Prompts site and that add dimensions to my characters and story. It helps the story move along and definitely clears me of writer’s block. ¬†Here’s another set of prompts that can help you get some good blog posts out.

4. Conversations with other creatives

The conversations I have with other creative individuals also shake divergent tactics out of my brain. I have a screen writer friend and when I get stuck on plot, I call him. We talk over things until I figure out a good fit for the character that’s giving me trouble. You’d be amazed at how good it feels to be a part of creative energy.

Buy Scrivener for Windows (Regular Licence)
I write using Scrivener, I highly recommend it, it has helped me stay focused while writing my stories. I am an affiliate of this product.

5. People watching (Uh, but not like a stalker because I’m stealth with it…ok well stalkers are stealth too)

I go to Starbucks or Barnes & Noble and I eavesdrop on conversations and watch people’s interactions. All behind a book of course (stop giggling,…they think I’m reading) but you’d be surprised at how easy it is to gauge dynamics between a group of people by listening to their dialogue. I’ve gotten great nuggets and phrases for my characters from those people watching sessions.

6. Listening to the readers

I have some trusted readers that go through the book before I send it to the editor. They give me tips on how to Kindle e-readerengage the characters that I haven’t thought about as the story goes along. I send them three chunks at a time to read through so that before I continue with the story I can get real feedback. Writing a book shouldn’t be done in the dark, you should have a reader to listen to where you’re at with the story. That’s when the story will resonate the most with the person reading it.

7. Quiet and Music

I have to write in silence with the door closed and my eyes closed on some days. On others I listen to mood music to get into the theme of the scene. Especially if it’s a difficult action filled scene.

8. Don’t Force It

If I’m stuck in a chapter, I skip to the next chapter so I can possibly resolve what’s going on in the chapter I’m stuck on. I don’t like being unproductive when I’m writing. Writer’s block ¬†is a huge enemy of mine–he and I don’t get along.

What is it that you do to further your writing process? How do you broaden your character’s voices? Jaha Knight Signature [hr]

 

 

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Self Publishing My Book

Self Publishing Just Start WritingSo I made a decision to write a book. ¬†It was one of the most exhilarating tasks I’d ever embarked upon. ¬†I didn’t think I would get it done and procrastinated on it for a while. ¬†It really was like birthing a baby. ¬†I named all of my characters meaningful names (well at least meaningful to me)¬†created scenes, listened to podcasts and went to work.

What do you mean listened to some podcasts?

Inspiration and community. ¬†I needed some inspiration so I could figure out all of the logistics of writing one story, never mind the few I had stuck in my head. So I started listening to a few writing podcasts and finally fell into one that talked about writing in a conversational tone, making their marketing and writing concepts easy to follow and most importantly–not boring. ¬†It is riddled with curse words and pre-pubescent humor (although they’re grown men) but it helps because I don’t feel like driving my car off of a road while listening.

This resource is the Self Publishing Podcast.

Johnny, Sean and Dave made me laugh and made learning about the process of writing interesting. ¬†Did I sometimes wish they would just give me the information? ¬†Yes, ¬†but I ultimately went on to learn more and they made a subject that may not have seemed that interesting initially more than compelling by the time the episodes were over. ¬†I figured out the projects I want to work on and how I want to go about them. ¬†Self publishing seemed like the optimal opportunity for me to get my words out to an audience that would be interested in hearing them. They weren’t the only resource, I read Chapter after Chapter by Heather Sellers¬†a few years ago but it didn’t "Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing," - Benjamin Franklinreally make me take action. ¬†Listening to the Self Publishing Podcast didn’t make me take action either. ¬†It wasn’t until I read a post by one of the three guys from the Podcast that said, just start writing.

Just start writing

That was the big advice I’d been waiting on, the one thing that triggered my brain into acting. ¬†Three words. ¬†And I wrote, and wrote and shared the story with a few people so they could give me honest feedback on what I was writing. ¬†I have come to learn that they are called, Alpha¬†Readers. ¬†They loved some of my characters and hated some and I’m super excited for the release date for the serial that I’ve written. ¬†It was something my alpha¬†readers enjoyed so much that I’d contact them for something else and they would ask me if I’d finished the next scene or how long it would be until they could get their hands on the next chapter. ¬†It motivated me and made me write quicker because I had readers, people who wanted to read what I’d written. ¬†It was exhilarating.

Buy Scrivener for Windows (Regular Licence)
I write using Scrivener, I highly recommend it, it has helped me stay focused while writing my stories. I am an affiliate of this product.

I finished episode one.

Do you know how exciting it is to finish a book?  I felt like the world had changed, I did it!  

So this post is really just to let you know that self- publishing was a goal for me and I’m doing it and you can accomplish the goals you have for yourself as well.

Here are some of the stumbling blocks I had at the beginning and how I figured out a path to success.

1. ¬†If you have a goal, it can be attained (period). 2. ¬†You don’t have to know all of the logistics to begin. ¬†Just begin. 3. ¬†Surround yourself with people who will encourage your progress. 4. ¬†Be excited! Celebrate when you accomplish that goal. And most of all, you can do anything in this life that you want to. ¬†It is out here for the taking. ¬†If I can realize my dreams, there is something to be said for you working at and realizing yours too. Jaha Knight Signature

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