The Writer’s Journey – Guest Author, Pamela Schloesser Canepa

Indie author finally realizes a life-long dream of sharing her writing habit with the world.
Pamela Schloesser Canepa, self-published author and Earth inhabitant.

pamela

How and when you started writing: I recall writing my first short story at age 8, when we traveled from Florida to Tennessee to visit my uncle and his family. I had to entertain myself in the car, and this came in quite handy! It was shared with family, and they all encouraged me profusely. I continued writing, for class, for myself, to exercise strong emotions, etc., but much of it was shown to no one. Still, it was good for me! I was a quiet little girl, and this helped me channel my voice.

How and when you first published: I entered poetry contests and got into vanity published books. If nothing else, it felt good. In my thirties, I published stories on my Myspace blog. (Don’t laugh)! I recently started blogging on WordPress this year, and shared some stories in contests on Wattpad, which started ideas for my novellas that have been published just this year (2016), in the sci-fi romance genre. My second two are science-fiction, but not strictly romance, however, and they carry a stronger theme.

Are you published Traditionally, Small Online Press, Indie Author, or combination?
I am an indie author. I think of the poems I got published in vanity press as a build up to where I am now.

Tell us about your journey to where you are today.
In a nutshell, I had to change from the little girl whose family gushed over her cute little stories, to the solemn, confused teen who wrote dark poetry and hid it. Then, I grew from the young woman who journaled her way into self-esteem after processing and leaving a bad marriage, to the woman who wrote poetry expressing her parental fears/frustration and shared them with the world, to who I am today, putting my thoughts into fiction in an attempt to get a message across while entertaining my reader at the same time. My writing journey has been a growth, not just as a writer, but as a person. I recently had a reader call one of my novellas “thought-provoking.” That was such an honor! Yet, I realize it is out there for criticism as well as praise, and I need to be ready for both. Some will love my work, and some will not. It comes with the territory.

What have you learned along the way?
I’ve learned that self-publishing also means self-promoting. That it is a lot of work. I’ve learned that some days I will get the writing or promoting fever and cannot stop until I’ve beaten that fever into the ground. I have also learned that having a friend who is in the same position as an indie writer is so invaluable. So I have joined Rave Reviews Book Club, through which I met the wonderful owner of this blog that is allowing me to spread news of my writing! I have also joined other writing forums online and made many helpful friends. I see that you can’t just take others’ support, you need to give it as well. That is what builds a community of indie writers who can learn from each other, and it really gets these books out there for the world to see.

What would you do differently? I would do more promoting, pre-publication. I would also likely expand the ideas in my first few novellas. However, when all three are read, they tend to make my intended point. I may add to them in the future. But for now, I am working on a full-length novel and I am going through the entire process of editing, re-writing, and editing again. It is not for the faint of heart.

Published e-books:

Made for Me is a sci-fi romance, the first in a series of sci-fi novellas. Be sure to also check out the sequel, Seeing Through Sampson’s Eyes! The third, and latest, in this series is From Bedlam to Ben! All are available at Amazon.

mfm

stsefbtb

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you for reading, and I hope you will find time to read and enjoy my books!

Advertisement

The Writer’s Journey – Guest Author, Lori Soard

Today, I welcome a good friend. I’ve known her for about twenty years, when we first met at the Writer’s Club message boards on American Online. We’ve been in many clubs together, even started a few ourselves. Of course, she had the idea and would ask me if I’d like to help, and I’d say, “Sure.”

She is always breaking new ground in the publishing industry–example: the first RWA online chapter: From The Heart, another writer’s club: World Romance Writers, and the first author promotion site (to my knowledge): Word Museum. She is a wonderful person as well as author and entrepreneur. So, it is with great pleasure that I introduce to you, Lori Soard.

It All Started with a Giraffe Named Geraldine

My very first memories are of my dad telling me bedtime stories about a crazy giraffe named Geraldine. Geraldine was always getting into messes and had to be rescued. He would let me make choices in how the story would go. Does Geraldine go into the clearing or stay hidden? Does she follow the noise she heard or ignore it? These were the first stories I helped create and one of my favorite memories from my childhood.

I always loved books and stories. My parents bought me books as little gifts, played word games with me, and let my imagination have free reign. I truly believe that God gives us the parents he does for a reason and he couldn’t have chosen better with mine. I am thankful every day for their influence in my life and their love.

When my first grade teacher showed me how to string letters into words and words into sentences, I was thrilled. Now, I could read books for myself. And, I could write my own stories. I devoured every book I could get my hands on, started journaling and started writing stories. My early school years were all about finishing the busy work, because the teachers would let me read quietly if I finished early.

In high school, I would write stories and pass them to my friends between classes. They would add to them and we’d all swap stories again. I still have some of these silly stories, but they were so much fun. Some of them are about aliens taking over our friends’ bodies, but most are about romance. We had code names for our crushes in case anyone ever found one of our stories or a teacher tried to read it out loud.

It wasn’t until college when a journalism professor encouraged us to write an article and submit it to our local newspapers that I realized you could make money from your writing. The editor published my piece, put it on the front page, and gave me $25. At the time, I was more thrilled with that $25 than any amount I’ve ever been paid for my writing since. It was a light bulb moment for me and I knew I would always write from that point forward.

I’ve been published in multiple formats. Some of my first books were with ebook publishers, in the days when people said ebooks would never take off and they were basically a joke. I knew, even back then, that they were the wave of the future. I’ve always loved technology and I just felt in my gut that they would one day be a big deal. My very first book was titled Man of Means and was on a floppy disk. I recently republished that book, after extensive edits, for Kindle and in paperback.

Later, I was published by Thorndike for their Five Star line. I loved working with my editor, Russell, but they eventually moved away from contemporary romances and I felt a bit lost as I was another orphaned author. Eventually, I moved over to Amber Quill Press. In the last couple of years, I’ve moved to self-publishing. Just as I once thought that ebooks would be the wave of the future, I believe that being in control of my own books and how they are presented, packaged, and priced, is the next phase of my writing. I won’t say I’ll never again be with a traditional publisher. I enjoy the give and take of working with an editor and getting the intensive feedback that entails. I’m open to whatever direction the Lord wants to take my writing career.

One thing I’ve learned along the way is that you have to be open to writing different things. About 10 years ago, I began writing more non-fiction than I had. Although I’d always written a few articles here and there, I noticed the majority of my income was from articles and not from my fiction. The fiction income tends to come in spurts, but you never know just how big the spurt of income will be or when it will arrive. Writing non-fiction balances that for me. I also like to give my brain a break, as writing non-fiction requires different skills than writing fiction. I also edit for a couple of clients and do some web design. By varying tasks, I can stay busy most of the time and easily put in 40 hours a week or more. All the time, I’m loving every bit of it. I feel so blessed to do things I truly enjoy and make a living at it.

Marketing has changed a lot over the years. Today, you have to be active on social media, advertise, and stay in touch with your readers by blogging. However, I also believe you need to be vocal that you’re a writer and your books are available. I have a friend, and everywhere we go she is talking about her books to people. I’m trying to learn from her boldness, because I have a really hard time doing that for myself. I actually will hide out and never mention I’m a writer unless someone knows it already. I don’t know why, but this is definitely something I’m trying to overcome.

I have found it really hard to line up in-person book signings for this latest book. There used to be a lot of independent small booksellers out there. They’re all but gone. That makes it a bit more difficult to get out there and meet new readers. I’m going to be trying some festivals and different events instead in the coming year. I’m hoping that will allow me to get the word out more. I am also doing some online book tours and connecting with friends who are bloggers.

I actually wouldn’t change anything about my writing journey so far, even the mistakes. I believe that we learn from every mistake, every success, and every failure. These things all come together to make me who I am. I like who I am in Christ and the skills, knowledge and lessons along the way. I would do it all again.

I would encourage new writers to dig in their heels and never quit. Focus on why you are writing. It likely isn’t to get famous, because there are easier ways to achieve that. It is probably because you have something to say or a message to share. If you can share that with just a handful of people, then you’ve made a difference in someone’s life. Learn to focus on the reason and not the result and you’ll always be a success with your writing.

Lori’s Latest Book

cupidscrossingLori’s latest book is Cupid’s Quest, which is the first in her Cupid’s Crossing series. It is a contemporary inspirational romance available in paperback and ebook.

The only life Gracie has ever known has been the nursing home and the residents who are like family to her. Now, she risks losing it all and her friends scattering to different homes if she can’t come up with the money to save the business.

Between caring for his ailing mother and running the family farm, Brandt is stretched thin. Too thin. When his mother begs him to enter a local scavenger hunt, win the prize money, and convert the farm into an orchard, he knows he can’t refuse her anything, so he reluctantly agrees.

While seeking clues to the scavenger hunt, Gracie and Brandt keep bumping into each other. Gracie’s always had a crush on him that keeps her from stringing two coherent words together. Brandt doesn’t understand why she dislikes him so much she won’t even talk to him. If the nursing home residents would settle down and stop getting into crazy shenanigans long enough, the two might figure out that they have more than a little in common.

You can sign up for Lori’s newsletter by visiting her website at lori-soardjpghttp://www.LoriSoard.comand clicking on “Newsletter” at the top of the page. She regularly gives away prizes such as autographed copies of her books and gift cards to Starbucks and Amazon. Plus, you’ll stay updated on her latest news.

 

giraff5

The Writer’s Journey – Guest, Sarah Beth Williams

So, you want to be a writer: Sara Beth Williams.

If you’re reading this, maybe you made the same declaration that I did when I was a child – “I want to be a writer. I want to publish. I want to become the youngest writer.”– wait, that last bit was probably just me. I also declared I wanted to go to Harvard. You can laugh, it’s okay, I laughed, too.

I was in third grade, reading Heidi, and writing a book report, when I declared I wanted to become a writer. While I wrote a plethora of poems and bits and pieces of what could have been novel-length manuscripts, nothing came to fruition. I lacked experience, motivation, knowledge – many of the things that you gain while you age.

Mid-way through college, I wrote a YA action-adventure novel, submitted to a contest, and received it back with subpar scores. Disheartened, I spoke with a writer/editor friend who told me, “Just write the next one. Move on.”

That’s what I did.

Roughly two years ago, after setting aside my YA action-adventure, I ran across an old story I had partially written in my first year of college. It was a story that I had had no idea what to do with; a story that I couldn’t fit into a specific genre – I had no desire to write romance at age nineteen, nor did I have the desire to write Christian Romance.

The discovery of my old manuscript, along with having run across several well-written Christian romance stories in the preceding years, boosted my motivation to pick up writing again. The more Christian romance and Christian fiction I read, the more I thought, I can totally do this. I can write like this. My story ideas actually fit into this genre!

So, I re-crafted it, adding new characters. At the time, I was blessed to only have one daughter instead of two, and less family obligations. I would sit and write for hours, building upon this story, until it morphed from one book into a three-book series.

While I strived to finish this first manuscript, I scoured the internet and discovered a slew of information on what it takes to become a published author. They say knowledge is power – but only if you know how to handle it correctly and effectively. Too much knowledge is daunting, deterring to even the bravest of souls. Yet, I chose – and even now, choose – to persevere.

I’ve learned that writing in this genre takes maturity, and faith. If I want to succeed, then I must stand by what I believe and defend my written words with my actions. I’ve learned that writing in any genre, takes patience and tenacity.

I’ve learned that every experience in life builds upon itself and has purpose. I utilize many personal experiences in my novels. I used to ask my husband questions about what he felt in certain situations while we were dating. He would clam up, knowing that I was fishing for information. I still laugh about it. If I had a choice, I might go back and major in English; however, the lack of an English major doesn’t disqualify my capabilities as a writer. It may enhance – it might have given me an edge. In the grand scheme of things, every piece of life experience is valuable to you as a writer, regardless of your degree.

I’ve learned that I love to write. Writing is the fun part. It’s liberating, therapeutic; refreshing, like breathing in cool alpine air, with that faint scent of campfire smoke. Writing is what many people fall in love with. It’s the rest of the process that is complicated, time-consuming and a bit fussy.

I’ve learned that I also love to edit other writers’ works. Editing my own work is like trying to comb through my toddler’s wild curly hair.

After almost two years, a few beta readers, and a good twelve drafts, my first manuscript is complete and ready to hand off to publishers. I’ve two publishers in mind. One is more of the traditional publishing house. The other is more of a hybrid type.

I’ll leave you with one key piece of advice: if you want to become a writer, call yourself a writer and do it, even if you have to sludge through a swamp of trepidation. You are a writer when you write consistently. If you write consistently, you will discover one of two things: 1) You hate it. 2) You love it. If you love to write, then write. Regardless of how long it takes, or where it takes you.

sarahAbout the Writer

Sara Beth Williams resides in Sacramento, CA. She’s a wife and mother of two daughters and a follower of Christ. When she’s not writing, she loves to sing, read, and teach and play with children. You can find her on Twitter @williamsSaraB. You can find her blog at authorswilliams.wordpress.com

Second chances: Book 1

Fresh off his release from prison, Jacob Mathews is moving forward with his life. The last thing he needs is a girlfriend, especially one who harbors so much bitterness toward God. For Jay, his relationship with Christ has changed his life

But Lacey Bennett is irresistible, despite the risk. 

Lacey’s anger toward God stems from childhood. Fervent prayers for reconciliation between her divorced parents went unanswered. Her older sister tragically died at sixteen. How could God let these tragedies befall her family? After she discovers the reason for his past conviction, the anger she harbors within, and the refusal to forgive, threatens to destroy the relationship she has built with Jay.

Can she ever learn how to forgive?

Can Jay let her go long enough for her to heal, without knowing whether or not she’ll come back?