Celebrate my Blog-a-versary!

Today is the anniversary of my blog! I don’t recall exactly how long–3 years? Maybe. But what an exciting–and sometimes crazy–ride it’s been. From character interviews to writing/editing tips to today with the Confessions series and social media emphasis, blogging has been anything but boring.

I just wanted to say thank you to all you lovely people who’ve been with me on this journey. Followers from the old days and people who have just joined the journey. There’s nothing more encouraging than to know that other people care. You all are the best. *hugs all around*

Blogging has not been without its own set of issues. My website was hacked once, and I lost all my previous blog posts. All those fun character interviews–gone. I had some pretty crazy issues with my previous website host, which resulted in a downed website and ultimately me switching providers. Earlier this year, a buggy plugin made it impossible for me to even get into my WordPress dashboard to blog. But my new trusty website host fixed it for me.

But that’s all in the past.

So what do we have to look forward to in the next year?

I’m continuing with the “Confessions” series for now. It’s been quite popular, and I think many of you readers find a little bit of yourselves in a lot of the posts. I know I do. I’m going to try to mix it up a bit, though, invite some non-writer people to share a bit about them and their lives. The point is to show how we all SHINE Beyond our circumstances.

I have at least 2 books coming out in the next year. So, there will definitely be a few posts about those along the way.

New to the blog, I’ll be posting about book marketing and social media, each on a separate Friday of the month. For the non-writer followers, I still think you might get something out of the social media posts, and you might just enjoy hearing about the insides of my book marketing journey.

I’m bringing back Tea with Me! For those who don’t know, these posts are an opportunity for YOU to ask me questions–about anything. Questions can be about me, my writing, life, science … anything! If I don’t know the answer, I’ll try to find it; if I can’t find it, I’ll make it up. It’s tons of fun. This is one of my favorites, and readers seem to enjoy READING the posts. But I’ll definitely need y’all to be sending me questions for this once-a-month post. I usually put out a call on Facebook for questions, so be sure to follow me there.

While I don’t send my blog posts out via email anymore, I do highlight popular articles in my monthly newsletter. Sign up below so you don’t miss a thing!

 

Bellanok Sale

In addition to this week being my blog-aversary, it’s also my birthday week. And to celebrate, my fantasy novel, Bellanok, is on sale for 99 cents. That’s right. A fantasy adventure, right at your finger tips, for only 99 cents. Who’s ready to party? You can find more about Bellanok in the My Books tab!

 

Do you celebrate your birthday with any traditions?

Book Marketing: And so it Begins

Book marketing is a fun subject for me. I love hearing what other authors have tried, things that have been successful, and tactics that have failed horribly. Book marketing is definitely not a science–more like an art influence by science.

As I begin my journey to release my 2nd novel, I thought many writers might like to know how I do things, learn with me. And many readers may find the process fascinating. I’ll be sharing details about marketing plans, tips and tricks I learn, and some differences between the launch of my 1st self-published novel and this 2nd traditionally published novel.

 

MY BACKGROUND

If you’re new to my blog, then you may not know about my self-publishing journey. About 18 months ago, I began to publish a whole novel broken down into 4 parts. I published the first 20,000 words in October 2015, released the parts sporadically, then combined them and released Bellanok as a whole book in October 2016.

Why did I do this? My agent and I decided that self-publishing a stand-alone novel would help to build a following, which might make me more appealing to traditional houses, which are always looking to see what kind of platform an author has, especially a debut author. (So, writers, start building your platform today!)

Ultimately, we decided to break the novel down into parts as a way to offer something new and gain more followers by continually putting my name in front of them. Did you know readers may have to see a novel from a new-to-them author up to 7 times before they’ll purchase their book? Yep.

 

A NEW NOVEL

In October 2016, along with celebrating the release of Bellanok, I also signed a contract with Elk Lake Publishing for a YA fantasy trilogy! I was so excited–you have no idea. Well if you’re a writer, you might. The trilogy is an allegorical tale based on the premise question, “What if the armor of God were real?” I won’t tell you much more than that, for now. Muahahaha …

Currently, I’m working on substantive edits. But it’s also time to get my book marketing plan started. Ideally, an author should have 3-6 months to plan and execute their marketing plan. Aletheia, the first novel in the trilogy, is due out in September, which gives me about 4 months.

 

INTERESTING FRUSTRATION

I ran into my first major issue with the book marketing plan a couple of weeks ago. Quite by accident, I discovered 2 other novels by the name of Aletheia releasing this year. A supernatural suspense released in March, and a futuristic sci-fi or dystopian releases in July.

What? Are you kidding me? How dare they steal my title? Just kidding. I thought Aletheia, which is Greek for truth, would be an unusual enough title to grab a fantasy-lovers attention but not be copied. Apparently, I was wrong. Now, my publisher, agent, and I are in talks about what the new name will be. Stay tuned …

THE BATTLE PLAN

Every good marketing strategy needs a good plan. Every good plan is based on knowledge and experience. I’ll use what I learned from the Bellanok launch and the studying I’m doing to put together a snazzy plan for success. Only time will tell how smart of a plan it ends up being.

So, with each post I’ll share the goals I have for the next month.

 

Study Book Marketing

This is a continual process. For me, both as an author and as a social media manager, keeping up on the latest research, trends, tactics, and experiences from other authors and marketers will help me make the best choices for my book launch and for my clients.

I have about 1,000 emails in the Promotional tab of my email Inbox related to some aspect of marketing. I’ll be slowly whittling those down as I learn and apply. Also, several marketing-related books found their way onto my Kindle. Yes, I can get obsessive and one-track minded when I’m learning something new. (I did the same thing when I decided to homeschool my kids.)

 

Determine Marketing Budget

One of the most important parts of developing a marketing plan is to determine the budget. Budget will help me divide out which strategies I can use and which are out of my price range. I can’t very well place an ad in a magazine when the cost is $1500 and my budget is only $500.

There are a lot of “free” options for book marketing, which I fully intend to take advantage of. But there are also some great opportunities out there that may cost a bit. For instance, I want to have a graphics person develop social media images for the cover reveal and launch. I’ll be investing in book marks and maybe some cool swag.

Since I am not self-publishing this time, I don’t have the up front costs of editing and book cover design. Instead, I can invest more in my marketing strategy.

 

Layout Marketing Schedule

Since it’s only 4 months until the release date, I need to write out when tasks need to be accomplished–and what those tasks are! I am using Google Calendar to layout the basic schedule, and ToDoist to keep track of my to-do lists.

I need to plan out street team tasks, ARC reader deadlines, cover reveal timing, blog tour schedule … and a bunch of other stuff. Not to mention actually getting the editing done for the novel. Yikes!

 

Put Together my Street Team

I’ll talk more about this in another post, but, for those who may not know, a street team is a group of 15-50 people (I’ve seen different numbers), who are passionate about an author and their novels, who work together to get word out about the author’s latest project. While I don’t plan to DO anything with the group until the cover reveal, I do want to get the group in place.

 

Research Blogs

One of the funnest parts of the Bellanok launch was the blog tour, which was about 3 weeks long. However, one thing I quickly realized is most of the blogs involved had very similar reader circles. This meant I really wasn’t reaching new readers.

This time, I plan to research different blogs that may want to host me or do a review during the tour. In addition to author blogs, I hope to find blogs based on different aspects of my novel, like

  • homeschool blogs because my novel is a YA with strong Christian themes
  • book review blogs with a stronger following
  • Christian blogs
  • Other blogs that center around themes and topics addressed in the novel, like embracing your calling, overcoming self-doubt, challenging yourself …

 

And so it begins. Book marketing, done well, is an intricate plan that is as individual and unique as the author and the book itself. The more knowledge an author has, the better they can plan. I’m glad you’re on this journey with me, and I’d love to have your input along the way.

Are you a writer? Or a reader? Both? 

Do you have questions you hope I’ll address as this series comes out?

 

If you’re a bookworm like me, be sure you’re signed up for my newsletter! I celebrate new releases (mine and other authors), share interesting tidbits about life and writing, and indulge in other booknerd fun! Plus. on Monday, I’ll be drawing a winner from my subscriber list to win a copy of The Progeny and Firstborn by Tosca Lee!

Novel News: November 2016

Well, November was quite the interesting month. With all its ups and downs, the craziness reminded me of just how much I have to be thankful for. God has put so many amazing people in my life, each one a treasure.

There’s lots to go over this month. Be sure to read all the way through to find out the winners from the blog tour and other exciting news!

 

New Releases

NOTE: Contains affiliate links.

 

Bellanok by ME (paperback)bellanokanovel

A haven for myths and legends . . . until evil discovers a way in.

With evil darkening the mountains to the north, the fairy queen, Fauna, must journey from the island realm of Bellanok to the modern world to find the man the Creator appointed to save their kingdom. A man she has been dreaming of her whole life.

Brian is a down-on-his-luck pastor on the verge of giving up on God. He’s tired and frustrated–a failure. No sooner does he make a decision that jeopardizes his career than an unusual blonde woman shows up and tries to convince him he is some kind of savior.

Fauna must open Brian’s eyes to a different reality, and Brian needs to embrace the haven’s secrets. If neither of them succeeds, Bellanok will succumb to evil and the world will lose all trace of innocence.

 

 

A brazen assassination. Two nations on the brink of war. And, a weapon that changes everything… After an assassination divides the kingdom of Aldron and bolsters the evil Draknoir forces, Lucius travels with a group of Aldronian soldiers on a clandestine mission to retrieve the Gauntlet of Iniquity and turn the tide of war. But far from being an easy solution, Lucius finds that wielding this powerful weapon comes at a price, and may very well destroy him and his allies. Gauntlet of Iniquity is the second installment in the Azuleah Trilogy, an epic fantasy series filled with action, adventure, and intrigue. Fans of C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia and John Flanagan’s Ranger’s Apprentice will feel right at home.

 

Sorvashti is a captive. Jet is a soldier. Both harness the primal power of aether.

The war is over, but the Revoth want their land back. Kidnapping, ransom, and slavery fund their terrorism, but bombing Jet’s hometown was the final straw.

Viper Unit is dispatched to take the Revoth down. But the special forces have no need for a mind-reading ‘fairy’—unless Jet can prove himself as a sniper.

Sorvashti’s clan demands she take one of the seven oaths, but her father’s political status has already chosen for her—and made her a prime target for ransom.

When Jet and Sorvashti meet behind enemy lines, revenge intertwines with survival… and a spark between them neither can ignore.

 

Writing Update

Good news: Bellanok is available for Kindle and in PAPERBACK! Woot!

Good news: I started writing Soter, the 2nd book in the trilogy contracted by Elk Lake Publishing.

Bad news: Either myself or someone in my family was sick for pretty much the entire month. I think I only hit about 10K so far. Goal is to be done by end of January with first draft!

Kicking off a new book is always so much fun. It’s like a whole story out there just ready to be explored and experienced. Eee!

 

Other News

So, the Bellanok blog tour was a lot of fun. I am so thankful for all the wonderful people who hosted me on their websites. You can find a recap of those posts below!

But first . . .

There were 2 paperback copies of Bellanok up for grabs as part of the blog tour. Thank you to all who entered!

The winners are . . .

Olivia and Robin Elizabeth Mason!

Congrats, ladies! I sent you emails. 🙂

Now, I hope the rest of you will check out some of the fun interviews, interesting character posts, and more from the blog tour. Don’t forget to say hi!

KM Carroll blog – Interview with ME

Serena Chase – Interview with Roman (dragon)

Carla Hoch – Radio Interview

Zachary Totah – Interview with ME

Heather Fitzgerald – Interview with Fauna, Fairy Queen

Bethany Kaczmarek – Interivew with ME

Laura Pol – Interview with ME

Lands Uncharted – Interview with ME

J.L. Mbewe – Spotlight on Bellanok

New Authors Fellowship – My Author Journey

L2L2 – A Day in my Life

SpeculativeFaith – Why a Pastor?

Olivia – Interview with Me

 

And you know Christmas is just around the corner. Know what makes a good present for the fantasy lover in your life? Yep, you guessed it! Don’t forget to check out Bellanok–for you or for a friend.

What are you looking forward to most this Christmas season?

Authors, if you had a book release in November, feel free to leave the title, a 25-word blurb, and a buy link in the comments!

Bellanok is Available in Paperback!

bellanokanovelBELLANOK: THE RELUCTANT SAVIOR

I’m so excited to announce that Bellanok is officially available in physical book form. Yes! One for your bookshelf! One for your local library! One for your fellow fantasy lovers for Christmas!

This has been a long-time coming. And I am ever so thankful for all the love and support from family, friends, and fans. But most of all for God giving me this gift, this passion. This is truly a dream come true!

Before you hop over and purchase several copies for you and everyone you know, check out this fun book trailer from Amaeris Designs Productions.

Need an escape this weekend? Ready for a fantasy adventure? You can see a full description of Bellanok, as well as blog tour information, in My Books. But you know you just want to hop over and buy now! (Available for Kindle AND in paperback.)

 

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If you’d like to follow along as I work on releasing another 3 books (also fantasy) through Elk Lake Publishing over the next couple of years, be sure to sign up for my newsletter!

And if you want to join in launch time fun and get to know a few other ladies of spec, as well as other spec readers, check out the Ladies of Spec Readers Group!

Goals: November 2016

PIC1068506062It seems like on the first of every month, I can hardly believe that the old month is gone and the new one is here. Like I blinked and missed a whole 30 days. Yes, October flew by in a flash–but I did manage to accomplish a few things!

 

Last Month . . .

Although I didn’t  get around to doing it until about the middle of the month, I did schedule out a menu plan for the rest of the year, using gluten-free and dairy-free recipes. Now if I can just stick to it.

Bellanok did get finished, the Kindle version anyway. The paperback document just came to me a couple of days ago. I kind of gave a soft launch of the Kindle, but plan to make a big hooplah about the paperback release next week. It may be a few days later than I planned, though. Friday instead of Tuesday.

The rest of my goals didn’t really come to pass, and that’s mostly my fault, mishandling my time or too much time being sick. But never fear! A new month is here, and I can try again!

How about the rest of you who shared your goals in October?

Pam: *Finish revisions for my fantasy novel
*Write a short story for Travis Perry’s newest anthology
*Teach at a one day conference in Georgetown, DE on the 15th
*host a book event in my hometown on the 20th for Realmscapes
*plan and hold a Great Pumpkin party (it’s the 50th anniversary!)

Laura: *Host decluttering challenge & launch new product
*Finish painting baby’s room and move furniture in
*Publish one blog post per week and send weekly email newsletter

 

Tips for Goals:

Give yourself a reasonable amount of time to accomplish your goal, but do set a time. A deadline creates a sense of urgency and gives you a reason not to keep putting the task off forever.

 

November Goals:

1. Win NaNoWriMo for the first time. For those of you who are not writers, this is a competition to write 50,000 words in one month. In theory, it shouldn’t be too hard, but every time I have participated, life got in the way.

2. Finish the Realm Makers website by the end of next week.

3. Keep my husband and I on a gluten-free, dairy-free diet this month. Make use of the menu plan by looking at it every day, and even looking ahead a couple of days.

4. Have a successful book launch for Bellanok. I have some fun things planned, including a book tour, some giveaways, and more!

5. Plan for all the craziness in December. (Yeah, this is kind of an open-ended goal . . .)

 

So there you have it. My map for the month. Direction to keep me motivated.

Share your goals in the comments, and lets keep each other accountable! (I’ll be following up with you on the November goals post.)

Sign up for my newsletter so we can keep up with each other!

 

 

Novel News: October 2016

Man, where did the month of October go? It’s like one minute I was waiting impatiently for the weather to cool and the leaves to change, and suddenly BOOM–October is almost over. Granted, the weather around here did cool off last week (finally) and the leaves were really pretty till the wind and rain knocked them all out of the trees. Yay for fall!

But, my recap of October isn’t really what you came here for, is it? Bring on the novel news!

*Post does contain my affiliate links

 

New Releases

Ralene Bellnock 1 The Reluctant SaviorBellanok by MEEEE!

Bellanok is a haven for myths and legends . . . until evil discovers a way in. Now the fairy queen, Fauna, must journey from the island realm to the modern world to find the man the Creator appointed to save their kingdom. A man she has been dreaming of her whole life.

Brian is a down-on-his-luck pastor on the verge of giving up on God. He’s tired and frustrated–a failure. No sooner does he make a decision that jeopardizes his career than an unusual blonde woman shows up and tries to convince him he is some kind of savior.

Fauna must open Brian’s eyes to a different reality, and Brian needs to embrace the haven’s secrets. If neither of them succeeds, Bellanok will succumb to evil and the world will lose all trace of innocence.

 

timeA Time to Rise (Out of Time, Book 3)

I haven’t had time to read this final novel in the trilogy yet, but I can’t wait!

At least that’s what the Council—and the world—thinks. But her sacrifice tore down part of the Wall long enough to stir up hope and rebellion in the people. Now she will rise again. Strong, free, and fearless.

Parvin and Solomon must uncover the mysterious clues that Jude left behind in order to destroy the projected Wall once and for all. Meanwhile, the Council schemes to new levels of technology in its attempts to keep the people contained. Can a one-handed Radical and a scarred ex-Enforcer really bring shalom to the world?

 

accAccelerant (Abiassa’s Fire, Book 2)

I’m working my way through this one, the 2nd in a fantasy trilogy, and LOVING it. I so enjoy Ronie’s writing style and her story world. 

He’ll destroy the world. But first he has to save it.

The Nine Kingdoms bleed. Leaderless, ravaged, the land awaits deliverance from Poired Dyrth’s devastating campaign. But what if one blight can only be cleansed by another?

The promised Fierian is known by many names. Judge. Destroyer. Scourge. And now one other: Haegan, Prince of Seultrie. Once a cripple, now a gifted Accelerant, Haegan can no longer run from the truth. But neither can he be reconciled to it. He knows only one thing for certain: as the only able-bodied heir to the Fire Throne, he must return to the Nine and fight for his people.

But there are insidious forces at work. When reality itself falls into question, Haegan struggles to know where to fight, whom to trust. Caught between duty to his country and duty to the world, Haegan must see clearly enough to choose the right path to save the world.

 

scarletmoonScarlet Moon (Children of the Blood Moon, Book 1)

Another one I’m looking forward to reading soon!

Destiny can pick someone else.

Evil is slipping through the cracks of its prison, and all Soleden trembles in its wake. Yet some would harness that evil to their own ends, and first among them is Idla, the sorceress queen bent on distorting the world.

Only one can stand in her way: Jayden. Upon realizing her mark as the prophesied Deliverer, Jayden conceals herself from her enemies and her Feravolk countrymen. But after the harm the Feravolk caused to her family, she’s loath to rescue the not-so-innocent.

Hiding her mark was never easy, but now that Jayden knows both Queen Idla and the Feravolk are after her, hiding her gift of the Blood Moon will be impossible.

 

blackblack tiger (Black Tiger Series) (Volume 1)

When the fire goes out, supposedly dead, the embers still remain; tiny specks of deadwood and ash that have the capacity to burn down an entire city.

Ember Carter is a sixteen-year-old farmer’s daughter who wants nothing more than to stay close to her family in the Community Garden when Career Day approaches. Unfortunately, all farming careers are given to boys, and besides, as of the past two years, all students have been drafted to the Line of Defenders to fight in a war no one seems to know about. When Ember meets Forest, the mysterious stranger who seems to know a bit too much about city life and the way the government is run, she’s even less eager to leave the safe haven of the Garden.

On Career Day, the future couldn’t look brighter when Ember is the only student assigned the career of a Farmer. But all hopes come to end when she attacks a Defender to save her best friend. Suspected a rebel and sentenced to death, she’s transferred to Frankfort Prison where she will carry out her sentence.

But Frankfort is full of surprises and snotty Patricians. While in prison, Ember learns a dark secret about Forest that makes her question what little she knew about him. And then there’s Rain,the carelessly handsome boy who enjoys instigating her just a bit too much. If THAT’S not enough, the world learns something about Ember even she doesn’t know. A secret that brings her character into question, enlightens her on her mother’s true identity, and ultimately, gives her the power to affect the rise or fall of Ky.

With the handsome Forest tugging at her heart, and the rogue Rain whispering treasons into her ear, can Ember make the right decision that will redeem the corrupt government of Ky?

 

ordOrdinary Souls by J.S. Bailey

Sixteen ordinary souls. Sixteen not-so-ordinary tales.

Ordinary Souls is an anthology about ordinary people. This new collection from J. S. Bailey features an archaeologist in the future who meets a resurrected woman from long ago, a spaceship crew stranded on a distant world, a wealthy divorcee whose love of antiques turns her life into a living nightmare, and much more.

Featuring nine new stories and seven previously-published stories including “Vapors” and “Weary Traveler,” which appear in print for the first time.

 

 

Writing Update

If you weren’t around last week, then you missed my big announcement. I signed a 3-book contract with Elk Lake Publishing. You can find out more in this blog post. Yes, I’m so very excited and still terrified. The first book could be out as early as February or May.

In other news, obviously, Bellanok–the Kindle compilation–is out this week! Hopefully in a couple of weeks, I’ll have the physical version available as well. I can’t wait to hold the actual book in my hands. And smell the paper. Don’t judge.

Right now, I’m finishing up edits on Soul Seer before I move onto a new story. *gasp* It’s been so long! I’m not sure at this point if I’ll be working on the first book in the new trilogy as I had planned. I may be working on the 2nd book in the Armor of Elohim trilogy.

Other News 

My Ladies of Spec group had our first Facebook party last night. It was fabulous and so much fun! There was a great turnout and lots of great interaction. A big thank you to all of those who attended and helped make the night truly memorable.

We also got to announce our new Facebook group for spec fic readers. Ladies of Spec Readers Group is somewhat of a cross between a street team and a readers group/book club. We’ll have game, contests, and other book launch fun for ourselves, but we’ll also highlight/read new releases and old favorites by other speculative fiction authors.

If this sounds like something you’d enjoy, click on the link and join in the fun!

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So what have you been reading this month?

AUTHORS: Did you have a book release this month? Feel free to leave the title, a 25-word blurb, and buy link in the comments! 

Bellanok: Get the WHOLE Story!

My friends and family, it’s finally here! The culmination of a couple years of work. My first complete baby–uh–book. Bellanok: The Reluctant Savior is now available as a WHOLE story.

a-sword-is-just-a-sword-i-am-the-weapon

The Kindle version of Bellanok is $2.99 right now, but the price WILL GO UP in a week or 2. So, be sure to grab your copy now. Like right now. See this link? Or this one?

For now, Bellanok is only on Kindle. In 2 weeks, though, there will be . . . a paperback! I know, I know. Exciting stuff! There will be a physical book for me to hold, and smell, and give to others. It’s true! If you’re holding off for the paperback, sign up for my newsletter so you don’t miss the news.

Thank you all for celebrating with me! And, hey, if you feel like partying a little more, join me and the rest of the Ladies of Spec for the Fall into a Speculative Adventure Facebook Party.

Who’s ready to party?

Goals: October 2016 (Plus Giveaway Winners!)

PIC1068506062We have now entered my favorite time of the year. Everything about October 1 thru December 31 sends delightful shivers through my body. Eee! Okay, I’ll calm down for now. As much joy as I get from these next 3 months, there’s still the matter of business and life.

Stay tuned at the end of the email for the winners of the giveaway!

September Goals

Last month, I had a wide variety of items on my goals list. Thankfully, I accomplished at least part of most of them. Did I confuse you there?

I did start getting up at 6 a.m. like I intended, but not every day like I wanted. Enough that I know that I like that routine and will continue to make it a priority.

My blood sugar is not under control yet, but it is a lot better. Taking my medicine and watching my portions has helped a lot. Now to rein the rest of it in and get those numbers to where they need to be!

I did plan a block schedule for my work. I’ve been working out the kinks and am excited to see how it works this month!

Obviously, I finished Bellanok and got it off to my editor.

The handbook from Realm Makers is done, and I got a jump start on the website, but it still needs work before we reveal it to the public. Soon, I hope.

So, I think September has been my most productive month of the year as far as goals go. I got a good jump on several projects and am excited to see what happens in the next 28 days!

How about those of you who shared your goals last time?

PAM: 1. finish revising my fantasy novel
2. plan and schedule some book events for Realmscapes
3. finalize everything for my fantasy picture book series, which a friend and I are indie publishing
4. attend an Artists in Residence weekend at Highlights
5. celebrate my granddaughter’s 10th birthday! “I’m gonna be double digits, Grandmom!”

CINDY: 1. Relocate to Iowa
2. Start my new job
3. Get the OCR text for A Suitable Arrangment settled
4. Do a couple marketing events (Book signing, a couple online things, etc)
5. Get busy on Christmas present crafts

GRETCHEN: 1. Finish my rewrite so I can plot in October for NaNoWriMo.
2. Keep up my morning quiet time.
3. Train for a half marathon the first weekend in November (my second one this year so continued training).

KELLIE: 1. Finish polishing book 1 before September 22.
2. Edit “The Lost Chapter”, which I plan to put up for free on my website in either October or November. (I’ve already got my other free chapters on there! That’s at least one August goal done!)
3. Battle that beast of a book 2. It needs a major rewrite.
4. Do all this around my three jobs. It’ll be tricky, but so far getting bits done on the commute to and from work and during lunch seems to be working.

 

Tips for Goals

Make your goals challenging, but achievable. They should not be so easy that you can achieve them with little to no effort. But if you make them too hard, you will find more discouragement than motivation.

 

14516388_1109048352477241_2121187037269415336_nOctober Goals

1. I need to work in some low carb recipes to help my husband and I get our blood sugar under control. This week, I’m going to plan out the month of recipes so that I can start shopping with purpose rather than on impulse. Though I don’t think I can get rid of pumpkin rolls . . .

2. Get Realm Makers website up and running while planning out some reveals for October and November. I need to get the website done this week so we can start adding the new stuff!

3. Plan and execute the launch of Bellanok as a complete ebook and paperback. (If you’d like to help, let me know!) I know there will be a blog tour, an online launch party, and other fun stuff. Yay!

4. Prepare for NaNoWriMo! I already know the story I’ll be writing, I just need to do some outlining and character sketching and all that jazz.

So, there you have it! All my goals and only 28 more days. With God, all things are possible!

Share your goals in the comments, and lets keep each other accountable! (I’ll be following up with you on the November goals post.)

Sign up for my newsletter so we can keep up with each other!

 

thankyou_circles_noto_email_us-main-_cb268957429_Giveaway Winners

A huge thank you to all of you who participated and helped to share the giveaway. I always have so much fun organizing these kinds of things. I won’t keep you in the dark any longer. The winners are as follows:

Heather S. won 9 Strategies to Build & Grow Your Author Platform.

Gabrielle Compolongo won Heir of Hope.

Sarah Grimm won the $20 Amazon Gift Card.

Congratulations, ladies! If you would just email me your physical addresses, I’ll get the books out to you.

Have a fabulous October, everyone!

Fab 5 Friday: Announcement Edition

14199261_1277057505661832_8474678322673298450_nWow! September is already halfway over. I can’t believe it. I’m so ready for cooler weather, colorful leaves, sweaters, boots, and all things pumpkin. Yeah, I’m the white girl in yoga pants. 🙂 I know my summer-loving friends are glaring at me right now, but I’m clickin’ my heels! As if the approach of my favorite time of year isn’t enough . . .

Homeschool got off to a good start last week. The kids and I are getting into a new routine, which takes time. But we’re all enjoying the new year so far. And there’s a field trip to a local farm later this month–another family fall favorite!

Well, I have several fabulous announcements for you today. So, let’s get to it!

 

a-sword-is-just-a-sword-i-am-the-weapon-1

FREE THIS WEEKEND

Hurry over to grab Bellanok: The Paladin’s Hope while it’s free this weekend. And please share it with all your fantasy- or adventure-loving friends! Find out what happens as the demon horde is closing in . . . after all, they have the ultimate weapon. How will Brian and Fauna save the island? Will they even be able to? Guess you’ll have to read it to find out!

 

 

the-cover-designwinner

COVER DESIGN WINNER

Earlier this week, I had my Facebook followers vote between 2 Bellanok covers the fabulous J.L. Mbewe had designed for me (not the final copies, but design plan). And–ta-da! The side graphic  is what the general look will be! I’m so excited! She did such a great job, and I love it! And yes, I’m going to use lots of exclamation points for all the love!!!!!! What do you think of the cover?

 

NEWSLETTER SIGNUP

Now, I don’t usually go out of my way to say, “Hey, sign up for my newsletter!” However, I have so much coming up over the next few months–and I want you all along for the journey!

Over the next 6 weeks, there will be some information and opportunities that come up with the release in October of the full version of Bellanok in both ebook AND paperback.

Plus, I have some fun holiday plans coming up that include a couple of parties, some giveaways, and fun opportunities for everyone to participate in! Did I mention all the giveaways? Yes!

So, sign up now so you don’t miss out on any of it!

 

realm-makersconference-audioonly-149-99REALM MAKERS AUDIO

As many of you know, I am the Marketing Director for Realm Makers. Realm Makers is the premiere, faith-friendly conference for speculative fiction writers. And the session audio from the 2016 conference is now available!

You can download workshops from amazing teachers/speakers like Thomas Locke, Mike Duran, Steve Laube, Tosca Lee, Patrick Carr, and more. There’s over 30 HOURS of content with the full session audio.

Of course, you can purchase individual workshops as well. But, for the rest of today (9/16) only, you can get $25 off the full session audio, using a code on the webpage.

(If you’re a writer and you enjoy speculative fiction–fantasy, sci-fi, paranormal, etc.–then you should like their Facebook page, even if you don’t write spec fic. You’ll still get a lot out of the posts, the fandoms, and the camaraderie!)

 

WHAT’S NEXT?

Now that Bellanok is just about done, I’ll be moving on to other projects. Soul Seer is a supernatural suspense that I need to revise. It’s in pretty good shape, but I need to add some layers in, deepen the plot, up the stakes. You know, the fun stuff.

I am actually planning on doing NaNoWriMo this year. If everything works out, I’ll be writing the first half of a new futuristic fantasy series that’s been on the back burner for a few years. Tentitavely titled, Cortesia’s Calling, it involves nephilim, demons, and a Joan of Arc type heroine and her band of underdogs.

 

There’s so much going on, and I couldn’t be more excited or more blessed. I hope you’ll join me for this journey of life and stories.

What big plans do you have coming up for the last quarter of the year?

Goals: September 2016

After a summer full of conferences, vacations, and fun surprises, I can hardly believe it’s September already! Everyone’s kids are back in school (or almost), fall is in the air, and my schedule is slowly down ever so slightly. How about yours?

After a week-long work trip, I took a day to relax and refresh. Now it’s time to kick my brain into top gear and get going on all these goals and plans I have for the rest of the year. I need to break the big goals down into smaller, more attainable chunks, so I can stay focused and get more accomplished.

PIC1068506062One of the big concepts I walked away with from ACFW is allowing for flexibility in all areas of my life. Flexibility for what? For God. I want to walk closer with God, and if I am making all these plans, it has to be WITH Him. I want His plans to be my plans, but I want to be listening for His cues because His plans may not always line up right with mine, right?

But I know there are some things I need to be doing to walk closer with Him and to be able to do what He needs me to do. Hence a few of my goals this month.

September Goals:

  1. Get back into my early morning routine. You know, I always feel better when I start my day with God, in the Word. It seems to give me more patience for the day, more focus and purpose. I’ll talk more about my routines in a different post, but this is one I’m definitely picking back up and making a priority.
  2. Get my blood sugar under control. Although weight loss is important, I’m not going to be doing much of anything if my blood sugar numbers don’t come down. This month, I am focusing on portion sizes and eating more veggies.
  3. Plan a block schedule for my work time. Between writing, editing, and other work commitments, I need to have a clear schedule so I know how much time I have to devote to any project on any given day during any given week. Time management has been a weakness of mine as I have struggled with homeschooling and health. But if I want to do all of this, I need to step up and do what needs doing.
  4. Ralene Bellnock 1 The Reluctant SaviorGet Bellanok compiled into one book, revised and polished, and ready to send to my proofreader/formatter by September 20. (October 14, folks . . . be ready!) I have 2 hours, M-F, plus a few hours on Saturdays, to devote to getting this done. If I can focus, might only take me a couple of weeks!
  5. I’m fresh from the Realm Makers planning retreat with a host of projects to work on over the next month. The main 2 projects being our handbook (for the planning committee) and a new website. I’m excited about finishing up both! Realm Makers will be part of my block schedule as well!

 

So there you have it, folks. I’m ready to tackle September and come out on top. What about you?

 

What are a couple of your goals for September?

 

Janeen and Sara, how did you do on your goals from the August post?

 

If you haven’t signed up for my newsletter yet, now’s the time! There’s lots of fun stuff coming up this fall, including the release of Bellanok and more Confessions posts!