Monthly Archives: June 2016

Plan With Me – Step 6

Over the past several weeks, I’ve been  going over a simple plan to expedite the writing process.  You can find the previous posts here:

As with the previous step,  the following will be different depending on the path you choose.

Step 6 – Establish Your Writing Goals.

Goal Setting – Everyone  that knows me knows that I am all about the goals. Without a goal line, how do you know when you’ve finished? Goals are important, so are deadlines.

There are a couple of things that need to be addressed before we actually begin on the writing goals.

The Manuscript length.  – Is it a novella? a short? a novel? a series?  Know what you are writing or contracting to be written  and know the length of work.  Smaller books are actually  a good option. For a book of 100 pages or less, 60% of the readers finish the book. If you double that to 200 [ages –  the percentage drops to 20.

Some super successful smaller books:

  • The One Minute Manager – Ken Blanchard
  • Tribes by Seth Godin
  • The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

The average fiction novel ranges from 75000 words to 120000 words.

Deadlines: You can run a simple algorithm through a program called The Book Calculator to get an example of a realistic projected timeline for completion.

Set a goal for yourself, a realistic goal whether you use The Book Calculator or not.

An example would be: I will finish a 50,000-word first draft by July 31, 2016. 


If you have chosen the path of author  and not the writer, then you absolutely need to know what the length is that are expecting in return for your contract and what you are paying for. As the writer, it is imperative to know that you whether you area expected to write a 10000-word story or 100000.


The more information that you provide then the better quality you will get for your money.

What’s next? Tune in next week as we continue the series. Until then, have a fabulous 4th of July weekend and celebrate

‘Til then





Missed it by ‘that’ much…


Last Tuesday, the final cover for Book of Change was revealed a few scant hours after my normal Monday blog post here. If you weren’t on my Facebook page to see it, here it is…

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I LOVE THIS COVER. It blew me away when I saw the base image because it fits so well with a scene from the book that I almost had to check my office for hidden cameras. I put the base image up on my wall immediately to remind myself where this was going, and still get goose bumps to see this as I write the next pieces. Next pieces? yes actually – next pieces.

I, with my PA Jillian (who honestly saves my bacon on a regular basis) worked a few things out recently, including that this book is part of a larger series…
While very tentatively called The Custos, I am probably not going to officially title the series to demarcate it on each book. What I can tell you right now, is that I believe there are 5 books in the series. Book of Change is technically the first, but actually the second as Book of Time is a better introduction to the players and the overall pretense of the stories involved. I just wrote them in the wrong order.

Because of this little flippity-flop, I have elected to hold the release for Book of Change just a little longer to correlate with the release of Book of Time. Keep an eagle eye on the horizon for August because after I wrap Authors After Dark in Savannah Georgia (where attendees with get first option on them), both books will go live…and you’ll get to submerge into a side of New Orleans and Mardi Gras that you didn’t know was there.

2017 will bring the release of book 3 in the series – Book of Mysteries, and the remaining two will have release dates determined after I get a few other things settled out. Book of Revelations and Book of Prophecy are the working titles for those but will have to come after I get Chasing Daylight – (my book for Cherry Adair’s 2016 Finish the Damn Book challenge), and Bet the House off the desk. We won’t talk about the sticky notes for the other books I can’t shake from my head yet. 🙂

Annnnd then there’s the list of books I’m working on for the other EBB authors…ya’ll are getting spoiled. NO other coop of our size has such an active roster. I believe I’m finally back on track. The first 6 months of 2016 have been insane. The surgery I had in April is now nearly healed and ready for phase II, the mother in law’s estate is close to being finally settled a month later, the hubs is halfway through recovery from his surgery and the oldest has had her grad party and is ready to sign for her ship date now and get off to the Navy to see the world.

My world can officially become Write – Edit – Promote – Repeat again

It’s about time!!     ~Sav

Working with distractions

My working area is in my dining room right now. There are plans to build me an office but the money to fund that project is not there yet. Therefore, I work in the middle of the house. Between my husband, our two teenagers, our two dogs and the notifications on my phone I have quite a few distractions every time I sit down to write.

There are the times that I have turned my phone on silent or even off and given the warning to the family that they will regret interrupting me when I have gotten fed up and I really need to get work done. There are also times like today when all I needed to do was sit down and write this blog post. I sat down and was having a hard time trying to decide what to write about today. After about a half hour of trying to get my kids to leave me alone long enough to do write it I decided some advice on how to write with distractions was a good post.

On the days where my focus is just not all the way there and the family is being distracting I don’t try and force it. I usually just get done what I can and then move on to something else. If I am trying to write and the focus isn’t there and I keep losing where I am I just get frustrated. The more frustrated I get the more the story doesn’t flow for me.

On the days that my focus is point on I don’t even hear my family being distracting. Those are the days that my husband has put his hand in front of my computer screen to get my attention to force me to get up and move around. Sitting in front of my computer all day without getting up and moving is not a good idea for me. He makes me get up and move around for about 15 minutes every few hours. That is actually a very good idea because it gets you out of the story long enough for you to see something that you can add.

The point of all of this rambling is that while like me you may not have a “writing cave” where you can go to write and not be disturbed but you can still write. Some days may be harder than others. Some days it may be impossible. There are days that I sit down to write and it just doesn’t happen. No words come. I’m sure that happens to those that have a private space to write in too. If you have distractions you will eventually learn to work around them.

Well my son is back so I think my time is done on the computer. You would think with him turning 15 next week he could give me more time than that, sigh.

Until next week keep working toward your dreams.


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When you love what you do …

This week has found me more on the business side of being an author, than the creative side. I’ve spent a lot of time working on my website. It’s almost where I want it to be. And I’ve been having a ton of fun with it. One of the pages is ‘The Readers Gallery’.  Readers and authors alike are sending me selfies with their copy of Phoenix Rising. It tickles me to no end to find out that others are enjoying my book. I hope the trend continues, I would love to see the gallery continue to grow.

I also designed Kindred t-shirts and started a campaign on Teespring. If you’re interested, the BUY link is on my News & Events page at This first campaign is only open until July 11, so time is limited. I’m thrilled to say they’re selling well so far. Who knows? This could turn into something larger down the line.

The only thing left is to set up the blog section. I’ve left that last on purpose. I write a weekly blog here at Eclectic Bard Books, and that’s not going to change. Right now, I don’t see myself blogging quite that often on the website. I’m thinking I’ll start with a monthly blog and see how it goes. With no conventions or book signings lined up, there’s not a lot of activity. That will change in time.

I’ve been getting in touch with promoters, advertising Phoenix Rising, and getting online events set up. My book has been out almost three months now, and it will be a few more months before the next one is published, so I have to keep the momentum going. It’s a balancing act. One that I’m learning as I go.

Still working on the short story. I’ve managed to get a bit of writing in every evening. That piece is definitely taking on a life of its own. I was rereading the last chapter and realized that it had gone off into a completely different place than where I had intended. I had to rein in a couple of the characters so that my main players, Jackson and Roni, were back in the lead. Whew, you have to watch those guys. When they want their story told, they don’t mess around. And they’re sneaky, little ninjas. You’re in the flow, writing along, and they just take over.

I wouldn’t change a single thing, though. I’m loving this journey, and am still so grateful for having the chance to explore everything that comes with writing and marketing. There’s still so much to learn, and I’m ready for that too.

I hope you are lucky enough to love what you do. It makes all the difference.

Till next week,

~ Madison


“X” marks the spot

Alphabet week #24 – “X”

When we were little, believing in pirates and buried treasure, “X” always marked the spot, did it not? Now that we are older…the same excited faith should hold true. “X” marks the spot. Do you know what is different?
YOU are the “X.”



Plan With Me – Step 5

Over the past several weeks, I’ve been  going over a simple plan to expedite the writing process.  You can find the previous posts here:

As with the previous step,  the following will be different depending on the path you choose.

Step 5- Create

Create a formal book proposal. This will give you clarity about:

  • your target market
  • your content
  • your value
  • your promotion

Who is your target market? My target audience is going to be different from Mandee Shanklin’s. My audience is also going to be different from Abyrne Mostyn’s.   I once saw this idea to make a wanted poster of your target audience.

Realize that there are always exceptions to the rule but the bulk of your readers will come in that bell-shaped curve targeted audience.

What is your content? What is it you want to say?  Does your story have an underlying lesson? Is it purely for entertainment? Is it a work of fiction or nonfiction? What genre? subgenre?

Your value –  this is your credentials.  What gives you the right to write it? Are you an expert in your field? Do you have life experience in this field?

Knowing the above answers will then lead you to make effective promotions. Why target readers of westerns when your audience are composed of fantasy readers?

Your book proposal will be your blueprint to success.  By writing your book proposal, even if you are self-publishing, it lends validity to your efforts.

If you have chosen the path of author  and not the writer, then you better know the above to convey to your ghost writer. They will need to know all of these answers in finite detail.  Your ghost writer will need a detailed proposal along with an outline, a synopsis and  character sketches.

The more information that you provide then the better quality you will get for your money.

What’s next? Tune in next week to find out.

‘Til then




What’cha gonna read?

Hey gang. Savannah here. With Aedan playing beach bum or whatever, I wanted to take a quick second to plant a seedling. 🙂

With the distribution of funds by Amazon from the recent settlement of the e-book price-fixing class action…some of you may find that you have some unplanned for windfall – even if it’s change. What a great opportunity to try a new author.

Might I suggest one of the authors of Eclectic Bard Books? There is a great diversity here on the roster and we’d love to hear what you think about the works. Thanks for checking out my little PSA today. Read something awesome – and tell a friend!                                           Sav.

Too late for goodbye

Lately, I do not know that I can clearly identify much. My world has been topsy-turvy and upside-down on so many fronts, I think instead of meeting myself at the door, I’ve just run into the door a few times and said ‘excuse me’ never noticing that no one was there. Looking back, as the song goes, ‘it’s much too late for goodbye’, opportunity lost and alla that.

BUT…it has not been without reason. good gracious mabel I’ve been running…220 with my hair on fire, but running. If you caught last weeks post, you know there is a cover reveal on my facebook author page happening tomorrow for Book of Change… Will you be there?

The Custos (though I’m seriously thinking that title is going to change) is nearly in the hopper…and I’m covered in duck bumps for that. I finished researching and doing “the bible” for the next one to hit the desk, and I am halfway through the piece I’ve been reading/editing for another author, and I got all of my swag for Author’s After Dark wrapped, lined up and boxed to go.  PHEW.

I finally have all the details together for my daughter’s graduation/anchors away party that will happen this coming Saturday…and then, THEN I will have a couple of weeks before the next round of back to back signing events kick up again and I’m on the road. I honestly had serious doubts about if I’d make it through the last couple of months, but now the proof is in. I did.

In the process, I have learned a few things about what loyalty is actually about, found an INCREDIBLE place for swag items for the series that Book of Change and The Custos are in, found a secluded river house rental for an event I have next year and yes…BOOKED MYSELF A WEEK OF VACATION AND WRITING TIME. I’ve been talking about it for the last couple years and finally jumped when I found the perfect spot. The only problem is the road floods out if it rains too much…DARN! I might even be stuck.

Next year, I am looking at the events on my books and honestly paring them back. I have been trying to find ways to maximize events where I know the readers, or have made contacts that will be returning to my table and hopefully bringing friends.  I will spend the money to drive or fly to an event where the turn out and reception is worth the price, as opposed to doing ten others because they are close or cheap. RoI IS a factor. In a time when there is a signing event of some kind nearly every weekend somewhere, I feel like I am finally at a point where I can be choosy and not have to jump at every one. That lesson is actually courtesy of a signing event that is essentially in my back yard that I can’t get a reply from to save my life.

Soooo…I know this is rambling, and I apologize for that kinda. I am not quite done meeting myself at the door…but the frequency is less. I hope to get some kind of rhythm and pace in line soon. Til then, thanks for hangin with me…here, facebook, or live.                               -Sav.

Support system

Every author needs a support system. You hear about how this is a lonely profession. Yes only the author can write the book. Nobody can help with that. It comes from in our heads. We create the worlds, the characters, the situations and everything that happens.

While we are lost in our heads and creating the works that you enjoy so much the world around us continues to move on. Without a support system we would not be able to get lost in our work.

Some of us have larger support systems than others. I am lucky enough to have one that is includes many people. Today is Father’s Day so I am using my post to pay tribute to one of my big supporters, my Dad.

My Dad has always pushed me to be the best that I can. He saw that I had the drive to do something more and he pushed to make sure that I never lost my motivation.

He has been right there every step of the way. When I published he had to have two copies of the book. One he could read and one that would never be opened. Both of them had to be signed.

He never let me feel sorry for myself. If I started to make excuses for anything he would immediately call me out on it and make me face that I was just being lazy. He has always made sure that I knew that I could do more and improve.

The point of this post is to show that no matter how many time he calls me out and argues with me, I know that it is just his way of showing me that I need to dig deeper. He refuses to let me sit back and just be complacent. He wants me to keep pushing and to see me shine.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad, I Love You!


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Challenges of wearing many hats …

What a busy week this has been! Before I knew it, the weekend was here, and I realized I hadn’t prepared my blog yet. Can’t have that, can we?

I’ve taken on more responsibilities with my day job, which leaves me busy from the time I walk into the office until the minute I walk out. Even lunchtime has become an iffy prospect. By the time I get home, I’m usually too tired to function, much less think about sitting down to write.

I did get a small amount of writing done, though not near what I should have. I’ve been unwinding by doing other things lately. They are still related to my book, just another facet of the process.

I love to make teasers. I can spend hours perusing stock photos and looking for special quotes. Putting them together to make an eye catching teaser is challenging and a lot of fun. Lately, I’ve been playing with graphic design. While I’m no expert, and don’t pretend to be, I’ve impressed myself with the results. I’m totally self-taught; it’s how I learned my way around the computer when I first got one almost 20 years ago. I’ve never been afraid to learn something new.

I’ve been working on my website, for a couple of months now, but had never connected the site to my domain name. When a fantastic sale came around, there was no way I could pass it up. As of this past Thursday, my website is LIVE. I’m totally stoked about it, even though it’s still in its infant stage. The site is designed to grow with me, and I’ll be spending a lot of time there.

I still haven’t finished my short story. This tale is taking on a life of its own. I plan to work on it again this weekend. I’m not gonna lie; I’m not in charge of this one anymore. I write what the characters tell me to. Eventually, we’ll all find out what happens and what it leads to.

Those are my plans for now. I hope you’re enjoying your summer and reading awesome books. Don’t forget to leave a review for those books. Authors totally appreciate your support and feedback.

Till next week,

~ Madison

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