Teen/Young Adult e-book free this weekend!

Peer pressure doesn’t have to win. Learn from Paul’s mistake in The Hard Way, go with your gut and do what you feel is right instead of getting involved with a crowd going the wrong way.

Be sure to pick up your e-book copy of The Hard Way for free this weekend through Cyber Monday.

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The Hard Way

Celebrating my 200th blog post

This is my 200th blog post. What a milestone!

In those 200 posts there are:

Book reviews and fun facts posts

Writing House Updates

Episode stories

and Writing Prompts

But most of all, there is a lot of creativity, work and fun.

Be sure to take a look through them and like your favorites.

Thanks for following me,

Selma

 

On August 22nd, I will be participating in an author takeover. I will also be having a $.99 sale on the ebook version of The Hard Way from August 22-25, 2018. Be sure to pick up a copy if you haven’t already.

TheHardWay_eBook

Here is a link to Amazon for purchasing The Hard Way – on Amazon.com

Inspirational Children’s Books for me

Good Morning! Here is the Monday Morning Blog!

Last week I started a business building class called From Author to Authorpreneuer. I’m looking to revamp things with my business to get the name out there and sell more books. As part of the class, we are creating a morning routine to get into a writing groove for the day. It includes 15 minutes of journalling.

One morning while doing my journal, a couple of books came to mind which discribe my writing journey. One is Oh the Places You Will Go and Harold and the Purple Crayon.

Oh the places you wil go

According to Wikipedia, Oh the Places You will Go, was published in 1990 and was the last book Seuss ever published. It is a story where an unnamed character (could be you) leaves town and gets to the “waiting place”, where people go to wait for the next thing to happen. Dr. Seuss leaves us there to go on our own adventure to see all of the places we will go. This book is a favorite to give when someone in your life is embarking on a new adventure like graduation or a new job. I have been to many places, fictional and real, in my writing. Just never know where the next place I will go will be.

Harold and the Purple Crayon was published in 1955 by Crockett Johnson, a pen name for

Harold and the Purple Crayon

a popular cartoonist and children’s book illustrator David Johnson Leisk. Crockett was childhood nickname for Leisk.

Harold is a four year old who creates his world by drawing it, with his purple crayon. Who wouldn’t want to be able to do that? The book is about going on an amazing adventure of imagination which authors and artists do when they create their works.

We are all inspired by different things, whether it is an event, person speaking, or something we read. Whether it is achieving a goal or helping us get by a challenge, what inspires us ultimately helps us make things happen.

One of the reasons I write for the teen and young adult audience is I want to mentor them through my writing. I hope someday someone will read one of my books and be inspired to do something that may be hard for them to do without some support. Like saying no to peer pressure or reporting the bully to a teacher.

I have been inspired by many others in my life and on my writing journey. That inspiration has helped me work through some challenges get to where I am today. Have you been inspired by someone or something to meet a challenge or achieve a goal in your life? Let me know in the comments below.

My first author interview

Happy Monday Morning!

I wasn’t planning on writing a post today, but Kari Holloway put together this author interview and published it on her site. What fun it was to see it in the feed today. I wanted to share it! Here is the link to it.

Author Q&A by Kari Holloway
Hope you all have a good week. I am reading a young adult book for a review. It is The King, by Lorilyn Roberts. Be sure to check it out on next week’s blog post.

This week from the writing house

Happy Monday!

I am finally stepping back into the writing house. It has been a crazy five and a half months with our transition at my day job. I see there are many things waiting to be worked on in here. Hopefully I will have some time to market The Hard Way and edit The Bully’s Way, the two main projects in the house.

Here is some inspiration from Ray Bradbury for this week.

It is a true statement. I was getting really bummed out that my day job was taking so much time away from my writing. Looking back on it though, I was still writing a blog post for every Monday Morning, I just wasn’t getting time work on my book projects. I need to get better at focusing on what is getting done in my writing life. The rest of it will fall into place.

When we are battling through the bushes to get back to the path we want to be on, it is hard to stay positive. I look at all of the things I did get done over the weekend for work, I was able to finish a big project so our department can leave it behind in the last fiscal year. I am feeling pretty good about being able to cross it off of the list of things to do. Now, to reallocate that time back to my personal goals. Writing being the main one.

Good luck to everyone on their goals this week. What things are you trying to get done in your life that seems to be taking longer than they should?

Writing Prompt – Stan’s Story part 3

This has been a fun prompt! It has turned itself into a short story. I have found in many of my writing experiences you just never know what adventure a story line can take you on. During the week, I did some thinking about where I thought the story should go and decided I would just start writing and see where it actually goes.

****

Bud didn’t know what to say to his wife. He was ashamed to tell his friends what he did to the time capsule. Not only did he take their chosen items out, but he put a gag gift back in. At the time, he thought they would never see it again and if someone did find it, they would get a good laugh out of the joke.

“They will be really mad. Annie put a couple of her prized possessions at the time in there. She is probably looking forward to seeing them again.”

“You are going to have to tell them. Otherwise, you will have to live with the guilt of what you have done. Just come clean with it honey. You will feel better about it.”

“I don’t know. I’ll have to sleep on it. I’m heading up to bed. Are you coming?”

“I just want to watch my show. I’ll be up after.”

“Ok,” Bud replied, and walked toward the stairs to their second floor. He turned back towards Helena and started to say something. He stopped and turned towards the stairs to bed.

#

After a night of tossing and turning, he woke up an hour before the alarm was scheduled to go off. He looked over at Helena still asleep and decided to head downstairs and make some coffee.

While he waited for the coffee maker to finish, he figured he would have to tell the guys what he did. Maybe Stan could help him talk Annie through it if she was upset. He nodded. He would meet up with the guys on Saturday at Stan’s house.

#

It was hard to get through the rest of the week. He was afraid that his friends would get angry and that Annie would be disappointed in him. In a small town like Stanley, having friends mad at you could eventually have the whole town mad at you. News spread really quickly here. Waiting was making him feel worse. He didn’t know if he was going to be able to do it.

He continued to have problems sleeping throughout the entire week. When his daughter and her family came on Friday to stay the weekend with them, he was having a hard time staying awake. He was happy to see them, but distracted by what he had to do. He needed to get this over with and was glad he would tomorrow.

****

Be sure to stop by the Monday Morning Blog next week for the final installment of Stan’s story. Adding my little book promos at the end of the post feels like a commercial after the show is over for the night.

And now for the book promo…

Looking for a good middle grade early teen read? Be sure to pick up a copy of The Hard Way! It is available in e-book format on Amazon.com and in paperback on both Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com.

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Here is the Amazon.com link! The Hard Way – Amazon.com

And the Barnes and Noble link! The Hard Way – Barnes and Noble

 

Writing Prompt – Stan’s Story

Happy Monday! Hope you all enjoy your Labor Day holiday!

As I was walking Maddie in our neighborhood after I posted last week’s post, I started coming up with a possible answer to what Stan wanted to share with Bud and Harvey at The Kasino Club.

“Let me tell you a story,” Stan replied.

“Ok,” Bud said.

“You guys know Annie, my wife. Of course you do. She was remembering the good ole days when we were in high school. With the 50s music, poodle skirts and dances.”

“Those were some fun times,” Harvey replied, nodding his head.

“She went up into the attic and pulled her hope chest out of the dustiest corner of the room. Guess what else we found back there?”

“What?” Bud and Harvey asked in unison.

“The time capsule that Annie made us put together after high school graduation.”

“You still have that thing?” Harvey asked, “I forgot all we did that.”

“After we got back from our honeymoon, Annie went and got it from the place in the woods where we buried it. She wanted to make sure we kept it in a safe place. Do you remember where it was buried?”

“Out by Madison Pond. By the fourth tree away from the lake.”

“Good memory Harvey.”

Bud looked down at the table. He couldn’t make eye contact with anyone.

“What’s wrong with you?” Stan asked Bud as he took a big gulp of his beer.

“I’m just not as excited about the time capsule as you two are.”

“O.k,” Stan replied, “so when should we all get together to open it?”

“Shouldn’t this be something the wives should schedule? They always undo our plans and redo them with what works for them,” Harvey stated.

“I was thinking of taking a look before we all get together.”

“Annie will be mad Stan.” Bud finally said.

“He speaks!” Harvey exclaimed.

“They can’t be mad if they don’t know. Annie is going to be at her mom’s this weekend, so we’ll have the house all to ourselves.”

Be sure to stop by the Monday Morning Blog next week to find out what is in the time capsule.

And now for a book promo…

Looking for a good middle grade early teen read? Be sure to pick up a copy of The Hard Way! It is available in e-book format on Amazon.com and in paperback on both Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com.

The Hard Way Thumbnail

Here is the Amazon.com link! The Hard Way – Amazon.com

And the Barnes and Noble link! The Hard Way – Barnes and Noble

The Secret Pond – Chapter 1 – Abigail

Chapter 1

Abigail Watson grew up in Superior, Wisconsin. Her Dad drove one of the big oar boats on Lake Superior for many years. One day, while loading the boat in Sioux Ste Marie, he got into a fight with a man over a card game. When the boat left port the next morning, he rode home in the infirmary in pretty bad shape. He died in the hospital a few days later.

Abigail’s Mom, Marie, decided that Abigail wasn’t going to sit around and watch the world go by, so she started looking for things for her to do. She found Abigail work as a waitress at the Superior Diner for a while and then helping Mrs. Dennison, who lived down the street, with household chores and tasks. But those jobs were just busy work for Abigail. They were not helping her to move out of the house and be able to live on her own.

Smart in school she was. She finished all of her high school classes by the time she turned 16. With diploma in hand, Marie decided to find her a tutoring job. She heard that the Baxters, a rich family who lived outside of town, would be sending their young daughter  off to boarding school. They would be needing someone to tutor and get her ready to go. She thought Abigail could be the person to do just that. She hoped that if Abigail could get in with the Baxters, they may be able to help her daughter find success.

Abigail met with Mr and Mrs Baxter and was hired on just after the nanny, Claire Baker, left in January. Claire had raised Sally from birth, but could not teach her the subjects that Sally had to learn for school. Abigail had sent her mom letters once a week after she got settled there. For the first couple of months, she received replies from her and it helped her to not feel so homesick. Abigail got busy and started writing less but still wrote from time to time. The replies slowed down and then stopped all together.

To celebrate her second Christmas with the Baxters, she decided to send a Christmas card to her mom. Even with all of the holiday parties that Mrs Baxter hosted at the house, Abigail still missed having her own family around her.

Just as the snow was melting and the brown grass was starting to show through, Abigail received a response back from Superior in the form of a small box,  but wasn’t from her mom. The address was was written in a different hand. She opened the box and found an enevelop on top. She opened it and it was a letter written by Mrs. Worthington, the owner of the boardinghouse where Abigail and her mom lived after her dad’s death.

Dear Abigail,

It is so nice to hear from you. Glad that things are going so well with you at the Baxters.

Your mom no longer lives here at the boarding house. She left here about four months after you left. I’m sorry dear, but I have no forwarding information from her either. I saved all of the letters that you sent after she left and kept them in this box, in case she came back. I want you to have them, since they are really yours.

Good luck to you Abigail. I wish you all the best.

Agnes Worthington

Abigail was glad to know that her letters did get there, but then became concerned about where her mom was. Not only because she missed her, but now where would she go? Where would she call home?

She glanced up at the clock on the mantle in her sitting room. Looking at the box and letters she had lost track of time. After putting the box on her nightstand, she quickly got herself cleaned up and ran towards the main house for dinner.

********

Abigail climbed the stairs to her room above the carriage house after classes with Sally on a sunny April day. She was thinking about how her and Sally were a lot alike. She was also an only child, but didn’t have all of the things that Sally had. Abigail was going to turn eighteen next month and knew how lonely it was to not have any siblings or friends. She hoped that Sally was going to have the chance to make friends at boarding school. To help her escape the loneliness that she had felt for so long. Abigail knew how she was feeling. Lately, it was feeling worse for her, especially not knowing where her mom was.

The stories that Sally was writing showed the strength of her imagination. The adventures she came up with for her and Lila were things that Abigail wanted to do with a friend. She wished that she had one, but didn’t have time with all of the jobs her Mom was having her do. And once she moved in with the Baxters, she didn’t have a lot of free time, but she was so far out in the country away from other people, she would probably never find that friend to do things with.

Abigail looked out the window of the carriage house towards the garden. She saw Sally wearing her rain slicker, carrying her light green backpack, walking towards the woods at the back of the property. She always wondered where Sally was sneaking off to. Maybe one day, she would have to follow her and find out.

The Hard Way – the editing step

The name of my first manuscript is currently titled The Hard Way. I’ve been struggling to take the step of having a professional editor look at it. I’ve been checking on different editing sites and Facebook pages to understand how much it will cost. I got a little overwhelmed with the fact that it might be a little out of my price range right now. Wanting to get to the publishing step of my journey, not being able to afford it made me consider whether I really needed to do it or not. I thought, the beta readers that I asked to read it for me should have given me adequate feedback, right? Coming back to the fact that it should be done, I started spinning my wheels to come up with a way to get the money put together for it. With all of the family expenses we have, I wasn’t seeing it to even be possible until our youngest son graduates from high school in three years. This potential road block on my journey to publish a novel has been really upsetting me a lot lately.

By checking out different writing sites, Facebook groups and author pages, I’ve been trying to figure out how I would go about finding the right editor. I want to find one that I can build a relationship with, and not someone who is going to do a onetime read for me and then leave the scene. I know that I’m looking for an editor that works in my genre of YA/Middle Grade. They will be knowledgeable about how the story should read and what is required for the audience that I’m ultimately trying to get my book out to.

After thinking about how important my publishing goal is to me, I took a big step yesterday and started searching for an editor to see if I could make this work. Being a writer with aspirations of publishing a book someday, I wanted to take the right steps to get this done. Many published authors talk about how important it is to have an editor involved in your work. If it is the right person, they are able to collaborate with you to produce a successful book for the readers. The trained second set of eyes can see a lot of things the writer can’t see, like ideas or information that may be missing from the flow of the story. I realize how important it is to have those trained set of eyes on the manuscript before it becomes a book and goes out into the world to the reader.

Yesterday when I started my search, I noticed that some editors offered a free read through and critique of a few pages to provide the writer with a sample of how they edit. I think that this could be a good way to interview an editor. I looked through one of my Facebook Writing Groups and found a YA/Middle Grade editor that I decided to contact. Sending the initial e-mail set the process in motion. I e-mailed back and forth with her and it seemed to be going as expected. I sent her what she required from my manuscript for her to take a look and see what kind and how much editing it may need, in her professional opinion. I’m excited to hear what she has to say. Maybe a little scared too. But it feels good to make that step, a step I needed to take to move my project forward.

I’m sure there are things that will need to be changed and or cut out to make the story cleaner for the reader. A little anxiety wells up when I think about how much of the story the editor thinks doesn’t need to be there, but I feel that it is important to be included. I saw all of the work it took to get the story on the page, but I have to remember that the editor is going to have a good idea about how it should go. These conflicting feelings are a normal part of the process that all writers go through when they send their stories out to be edited.

To make myself vulnerable and put my work out for the masses to see has definitely taken some courage to do. I started with a few friends and had them read my story, which wasn’t too hard for me. We got together for coffee and they gave me their thoughts. Then I decided to present it to my book club for our monthly club selection. I felt a little more anxious about doing that one. They commented and critiqued it during our book club meeting and that was a bit intimidating. But I’m so glad that I did it. Now I’m working on finding a professional editor critique it for me, which is a bigger step than the other editing and feedback opportunities, but those opportunities gave me some experience going into this one.

I got to the point with my own self editing that if I read it again, I either wouldn’t be able to see anything more to change, or I would make too many revisions to things that didn’t need to be changed. In my case, the editor is going to bring objectivity and knowledge about getting a book ready for publication, which is what I need at this stage in the process. I’ve heard that writers must develop a thick skin to accept the critiques and rejections that are received from the editors and critics. But those are usually offset by the readers who love and enjoy the story. Not everyone is going to like what we create, but it must put out there if we want the story to be heard.

I was originally planning to post a segment of my WIP for the blog today. Now I think I’ll wait until I’ve had an editor take a good look at it!

Black History Month 2016 – Carter G. Woodson

After focusing on libraries, I decided to change the focus of the blog for this month. What a better topic than Black History Month, which along with Valentine’s Day, is what February is known for.

I discovered an interesting story about the origin of Black History Month. According to Wikipedia, Black History Month was originally called “Negro History Week”. It was created in 1926 by an historian by the name of Carter G. Woodson and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History. The second week of February was picked since it was when the birthdays of former president Abraham Lincoln (February 12th) and abolitionist Frederick Douglass (February 14th) would traditionally fall on the calendar. These two important dates were celebrated together by the black community since the late 19th century.

Carter G. Woodson has been called the Father of black history because he was one of the first scholars to have studied and published journals and books on the subject. He was the son of two former slaves and his father, James, helped Union soldiers during the Civil War. James moved his family from Virginia to West Virginia upon hearing the news that they were building schools for blacks to attend there.

Carter was one of seven children from a poor family and had to instruct himself in common school subjects. He mastered them all by the age of 17. Since he had to work to help provide for his family, he couldn’t focus on getting more education until he saved some money of his own. He entered Douglass High School at the age of 20 and earned his diploma at age 22. He went on to become a teacher and worked his way up to principal at Douglass High School in 1900. While working in the education field, he founded Associated Publishers in 1920, which is the oldest African-American publishing company in the United States.

According to Wikipedia, Woodson believed that education and creating social and professional contacts among blacks and whites could reduce racism. He promoted the organized study of African-American history partly for that purpose. I think he has a great vision here. The more personal knowledge that we have about people we work and deal with, the easier it is to talk about things that aren’t working and work together to try and make them better. It might be a good way to open communication and bring all of us Americans together as one nation.

He dedicated his life to education and furthering the knowledge of the Negro in American and World History. So dedicated in fact, he never married or had any children of his own. Dorothy Porter Wesley, was an African American librarian, bibliographer and curator. She was known for building the research collection at the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center at Howard University into a world class one. She said about Woodson’s dedication to his work, “Woodson would wrap up his publications, take them to the post office and have dinner at the YMCA.” He would teasingly decline her dinner invitations saying, “No, you are trying to marry me off. I am married to my work”.

In recognition of his contributions to Black History, he has many places named after him throughout the United States including The Woodson Institute for Student Excellence, a public charter school here in Minneapolis.

When I was brainstorming the theme for February’s blogging, I originally thought that I’d focus on black women. But after starting my research into Black History Month, I think I’m going to open my mind and change my idea to look at all of the people that we are recognizing this month. With my experience on the first blog, it looks like I may find some interesting people to write about on this writing journey.